A Writer Not Writing

I’ve not blogged in a long time.

I was preparing a piece on the importance of touch typing, and the irony is not lost on me. I’ve been ill. It started with a slight swelling in my right foot accompanied by numbness and a tingling sensation that spread to my legs. It wasn’t unpleasant, pulling my trousers up over a mad tingling was oddly thrilling; but, particularly when it reached my bottom, it was fear inducing terrifying. Around the same time I also caught hypochondria off the internet.

After a while, it flipped: below the waist went back to normal, but above the waist various parts took it in turn to swell up, go numb, tingle or a combination of the all three. I’ve seen eight Doctors (sadly medical, rather than the actors in my favourite TV show), who have all shrugged in various ways. What are the criteria before I can claim Wake’s Syndrome?

Finally, after weeks, it settled in my hands.

My hands!

My motor skills were still there, I could feel textures and temperature, but the ‘signal noise’ meant anything I used to do purely by touch became impossible. I couldn’t do up buttons, I couldn’t handwrite and, worst of all, I couldn’t touch type. A writer who can’t write is a truly useless thing.

I tried dictation software, correct ‘so oft were’, no don’t write ‘so oft were’, oh undo, no, not the whole paragraph, don’t type that youth king stew bit computer… and so on, until there’s just a document full of swearing. It’s affected the way I speak.

“Hello comma Andy comma how are you question mark.”

Things like being unable to get my credit card wallet out of my pocket, while the cashier looked at me disparagingly and the queue behind built up impatiently, have given me a real appreciation of disability issues.

Gradually, at a Plutonic frozen nitrogen glacial speed, it’s gradually getting better. Typing became possible with an error every other word, then two per sentence and so on, until now it just feels really strange. I’ve not tried a thousand word sprint yet, but I am back to typing – phew.

However, the idea of finishing the third Derring-Do Club novel by the Steampunk convention, Asylum, has been blown out of the water. My heroines are nowhere near surviving the terrible events of the Invasion of the Grey, but I’m finally writing their adventures again.

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4 thoughts on “A Writer Not Writing

  1. Hope it stays better. Weird.

    Count on neuroplasticity. Tell your brain, over and over, it can fix this – there is still some signal coming in. Maybe it will work.

    I’m trying that with my walking muscles – I’ll let you know if it works.

    The other thing that helps me, when I can’t write what I want to write, is to dig in, in writing, to why. I do enough of that, and suddenly I figure out where the blockage is coming from, and it usually means I hadn’t investigated deeply enough what I wanted to write in the current scene – and my subconscious punished me by not letting me finish it.

    If it weren’t a pattern that happens over and over, I wouldn’t mention it. YMMV

    • Thanks for the support. Hope the trick works on your walking. Let me know.

      When I couldn’t write, my subconscious started generating ideas for other books in a ‘you’re not writing, must be stuck, make stuff up’ desperation. It’s sort of the reverse of what you described.

      • Best of luck, but remember your subconscious/Muse/ whatever has plenty of time to think – mine likes to be acknowledged.

        If you get ideas for other books, maybe the Muse doesn’t want you to forget them? Give them a notebook or a file somewhere, and a few minutes to capture the idea.

        It all comes back, eventually, to ‘you are your own worst enemy.’ But you can ALSO be your own best friend.

        I’m doing final editing for Pride’s Children. It is wonderful. It is utter dreck. It is work. What it is, though, is something I know how to do the next step of. Tiny little step. Run the current scene through AutoCrit, read the reports, fix things like using ‘clobbered’ twice in one paragraph – unintentionally. When I have no more small quibbles, check ‘final’ in the Revision Status, and move on to the next.

        Sometimes you only need to see far enough ahead for one step.

        That’s me right now.

        (And yes, I’m procrastinating – but I’m also listening to what I say.)

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