So, what changed?

I’ve been thinking back to how I was writing before I got sick ten years ago (and everything fell to pieces). What has changed? Why am I struggling with writing to the extent that I am?

Ignoring the fact that I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, why can’t I pull myself together to do these things? Or is that the reason in itself? It can’t be. I know people who suffer from these things and they do get writing done.

Working full time for the last year and a bit for the first time since before I got sick is definitely not helping. I have limited energy, and currently it feels like all of it is going towards getting to work and doing my job. When I’m home, very little – if anything – is left. Not working, however, is not an option – because of that pesky detail of paying bills.

After a busy week, I just spent a whole day in bed. So energy levels definitely aren’t at their best at the moment.

The one thing other than my illnesses that I know is different is that I had a friend/colleague that read my chapters as I finished them. I think on some level that helped me feel motivated to keep going. Writing a book, as any writer knows, is a sludge and a rather lonely process. You have no idea if what you’re churning out is terrible or at least decent. (Most likely terrible, there’s a reason there’s a revision process!)

Still, having that one person who read each chapter as I wrote them – it kept me going. And it gave me an idea if I was on the right track, because she’d question things if they didn’t make sense and some things I could then nip in the bud instead of possibly missing them during the revisions/editing. I definitely miss having that.

None of this helps with my lack of energy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Truth is, I have no solution, I think maybe I just needed to vent.

If you have a chronic illness of some kind, how do you get through it and find the energy/ability to write?

Taking the Summer Off

Lately I’m so incredibly tired that I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I’m barely functioning. I don’t know whether it’s the heat, the lack of sleep/weird routines that come from working night shifts, or my CFS acting up – all I know is that I’m dead tired.

Combine that with my fibro getting worse again the last month or so, after having been fairly manageable for a while. It’s still not as bad as it could be, for which I’m grateful, but it’s making some things harder than they need to be.

All of these things affect my mood as well. Which is not unsurprising. When you don’t have the energy to do any of the things you want to do, or set out to do – you feel like a waste of space.

And so, in an effort to let myself off the hook and to give myself some space to recuperate and hopefully get some energy back, I’m taking the summer off from writing. I don’t want to set myself up to fail, because it’s soul-crushing to do so. I’ve done it before, and it was a hard thing to come back from.

I will still be around, blogging when I have something to blog about, and probably writing down ideas and things for whatever I’m writing on. And sure, if I suddenly have a burst of energy, I’ll do some writing/revising. But I won’t set any goals for July and August, because I know I would fail them.

Some people say that you have to write every single day, and as much as I’d like to do that – at the moment it’s just not possible. Sometimes you have to realize what’s going on with your body and your mind, and take care of yourself. So that’s what I’ll be doing.

July To Do List

I’m trying to get (somewhat) organised, so I thought I might make myself a list of what I need to do this month to hopefully help. The chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia sometimes makes it difficult to focus on things, and remember things, so having it in list form sometimes helps.

  • Revise as many chapters as possible.
  • Sort through Shutterstock account and buy stock photos.
  • Buy paint and paint brushes.
  • Paint living room.
  • Arrange Wattpad account.
  • Edit Wattpad story for publishing in July or August.
  • Prepare guest room for family visit on 20-28 July.
  • Participate in #WIPJoy on Twitter.

What do you have to get done during July?

I’m not here

When you’re reading this I will have arrived in Spain for my much needed holiday. I won’t really be around for the next week, but should be back to posting again after 19 June.

Let’s hope for sunshine, both for me and everyone else, wherever you are! (Unless of course you hate sunshine, then I hope for whatever weather you want for your location…)

The Longest Week

I’ve just finished one of my longest work weeks ever. Due to staff shortage, I’ve just worked 72 hours in the past week. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Which is very unhelpful considering that I have a lot that need to get done.

Ignoring all the writing/revising I should be doing, I need to tidy up and clean our flat, print out our boarding passes and vouchers, write a note to the house/pet sitter and pack our bags. Oh yes, I didn’t tell you – I’m going to Spain on Monday!

The work week from hell is a lot easier to get through when you know that you’re off on a holiday once it’s over.

My sister and her family are coming to visit for the last week of June as well, which I’m really looking forward to. The one problem I’m having is finding the time to clean, since when we get back from Spain I go straight into three nights of work, and then they arrive. I might have to only sleep a couple of hours after the last night and do lots of panic cleaning (is there any other kind?) in the hours before they show up.

Now I need to get back to cleaning… I say that, but in reality I’m off to watch the new Wonder Woman movie.

I’m not afraid of flying

As I’ve just been traveling by plane I started to think about flying, and how I feel about it. A lot of people in my family are afraid to fly, while I’m not. I mean, not really. At least not enough to keep me from traveling by plane to whichever destination I need to go. That said, it doesn’t mean that I enjoy flying.

The evening before my return flight I was listening to the radio while they were talking about the fear of flying. Statistically it’s safer to fly than to drive a car or go by train, yet a lot of people are afraid of flying – but not those other things. They gave a few possible reasons for this on the show, but not the one that I personally find the most obvious – the odds of survival.

I feel like if I’m in a car accident or train accident, I have some chance to survive. If my plane goes down… The odds are kind of stacked against you on that one.

Exactly what I don’t want to see when going in for a landing.

I like to think that I handle flying fairly well, I’m just aware of my own mortality. I dislike the take-off and landing the most, possibly because that’s when the most accidents occur. Turbulence is very uncomfortable as well. I don’t even like roller-coasters, so going into a quick dip at 30,000 ft isn’t my cup of tea. It worries me when I hear about research that show that the turbulence is going to get worse and worse because of our carbon dioxide emissions. Turbulence might possibly bother me more than anything during a flight.

The better way of flying?

Then there are the maths. On average I probably do three round-trips a year. It’s nothing compared to people who travel for work, but it’s possibly more than the average person? Statistically, I imagine that the more flights you take, the greater the odds of something happening. I’m no maths genius though, so it probably doesn’t work like that at all.

How do you feel about flying?

Happy Easter!

It’s that time of year again when we stuff our faces with chocolate and chase rabbits down the hole…

I’m currently in Sweden visiting family, and so I get to enjoy the Scandinavian traditions which are actually quite different. No bunnies and none of the traditional British Easter eggs that we all know and love. There are Easter eggs of course, but you wouldn’t be able to go out and buy yourself a Maltesers or Galaxy egg. Rather they just have lots of the tiny ones, in a pick and mix type.

You see a lot more of chickens than bunnies, and because all Scandinavian traditions are mixed with their old ways, there are Easter witches. Because… Well, because when they converted Scandinavia to Christianity they found that it was easier to just let them hold onto their old ways, and just tag the new Christian traditions onto them. So now they are left with a combination of both.

Most of the dates of the heathen holidays pretty much lined up with the Christian ones anyway, so why make a fuss when they could just combine it? You can notice it in a way because up here they tend to celebrate all holidays on the eve rather than the day. Like most of the celebrations take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. I celebrated Easter yesterday (Saturday) rather than today (Sunday).

They also celebrate Midsummer’s Eve (originally summer solstice) every June.

But today we’re talking about Easter.

So, Easter witches.

It all stems from back in the day when people were very superstitious. They believed that the night before Easter, all of the witches would get on their brooms and ride to Blåkulla (Blockula) to meet with the Devil for the witches’ Sabbath. While obviously no one believes in witches anymore, the tradition somehow lives on in the children dressing up as witches for Easter.

See how scary the Easter witches are?

Beyond dressing up as witches, the traditions vary depending on where in the country you live. Some parts have an approach similar to Halloween where the children will walk between houses and ask for candy. The area where my family live, the children will draw something on a piece of paper, fold it into a letter and fill it with candy. They’ll then throw it into their friends’ homes and run off, and the friend is meant to run after them to try to catch them.

I love finding out about local traditions or even traditions that differ between countries. That said, with internet and the amount of information that’s around these days, I do find that the lines blur. People see things on tv/the internet and suddenly things from other countries appear. (Like I actually saw a couple of Easter bunnies in the Easter parade yesterday, something I’ve never seen before in Sweden.)

In any case, I wish you all a Happy Easter – no matter where you are in the world.

Does your country/family/region have any special Easter traditions?

Things We Don’t Say

This is a personal post, so if you’re only interested in reading about writing and similar things, you might want to skip this one.

There are some unspoken rules in our society about things that we should and should not share with others, and I’m going to break one today, because I need to write about it. Writing is how I deal with things, and I also think that we should be able to share anything we feel that we want to. I know others might prefer to keep it silent, and that’s fine too. Everyone should do whatever feels right for them.

Up until a few days ago I was pregnant.

I lost the pregnancy at 11,5 weeks, just short of that “magic” number when you’re generally considered to have passed the worst bit. While things can still go wrong, most miscarriages happen before week 12. Before it happened to me, I never thought I’d take it this hard. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve made it through on the other end, and I will this time too. It’s just surprising how much it hurts.

While I was cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy (something I had wanted for a long time), it was difficult to keep my enthusiasm down. I knew that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but I was still hoping. It’s difficult not to. Against better judgment I was thinking ahead, dreaming of things to come. Now all those dreams have shattered, and I have shattered with them.

Part of me feels ashamed of being as upset as I am. There are people who lose their babies, there are those who miscarry a lot later. And here I am, feeling sorry for myself after 11,5 weeks. How dare I?

Another part of me just feels sad. Sometimes I just feel numb. I’m sure that I’ll get over this, but for now I will allow myself to feel sad. Even if just for a while.

Gifts for the Bookish Writer

I know it’s been a long time since Christmas, but I wanted to share some of the lovely gifts I got that were perfect for me as a book lover and writer. Naturally, I got other great gifts as well, but these three deserve to be highlighted. It might give someone else some ideas what to buy their reading or writing friend.

A pair of warm, comfy booties for when you want to snuggle up for a good reading session. (Or keeping your feet warm at the desk when writing!)

My sister got me this sign, and it probably hits a little too close to home. It’s still hilarious though, and it’s definitely going up on the office door (once we have one).

I got this lunch box book (that I put in my gift ideas list before Christmas) from my partner. It was a hit with the kids in school when we went out every Monday with our packed lunches. “Did you bring your book today?” was a common question.

Change is Coming

2017 is a year of change for me. It has to be, since I am determined to get back to writing and get my novel published. One of the reasons that I was unable to do pretty much anything last year was that my chronic fatigue coupled with my current job was sapping me of all my energy. Literally.

I would force myself out of bed in the mornings, already exhausted. I’d spend my day at work, keeping up a happy front, not letting people know how bone-tired I really was. Then as soon as I came home, I’d just deflate basically. Unable to keep my eyes open, I’d fall asleep and easily waste hours. Eventually I’d force myself up again, make some dinner. Maybe have an hour or two of trying to stay awake before going to bed for the night.

I’m writing it in past tense, but that is still the case today. It’s a struggle, and I can’t keep doing it. I get nothing done outside of working, since all I seem to do is sleep. Writing suffers. My chores around the home suffer. I suffer.

So, with that in mind – I’m making changes.

In an effort to get some energy back, I’ve quit my job and I’m instead going to a different job that is three nights a week rather than five days a week. It’s my hope that this will solve some of my lack of energy, since I won’t work as many days straight in a row – giving me more time to recuperate some energy. Which in turn should also give me more time to write (and do the other things that need doing).

It’s possible that it’s not going to make a difference, that I’m just too far gone into the rabbit hole of tiredness and exhaustion – but I have to try, because I can’t keep going like this.

Fingers crossed, that this will pay off – and I can get into a good routine of work, sleep, writing and having a bit of a life again.