I’ve been MIA recently from the blogosphere and Twitter, which trust me, was done begrudgingly. For the past week or so I’ve been fighting an awful chest infection. Although it was one of the worst cases of illness I’ve had the horror of experiencing – at the worst possible time – I did manage to take a few small things from it.
The Christmas holidays mean I have a block of free time, which is unusual for me. I had been looking forward to my holidays for weeks simply because it would give me chance to sit down, finish my third draft, hopefully get more (if not all) of my side project tucked away before new year and it would allow me to get more work done.
Then came the chest infection.
I’m the type of person who likes to strive for perfection in things I care about. My writing is probably the one thing where this matters the most. I take pride in my work. So to be presented with the option of not being able to get my work done to a good standard because of my illness was an awful thought for me.
I honestly tried. I made myself sit down and do some work. In the earlier stages of my chest infection, I managed to get the entirety of Part One edited. I had hoped to get a readable draft of RW done for my test readers before January came around, and I was hopeful that I would get it done – I’d even put my side project on hold to try and focus on editing. But as I began to feel worse, it became even more of a struggle to edit. I would force myself to open up my MS on my computer, edit around a page, then become incredibly frustrated with myself when I had to shut it down and go back to bed because I was coughing so much I thought I was about to be sick. This happened quite a few times, and after every attempt I only became angrier with myself.
I’m generally a determined person. If I need to get something done, I’ll put things aside, make the time if I have to, and get it done. But these weren’t general conditions. I was ill, and by stressing myself out about not being able to write and edit, I was making things worse.
Soon I had to admit to myself I couldn’t fight this illness on my own, and that I couldn’t get anything done to a decent standard until I wasn’t as ill. After a few days on antibiotics and making myself rest up in bed, I began to feel well enough to come back to writing. It was only when I was in this better state of mind that I realised I had gone against my own rule – know your limits.
I should have had the sense to know while I was fighting an illness my usual limits of what I could and couldn’t do didn’t apply. I should have been more flexible. Another reason I was frustrated with myself was due to the bad timing of the infection. Christmas is the one time of year where it’s a given that you can relax with friends and family. Watching films in bed at Christmas isn’t something anybody would criticise me for, even without being ill. It’s a season of peace and relaxation, and here I was being furious with myself for trying to completely go against this when my body couldn’t take it in the first place.
I finally realised that this chest infection was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take it easy for once. I never stop. Apart from my writing and the few new good friends I’ve gained this year, I’ve had a bad 2010. It was a year that went from bad to worse, and instead of looking at my chest infection as a sign that I should finally let myself breathe after running around non-stop all year, I tried even harder to push myself. In a way, I don’t blame my body for getting ill. Everybody has their limits. That it took a chest infection for me to realise what mine are isn’t something to be proud of.
That I realised eventually what they were is.
I’m feeling better now. I’m still coughing, but now it doesn’t leave me breathless, sick, or worrying I’m about to puncture a lung with the strain. I can enjoy writing again. Yesterday, I did a few chapters on my side project, and today I’ve achieved over ten thousand words. I’ll get back on track sooner or later with editing. All I’m concerned about now is getting healthier, enjoying the holiday season, and cutting myself some slack for dealing with a bad year like this and still having the determination to go on.
I hope you have a happy holidays, and if you don’t continue reading the next part of this blog, then I’ll see you all after Christmas.
Jessica Lei tagged me in the Versatile Blogger award, and seeing as I didn’t feel up to doing it when she originally posted it – no matter how much I wanted to – I thought I would do it now. To keep it short, I won’t tag anybody, but feel free to do this yourselves.
Basically, you explain seven things you want to share about yourself. Here’s mine:
1. I’m torn between which publishing path to take. I have two options. Either, I want to become an editor at a publishing house, or I want to be on the other side of it writing my own books. It’s always been my dream to publish my own novels, ever since I was a kid. But I love the thought of working with authors and watching a book do well. I want to be a part of that team, and being involved with publishing all-day every-day seems like a stressful and completely wonderful dream. I still haven’t completely decided on which route I want to take, or whether I can find some way to do both.
2. As you might have guessed from the post above, I tend to aim high. I can’t imagine settling for the average. I hate average. I always think I can push myself further and that I can be even better. I’m always striving for what I think I can achieve, and even if other people don’t understand it, I’ll keep my motivation no matter what.
3. I’ve been training in Shotokan Karate for six years now. I’m a First Dan black belt, and by the end of next year, hopefully I’ll have reached my Second Dan (which is the second level in karate. The highest you can get to in my association is Tenth Dan).
4. I overthink things far too much. In the past, I've even managed to irritate people with how much I overanalyse things. In the past year or two I’ve gotten better at not being so analytical and critical of everything I do and say. The amount of confidence I’ve gained recently has helped that. Instead, I put my efforts into thinking about less neurotic things, such as scenes and details for my novels.
5. Sometimes, I worry that I spend far too much time thinking about my characters. I love writing and my novels so much, but I can’t afford to revolve my life around it quite yet. When I’m finally at that place when I can say writing is my career, then I’ll give in to it.
6. I’ve almost written five novels this year. I worked on the majority of RW the latter part of 2009, and finished it up in February (I still remember the exact date and day I finished it). Apart from that, all my other novels have been completed this year. My side project has a very good chance of being finished before January if I continue at the pace I’m going recently. Next year I’m only going to finish my final novel in the Resistance series, then I’ll spend the year editing. I’m thrilled at both prospects.
7. It borders scary how insanely enthusiastic I am for my novels and characters. When I speak to my writing partner about my projects, I genuinely think she worries about how excited and happy I am over them. But she’s been amazing support this entire year, and I’ve never regretted confiding in her about my projects and the worlds I create in my spare time.
Those were probably longer than they were meant to be, and I probably shouldn’t have revolved them most of them around writing; I hope that tells you more about me Jessica, and everybody else who was curious to find out.
Have a great holiday, and I’ll be back soon!