Nemesis, NoBloPoMo, Reflections

Confessions… (Day 24)

Forgive me fellow bloggers and email followers, for I have let you down…  And I know it.

This is a post directed to those few of you who may have been following the “Nemesis” story that I began at the same time as this blog-a-day challenge.  I’ve had a few reminders and gentle questions asking me “what the hell happened to that story you were writing?!”  This is my answer…

First off, I haven’t abandoned it, and I have every intention of finishing it.  But it won’t likely get finished in November.  Not only because I think there’s more than 6 episodes left, but because I’m not going to be writing them right now.  To explain why involves making a couple of confessions…

Confession 1:  I have a chronic pain condition that significantly affects my everyday life.  I’m not complaining, just admitting.  It factors in because, like most Americans today, I have to work for a living, and since I’m barely getting by, work has to be my primary focus.  I love my job, but it involves 8-10 hours a day on my feet, unloading trucks, moving boxes, and generally doing the kinds of activities my body doesn’t want to do these days.

I am very lucky in that I work for a small, family-owned craft and hobby store, so both my employers and my co-workers go to extra lengths to help me out.  My “crippled” status is something of an ongoing joke at work, but it’s a joke backed by genuine caring.  And while I muddle through to the best of my ability, it is exhausting both physically and mentally; just forcing myself to make it through the next few hours or the next few minutes can require a huge exertion of will!  (Keep in mind that the only pain meds I can use, and only when desperate, are OTC ones like Advil and Aleve; narcotics are not an option for me.)

When I get home at night, I take care of my cat, do whatever chores need to be done (before I try to sit down), make myself some coffee, then collapse onto my bed (assuming I can make it up the stairs that night).  And for an hour or two, at least, I am completely preoccupied by the pain.  Alone, I drop the masks and just let myself feel what I feel, without judging myself…

Eventually, I might drag myself back downstairs to make dinner, but if I do, it’s usually late.  And by the time I’m done with dinner, I’m pushing 10pm at least, knowing I have to post my daily blog after midnight, and get some sleep, since 6:30 comes early the next day.  That gives me about two hours to spend on making a blog entry, which is not nearly enough time for a “Nemesis” chapter, as the next confession will explain…

Confession 2:  If you’ve read my “About” page you already know this about me, but for those of you who haven’t, I am a diagnosed schizophrenic, medication free, and high-functioning.  In fact, were I to be re-evaluated today, they would likely rescind that diagnosis; the last time I was in regular “talk” therapy (for relationship issues) was some 15 years ago, and I was kicked out by my therapist who claimed… now get this… I was too sane for therapy!  She told me she could continue taking my money, but she didn’t really see the point, since I knew myself, and what I needed, better than she could, and she didn’t see how she could “help” me… lol!

Why does this matter?  Because I’m a writer, but I’m not a “traditional” writer, if such a thing exists.  I don’t sit down and plan out my stories, make outlines, lay out story boards, or create character sheets in order to develop a cohesive story; that’s just not how I write.  When I’m in fiction mode, I use my schizophrenia to my advantage by actually living the story.

Whether I am simply the narrator reporting on events, or one (or several) of the characters themselves, I simply observe what happens and record it.  I have no idea what twists might be involved, or where it’s going until I get there.  In many ways, I am the first reader of every story I write, in that I experience it from the eyes of someone who doesn’t know what to expect…

And there are obvious pros and cons to this style of writing…

Among the pros are things like “authenticity.”  One of the most frequent compliments I hear (though I don’t hear a lot) is that my reader feels like they are in the story themselves; easy to explain when you understand that the story was actually written from inside the story itself!  It is the difference between trying to imagine what a certain character might do (as a real writer might do), and reporting on what the character actually does (making me more of a scribe than a writer).

Do I influence the characters at all, or nudge the story along?  Of course!  That’s where authorship comes in.  One of my jobs as an author is to find a way to bridge these different scenes into a coherent whole.  If things are flowing properly, then there isn’t much authorship that needs doing, as the story will generally reveal itself in proper order and such.  Occasionally, though, especially if I do it in pieces, the story will come out as scenes that exist out of order, and the author in me is required to rearrange them into proper story form. My issues with time are not restricted to real life…

Which leads naturally to some of the cons…

Such a writing style is both heavily time dependent and all consuming; meaning, when I write, that’s all I can do.  It’s kind of like old-fashioned TV watching, before recording devices, when getting up to get a snack or go to the bathroom meant you might miss something important that you would not be able to recapture.  If I try and walk away mid-story, the story will continue without me, and I may well miss some key elements or events that I will not be able to recapture.  I can, of course, go back later and edit something in to fill the gap, but I can always tell the difference between the natural flow and the reconstructed one.

The point here is that I dare not release my muse unless I can commit both the time and the energy to completing a segment of the story.  My best work has always been done in the middle of the night and over the course of days, when I do not come out of the story except for short breaks, and that is not possible in a time and place where I must work for a living.  And it’s certainly not something I can do in a couple of hours before bed…

The first “chapters” of “Nemesis” were written on days off, which I could devote entirely to writing.  But it’s retail season now, and I no longer have the luxury of easy days off.  While I do get them, I find that I am much too sore, or simply too exhausted from working to devote myself to such high intensity writing.  And I don’t want to short-change the story because of it.  It’s bad enough to have to release the pieces without seeing the completed picture, because I do not even know if the scenes are playing out in the proper order; I can’t stand the thought I might lose key elements because I’m too tired or distracted to keep up with them…

So I’m hoping you will bear with me during this process, and I assure you I will get back to it; I have no choice, really, since I can feel the pressure of it on my psyche every day, waiting, wanting to come out.  Once I’m done with this daily blog challenge, I can relax and focus on work and writing “Nemesis.”  I promise I will publish each “chapter” as it becomes available, as per the challenge I set for myself in writing it, even if it means I write myself into a corner from which I cannot escape.  Trust me, many stories have been scrapped because I wrote myself into a space that I could not figure out how to get out of…lol

I can only hope that your patience and anticipation will not be disappointed in the end.  But I guess, like so many things in life, only Time will tell the truth of it all…




16 thoughts on “Confessions… (Day 24)

  1. I once had a previous manager tell me when I was working on my first novel that we inject parts of ourselves into the main character. I feel that is why writing feels authentic and that is what drew me in when I first started reading and following your blog. And it will keep me here no matter how long it takes you to write the rest of “Nemesis”. There are no words I can come up with to say how much I enjoy and love your writing. You have my patience and anticipation! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post. I suffer from the same dilemma. When I am in nice flow of writing, how can I walk away and let go of that creative spark. Many powerfully written chapter openings have sputtered through a weaker finish because I walked away. It has come to the point where on important chapters I will not write unless I know I have the time to complete it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The only way of loving someone is having patience and have patience with loving them. For sometime milady id regard you highly and have more patience on patience, no matter whatever happens. And yes you and i are both equal on that diagnosis. I have only two cents on that ;(dis)ability is my superpower.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ANM7 says:

    Wow, don’t want to be in your shoes. You’ve taken on a great deal. I will pray for you. I really feel for you. Wow. I don’t see how you do it. Good post, just the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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