We’re a year into the pandemic here.
I’ve been having an increasing number of health issues and I’ve had to finally really face that. Chronic pain for about eighteen months, but in my head it was like “Oh, it’s maybe two or three times a day?” (That’s how it was in the beginning.) I started charting it, however, and found that was more like nine to ten times a day–just sudden acute pain (that occurs chronically, hence me referring to it as “chronic pain”) I can’t predict and can’t treat other than waiting out it while it interrupts my day. So the question was whether this is problems with existing damage my body suffered several years ago when I first got sick, or if it’s new damage and I’m no longer in remission.
It’s not exactly a great time to go through all the bullshit of doctors and multiple appointments, so I spent some time researching and charting symptoms. I’m pretty sure it’s the former–existing damage being exasperated by various things. With sufficient changes, in just a few days I’ve cut the pain down about 40%-50% what it’s been recently. Long term, though?
Stress. It’s always stress.
It’s been converging on all fronts pretty much–personal and professional (counting writing as professional). I even hit a point last week where all I wanted to do was just close up shop here because I’m so goddamn tired. Tired of having to hustle constantly, tired of feeling like I’m just treading water, tired of daily having to combat theft (especially when I’m unwell). Tired, even, of having faith that anything will ever improve.
Rationally, I know that as much as a slog as it’s been, I am in a better position. As of writing this, I am one patron away from fifty–50!–which is staggering to me. That is a tremendous achievement and is directly responsible for me being able to continue writing when sales are so hit and miss. I realize there is a very slow but consistent increase in writing income overall as the years have passed, even though none of it comes close to covering even a fraction of the time spent on it. But even then, the work I do also consistently has become something I feel like I do for other people. My books are bigger, more complex, and take more time, and every step of the way I feel like I owe them to others rather than myself (because that’s been all I have time for).
Writing requires closing a door to everything else while you work, and that’s something I think every writer has to relearn how to do again and again. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that door closed; right now it feels like it’s constantly open, a sea of voices drowning out everything else.
So I’ve spent the last few days trying to regain that silence. Seems a weird thing, entering year two of isolation due to a pandemic–and I have been truly isolated, no physical contact, nothing but essential visits out–to be looking for even more isolation. But I’ve always done best when things are…quiet. That’s how I grew up, how I first created stories. Experimenting with silence over the past few days has been successful.
It definitely helps.
I’d been hoping to take a full week off of freelance work at some point this month–and still might, when I get enough projects sent off–but maybe giving myself some silence this month will help as well. Limited social activity–I’ve been on a Twitter break for a few days. Limited email–just talking to clients and delivering projects. I still have a DnD game once a week to catch up with people, but that’s about all the humanning I’ve got energy for.
I’ve also got a small, inexpensive treadmill–a year too late, considering the pandemic, but this was when I could afford it–to make up for some of the physical activity I’ve lacked in the past year. That lack of movement also contributes to these health issues, and I’m starting small with just a mile in the morning and a mile in the evening, but that’s making a difference to.
So that’s where I am, why I’m quiet–it’s not a depressive episode, I’m fine, I’m just under a lot of stress and trying to pare back the voices in my head to focus on the fictional ones again.
As always, reader support is greatly appreciated. Yampellec’s Idol is off for copyedits and that’s still set for June 1. The Silent Places is on sale for $2.99 at Kobo for International Women’s Day, as is Solomon’s Seal (for 99c). More is on the way! And I will be back to full form in a short while.