This article was written by Gigi Miner. Gigi will be my guest on Writers in the Sky Podcast March 9, 2007. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed so you don't miss Yvonne Perry's interview with this 3-time fiction author!
Let’s face it. We all have days when we do not want to do what we know we should do. In fact, I am a major proponent of goofing off just for the sake of goofing off. However, for some of us, there is more to this whole “I don’t want to work” mentality.
As a writer, the main thing that I need to do is to write. Now that may sound easy to some and daunting to others. Still, whatever profession we choose, we need to do the jobs that come with it. I have a condition called Fibromyalgia. Now, anyone with fibro or FMS, as it sometimes is called, knows that this is not a life-threatening illness. I suppose that if I have to have some kind of illness, this one is a better choice by comparison. Fibro might be compared to a cross between Chronic Fatigues Syndrome and Arthritis with a little Alzheimer’s thrown in just to make things interesting. This poses continual challenges to someone who is supposed to use her brain to construct the next piece of work destined to change the world. Isn’t that how we all like to think of our works? That they will be something meaningful and that they will create the new Utopia because we are that good.
As you may be starting to see, humor is one tool that I use to combat the difficulties presented by my uncooperative body. It is the lifesaver thrown into the waters when I am about to sink. It is the rope that I toss out to others to help them to shore when they are overcome by the difficulties of their own lives. Most appreciate the effort, even if they do not get the jokes. Some reject the rope because I am not presenting them with the serious assistance that they require. Regardless of what anyone else may or may not do, I have to cope with my own illness and still try to do what my heart leads me to do, and that is to write.
I have no doubts that there are others out there with more debilitating illnesses that are motivated to write as well. We all have little tricks that we employ in order to keep moving forward. You know us; we are the ones going two miles per hour while the rest of the world is zooming by at ninety. We wave, we smile, and we seldom explain why it takes us two months to write something that takes others only five days. That does not, however, remove that ember in our souls that keeps us typing away at the keyboard or dictating away to the software. We find ways to do what we must, for we can do nothing other.
One little trick that I use is to make notes. I know from vast experience that the brilliant idea that I have now will be lost forever within five minutes. Thus, I have pens and little notepads scattered around the house to capture the thoughts before they drift off into the nether worlds of my brain. My desk is littered with such notes, reminding me to have this conversation with a particular character in my next novel, or to submit a particular article before a deadline. If anyone other than a similarly challenged individual were to walk into my home, they might turn around and head immediately back out. You see, we who are thusly challenged take little heed to the drudgery of daily chores. We are so enveloped in our next story that we often forget to do the most simple of tasks. In fact, I require lists to do some of the chores that others might not think twice about doing. Yes, it seems that some of us live in our own little world. It is all right for us, because most of those who are here get the jokes.
Regardless of our individual ailments, we each have our own ways of living this writer’s life. Some of us have to employ proofreaders to make sure that the comma that we were sure that we moved is still where we put it. They are tricky little buggars, those punctuation marks. Others of us find kind souls to read our works and give us feedback geared to our unique perspectives, such as if the sentence that follows actually makes sense where it is. The fact remains that there are many more of us out here than the average writer may realize. We may not be moving fast enough to be nipping at the “normal” writer’s heals, but like that fabled tortoise, we do not easily give up. We will be writing away long after many writers have given up because their patience has run out. We learn patience because there is nothing else for us to do but to live it. Our bodies refuse to allow us to bypass that lesson. So, we take advantage of it and keep moving forward, albeit at a slower pace.
For my fellow tortoises, share your strategies with some of the rest of us. We can always use another way to get things done. We cannot all use the same methods as our situations are unique, but sometimes we manage to share a secret that gives us the leg up on the rest of the world. We have the patience and the senses of humor to carry us forward when others less tested get discouraged. So, perhaps our illnesses are our blessings, just wrapped in some odd packages. That, somehow, seems fitting. I think that we might be bored with the same ol’ mediocre wrappings. When all is said and done, we will be those eccentric writers of days gone by, dressed in whatever tickles our fancy, because we just cannot help it…we have to laugh.
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