An Ill-fated Attempt to Document My Writing Habits
Author: Rebekah Graves
For over a year now I have been on the way to recovery from an eating disorder and depression! One thing that’s helped me a lot is writing down my achievements. To start with it was little more than ‘got dressed’ or ‘ate without feeling anxious’. More recently my accomplishments have been more substantial. Here I will document my bakes, writing, crafts, textiles, gardening and other bits and pieces.
So my best friend wrote this about me. I couldn’t help but show it off.
by Elizabeth Lovatt
(for my best friend)
Do you remember when we first met? Don’t worry, I don’t either.
So here goes, it went like this:
You standing there small and delicate with your light brown hair falling loose down your back and your big Disney eyes which later would get you cast as the Little Matchstick Girl in our school play. You standing there with your mother’s stubborn chin, determination on your face, ignoring all the other kids and looking only at me.
‘Hello,’ you said, confident, as if it was the easiest thing in the world, as if the first day of nursery was no big deal and making friends wasn’t the making of us. Oh, but it was.
Or maybe it went like this:
Me, hiding behind my mum’s legs, pressing nose and cheek into the nylon rub of her knee, until glancing up – I see…
My husband has been ill with an undiagnosed stomach issue for coming up to two years now. We have seen many doctors and had umpteen tests. none of which have been able to shed any light on what is actually making him ill.
The most frustrating aspect of this illness is the unpredictability. it is almost impossible to plan things because we have no idea whether he will be well enough to leave the house. This is, unsurprisingly making him feel low.
It turns out I am pretty dreadful at coping with other people’s emotions. I find it incredibly difficult to negotiate my anxiety and depression when I feel like I should be caring for my husband. This week I hid within myself. Keeping busy until there’s no energy to keep going. My Novel seemed like a colossal mountain and even five minutes of mindfulness was almost unbearable because of the barrage of negative thoughts.
Things are a little better now. We’ve spoken and decided to have an action plan for keeping positive and motivated even when he has no energy. I did manage to work on my novel this morning and sorted out a bit of dialogue which was bugging me. The first Three scenes are now completed and I’m over halfway through the fourth.
Simultaneously feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Out at a meal today I had the tightening of a dread knot in my stomach, clumsy words and an intense desire to leave the table and never return. I’ve not felt this way in a while. This morning I didn’t find any joy in writing my novel. Uncomfortable and anxious at the epic task ahead of me.
There are a plethora of reasons I could be feeling this way. I will always jump to the worst conclusion; My depression has returned with a vengeance and I will feel this way forever. However, it is far more likely that my busy week has left me feeling just a little run down. Not to mention a dramatic bus ride home in which I hugged a crying little girl as her drunken dad picked a fight.
I’ve avoided practising mindfulness and pilates, two activities that force me to pause in the day. Instead, I’ve been bulldozing through, sidestepping any silence. I have a check list for such scenarios.
Tell the husband and support network
Figure out what I’m feeling and why
If things do not improve go to the doctor
Address pressures and anxieties
Look at Schedule to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard.
The antibiotics are working my chest is getting clearer and writing is getting easier. I’m onto a scene in which the plot and characters are similar if not the same as my previous drafts. Super short post but keeping that wordcount going
I am once again on antibiotics for a chest infection and steroids for my asthma. This is my morning lot of medication.
However, I have been able to work a fair bit on my novel. I’ve made a little rewards chart for wordcount goal I reach. For the first 2100 words, I get a little reward for every 100 words. including, sharpening new pencils, buying a pack of Veggie Percy Pigs and having a bubble bath with scented candles. After that it’s rewards after every 200 words, then every 300 words. That should get me up to 10,000 words of my revised draft by new years.
As most of my ‘writing’ is editing and making small adjustments I am using strikethrough instead of deleting so I can count my cutting as writing!
Oh yes, I’m feeling much better. My Asthma’s calmed down and I’m sure the side effects of steroids won’t even affect me anymore. I’ll be perfectly fine to go to Pride. Not even a big deal!
Oh dear god I’m going to die!
It turns out that having a weak throat from asthma then shouting for prolonged periods, of time due to the rocking beats at pride, leads to a particularly sore throat. My body is completed shattered. I will always underestimate how much asthma affects me.
But on the other hand….I had an awesome time! I regret nothing! I’m still finding glitter in my hair and buzzing from the fair rides.
I even managed to get a few words down today, in-between naps.
Today has been a sleeping day. I had a mild asthma attack last night and like a good little patient, followed my asthma plan, and headed to the doctor’s this morning. I’ve started my course of steroids which bring a whole lot of side effects added to the exhaustion of asthma.
So yes I am grumpy and frustrated. Grustrated?
I did manage a bit of plotting today. Essentially just typing up notes but it still counts.
I am so fricking excited to have a shiny new laptop! I had an Asus Chromebook for a while. It suited me really well, long battery life and light weight. Even after I spilt water on it causing the arrow and shift key to stop working I still had an affinity for my little Chrook (because who doesn’t love a portmanteau).
When it started turning off at random intervals I started looking for alternatives. Not long after that it point blank refused to turn on. It was at that moment I realized how much I relied on my Chrook every day. My mental health took a hit. I am eternally thankful for a loan from my mum, I would have been waiting a long time to save enough money.
After looking at a fair few Chromebooks I decided that I wanted windows based operating system. Scrivener is my writing tool of choice and Chromebooks are unable to support the programme. Browsing John Lewis I stumbled upon the Lenovo Yoga, Super lightweight, nicely spaced keys, decent sound and good quality video. It actually holds up to the claim of eight hours of battery life, really simple battery saving mode too. I’m enjoying using the Cortana voice recognition for dictation. I never thought I’d use the touchscreen or convertible mode, the screen can rotate 360 degrees. However, I’m finding it really useful. My husband and I like to watch shows in bed and folding the keyboard back gives us a bit more space. I’ve ended up using it as a tablet too.
For any writers out there interested in a lightweight laptop I can recommend both the Acer Chromebook and Lenovo Yoga, depending on your priorities. The Chromebook has 12 hours battery and a larger screen.
Today I stuck to my routine! In the morning I sat at my computer and revised the first scene of my novel. Each revision gets a little easier. I did my first reading last Tuesday at writing group. I received really positive feedback. But reading it aloud I found it a little complicated and perhaps convoluted. I threw in a few too many names right away without giving a proper introduction. Thus revision feels clearer and a bit more fun too.
So the first revision was 615ish and this one is 732. It’s actually gone back to the word count of a previous draft but with way more detail and character.