Sunny days, panicking and updates
Writing journey

Sunny days, Panic and Writing Updates

The poppies are out

July is here with some glorious days; my garden is looking colourful and the bees are happy. I wish I could say I was out there enjoying it with them but I am indoors attempting to edit/rewrite A Blend of Magic. The deadline to submit it to the NWS for critique in August is looming and I am beginning to admit defeat. My plan was to have it complete for the RNA conference this weekend, instead I am 20% through. Why? Life, health and being naturally slow at typing and thinking but mainly panic and procrastination – a writer’s curse. One I need to learn how to resolve – fast.

This weekend I will be at the RNA conference, I am a bundle of excitement and nerves. Excitement at being in an environment full of literary energy, authors to inspire and things to learn but nerves because to gain as much as I can I have to reach out from my introvert shell to talk to real people without the protective barrier of cyberspace. It is easier to be you on a screen when in reality nerves take over. Reading the emails others feeling the same and the RNA have been very supportive and friendly to try to break down those feelings. There are many writers I follow on social media and it will be good to put faces to their names and ideas. I also have a one to one sessions with an editor and two agents. This seems so unreal that my brain has forgotten to the worry about those at the moment. It will happen; it feels premature to talk to them but any pointers and advice they give must be helpful. Even if they tell me my plot sucks and try something else.

Another worry, is my health. Travelling and a couple of hours socialising always pushes my medication and the delicate balance between living and a flare to its limits. I am asking for a weekend of talks, workshops, socialising and learning. Maybe it will be kind and the inevitable payback will be delayed until I get home. If not, strangers will see dystonia in its full glory with me being unable to speak, and my body contorting into impossible positions. It is bad enough when it happens with family but in public the word embarrassment does not cover it but writing has become my escapism and if I want to move forward, I need to take this next step. Luckily, my daughter is stepping in to be my carer and accommodation is on ground level so there will be no stairs to argue with. My plan is to attend the activities on top of my agenda and anything else I manage will be a bonus. Even meeting like-minded people will be worth it. Wish me luck.

A Spoonie Life

Other news:

Last month I was interviewed about book blogging at From Under the Duvet for the RNA blog. It can be found here.

I wrote a piece of flash fiction which would please Elsie and it can be found here.

Happy writing!

Love

Writing journey

Hello March, Where Did February Go?

 

 

March has arrived. The daffodils are blooming and there are signs of green on the hedgerows. Looking back it has been more than a month since my last proper post. I know February  is a short month but the speed it flew by was ridiculous. The last few weeks have been devoted to self-care because I discovered ignoring tingling in your fingers and arms, which began during NaNoWriMo, was not a good idea. It only leads to your arms feeling like you are attached to an electricity pylon every time you pick up a pen or type. Prevention is better than cure. Has it enforced abstinence from writing helped? Not at all, when dystonia likes to cause problems it does not relent easily. Not being able to type on demand is frustrating because I have been trapped in an endless scenario of perfectly worded sentences flowing in my head without a release except for a few unsatisfactory notes. It is true you don’t realise the joy of something until it is gone. Writing group meetings and cake have also been skipped. I have not been a happy writer.

In desperation Dragon Anywhere, the voice recognition app was tried again. My first attempt of using it was discussed here. The short story dictated was encouragingly accurate. Thanks to some wonderful people who I will be forever grateful, the full version of Dragon has flown on to my laptop. Words have been added to my MS word count;  a new way of writing has begun. The software needs training, laptop teething problems need solving and new neural pathways need to be formed but I have renewed determination to finish both my WIPs. Dystonia will not win.

Current Word Counts

The Ellfanian Journals: 48, 106

Willow’s Tale: 62,999

How has your month been?

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

 

 

writing with a chronic illness
Writing journey

Writing With Chronic Illness – Madeleine Dyer’s advice

 

 

Today I am sharing a wonderful guest post written by Madeleine Dyer, author of Untamed, for the Book Lovers Blog. As a writer with a chronic illness her advice is invaluable. I wish I had read it earlier so I would not have beaten myself up so much for struggling to write after an epic November and times fatigue takes over so no words are added to my WIP. I am terrible at comparing myself to other writers, they achieve more than I despite working full time, and looking after young children but I need to remember having a chronic illness can be a full time job and if I don’t practise self care nothing will be achieved.

 

 

In this month’s Writing Magazine a reader wrote into the helpline section for advice on writing with chronic fatigue. Her friends suggested maybe she should stop writing. I hope she continues to write because it helps with mental health and is a wonderful form of escapism. I also hope she finds her tribe to help her on her writing journey as I have. The writing community on social media especially Twitter and FaceBook is strong and mainly supportive. Many writers have health conditions which impact their lives and are willing to share tips and advice. I may work on my WIP and stories alone but writing is no longer an insular hobby. There is always someone to talk to, bounce ideas off or laugh with online. I am grateful for Turtlewriters on Twitter whose quotes and encouragement always help on bad days and the Fiction Cafe Writers. If it was not for them I would not have known about the RNA and the New Writers Scheme.

Writers can be found using the following hashtags #spooniewriters #writingcommunity #FictionCafeWriters #turtlewriters #5amwritersclub (If you are awake then)

If you have a chronic illness how do pace yourself with writing or do you have any tips? Feel free to share below.

Thank you Madeline for sharing your thoughts.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

bookloversblog

Hi guys! I’m so excited about today’s post, because I actually didn’t write it (except this introduction)! As you can see from the title at the top, this is my first ever guest post for BookLoversBlog, a super exciting step for me and one that I hope can continue because I love getting to connect with other bloggers and writers and have them share their experiences, there is such a wide world of writers out there with different experiences to mine and I want to make sure that is reflected in this feature. 

Which brings me quite nicely onto today’s topic. Madeline Dyer is a YA writer, who has several chronic illnesses, so when she suggested writing a guest post about her experiences of writing with chronic illness, I thought it was a great idea. I hope that any of my followers who are also writers with chronic illness find…

View original post 1,396 more words

Writing journey

Meet the Author of Misdiagnosed: Jean Sharon Abbott

It is Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK so I am so pleased to welcome Jean Sharon Abbott to my blog to discuss writing her memoir Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had. I first became aware of Jean via her blog before she wrote her book. The posts about her adventures after she had been correctly diagnosed and her joy of being able to do things she had never dreamed of were uplifting and her positivity shone on the screen. I have followed her story ever since. I am in awe of how much awareness of dystonia she has done, how many people have been touched by her story and have had their lives turned around because of it.

https://www.today.com/video/woman-misdiagnosed-with-cerebral-palsy-for-33-years-441367619953

Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had

 

Blurb:

As a young girl, Jean watched her classmates run across the playground and wondered, “How do they do that?” As a teenager, she watched her friends go off on dates and thought, “Will anyone ever love me?” And when she was a young adult she realized that God has a plan. An absolutely wonderful plan.

Jean Abbott has a powerful and uplifting story of perseverance no matter what life brings. After enduring 3 decades of countless doctors visit, medical procedures, unnecessary medications, and surgeries, she heard the words, “You’ve been misdiagnosed.” Could this be the life she’s been waiting for?

 

 

Purchased from:

Jean Sharon Abbot’s own site for  a signed copy: https://bit.ly/2IcKLmv

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2rEi2g0

Meet the Author: Jean Sharon Abbott

 

I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a teenager I dreamed of writing screenplays or best selling novels. At one point I thought it would be fun to write a book about growing up with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy. However, I didn’t feel that my story had anything special from all the other books about overcoming physical limitations. That all changed when I discovered that I had been misdiagnosed for 3 decades and truly felt as though a miracle had happened. I knew that I had to share my story with the world and the best way to do that would be with a memoir.

The writing processes proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. Initially, I didn’t have a clue as to how to start writing such a big project or how I should even start! Truthfully, my mind was on other things…I was scheduled to have my Baclofen Pump removed and was worried about laying flat on my back for 3-7 days. I quickly realized that it would be nearly as bad as the muscle transfer that I endured at age 12. I let my mind wander for a few minutes, putting me back at Children’s Hospital nearly 20 years prior. The emotions from that day came pouring back and I began to write about that horrific day. From that point on, I kept on writing about different childhood memories.

I learned a lot through the writing process. I never had any idea how strong and courageous I was. I never realized how I faced so many challenges but was able to stay optimistic. Most importantly, I never thought about how all of this affected my parents. There were days where I sat at my computer and the tears would blur my vision so much that I was unable to see the computer screen! I cried more recalling my past than I did living it. Often times it felt as though I was writing a fictional story because at times the events seemed unreal.

The scariest part of writing my memoir was waiting for friends and family to read it!! I had poured my heart and soul into 270 pages and left nothing to the imagination. Would they think it was written poorly? Would they feel sorry for me? Names had been changed to protect the identity of those who would not come across in a positive light, so I also wondered, will people think I’m writing about them when I’m really writing about someone else? For the most part, everyone was very supportive of how the book turned out. In fact, I’m often asked if there will be a sequel! I’m not sure if I could get a better review than that!

Writing a big project such as this was exciting, fun, challenging and some days very emotional. There were many times that I wanted to quit! Fortunately, my family would encourage me to finish what I started. And thanks to them, I was able to achieve one of my biggest goals in life.

Meet the Author Jean Sharon Abbott

You can follow Jean Sharon Abbott on:

https://www.jeanabbott.com/

Thank you so much, Jean, for sharing your writing experience and popping over to this blog.

Happy writing and reading!

 

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Just life, Writing journey

Dystonia: The Curse of Writer’s Cramp

Everyone has heard or felt ‘writer’s cramp’. The constant moans of it were prevalent in exam season when I was growing up after writing streams of revision notes and hours worth of exams. The pain, cramp, and stiffness from clutching the pen too tight through fear of running out of time; the overwhelming desire to stretch the muscles from their clenched position to relieve the tense muscles. What many do not know is writer’s cramp is a form of dystonia and for a writer, it is a curse with no cure.

I have a rare form of dystonia which has become generalised and affects every muscle it can think of, including my hands.  In honour of  Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK, I am coming out of hiding to highlight the debilitating condition of writers cramp because as its name suggests it affect writers.

 What is dystonia?

Mention dystonia and many people will scratch their heads because they have never heard of it affects 70,000 people in the UK. It is a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm uncontrollably.

How does writers cramp fit in?

Writers cramp is a form of focal dystonia affecting the hands and is task-specific so it only happens when writing. Musicians can also suffer from focal hand dystonia because of the long periods they practice and play their musical instrument.

Writing becomes difficult because the pen is gripped too hard, the hand clenches tight or the fingers extend so a pen cannot be held properly or the wrist twists in ways you do not think possible. The more you write the worse it gets and the words become illegible. My writing can turn from relatively normal to a scrawl worthy of any doctor in a paragraph or sentence. It conflicts with my love of stationery and beautiful notebooks; I have endless notebooks I will never fill and pens I will hardly use.

It can be caused by

  • overuse of the hand
  • poor posture when writing
  • holding the pen incorrectly
  • or like in my case, part of a more generalised dystonia.

 

Awareness is key to get prompt diagnosis and treatment. There is no cure for writer’s cramp but it can be helped by retraining the brain to write, botox injections or medication.

Luckily we live in a world where technology is readily available so we have access to keyboards and if all else fails, voice recognition. My experience with that can be read here. Writer’s can continue practicing their craft but for me, there is nothing quite as free as letting creativity flow through the use of a pen on paper.

More information can be found on Writer’s cramp here

Happy writing, however, you do it!

Information from my own experience and The Dystonia Society UK.

 

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