Writing With Chronic Illness [CC]

December 28, 2019

Joey Paul and I’m an indie author. And today I’m gonna be talking to you about writing
with a chronic illness. I haven’t scripted this video because I felt like it was better
done without a script, but I’m starting to regret that already, so if I’m all over the
place, I apologise. As a lot of you know, or should know I am someone with a chronic
illness, with several chronic illnesses. I’m not going to go into detail about what they
are, I will link up in the cards the video that talks about basically what’s wrong with
me, and breaks them all down for you. Writing with a chronic illness is not easy, it’s something
that you learn to work against and with. Rather than just writing, you’re got this demon on
your shoulder, who’s more than a demon especially if it’s chronic pain, and who’s determined
to stop you from doing whatever you want to do. Now I started writing when I was 19 and
was newly retired from the working world, because of chronic illness. I faced the possibility
of not being able to hold a regular job, and I decided that I would die of boredom if I
didn’t do something with my life. The prospect of daytime TV and all the rest of it just
did not interest me at all. So I started writing. Along the way I’ve had many hiccups. I’ve
had problems when I’ve been in hospital and been unable to meet a deadline. Whether that’s
a self-imposed deadline or a deadline by somebody else. And I find that I work a lot easier
to set my own deadlines because they’re generally moveable. But again coming back to this year,
I really struggled this year. I’ve released three books, and those deadlines are not moveable.
I had to have the books finished by a certain date. I had to have the editing done, I had
to have the proof-reading done. I had to send them out to ARC readers, and upload it and
all the rest of it. Now I’ve met every single one of those deadlines, but it hasn’t been
easy. My editing team kinda fell apart around January/February time, just before the beginning
of the first release should’ve been edited and I was left in a bit of a sticky mess.
Because I had to find new editor and I had to find people that could meet those deadlines,
and it was very hard because these people were people that I knew socially as well,
and I didn’t want to put that pressure on them. And it sort of fed into my own chronic
illnesses, and it made it harder for me to focus, to do what I needed to do and then
it ultimately led to things like getting pneumonia in August. Basically what I’m saying is that
when you’re writing with a chronic illness, you’re up against an invisible force. Whether
you can understand it or somebody else can understand it is another matter. You have
this invisible force that is going to have a lot of say and a lot of control, over what
you do. And I know a lot of people say that disability shouldn’t stop you, and it shouldn’t
confine you and all the rest of it. And while I agree with that in theory, in practice it’s
something completely different. I have been disabled for the majority of my life now,
and I find that sometimes disability stops you, and there’s nothing you can do about
it. Like all the planning and all the will in the world is not going to change the fact
that I can not do this because of pain levels, or oxygen levels, or anything else like that.
So it’s something that will stop you, and it will have an effect on what you do. That
doesn’t mean that you can’t do writing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a successful
author. I know people with chronic illness who are successful, who are very successful
authors, and they manage. But it’s about finding those boundaries, I guess I mean. The boundaries
where your limits are. And when you find your limits, it’s about working within them. And
I know there’s a lot of push to push yourself and to keep writing and push through and just
ignore those limits and I feel like a lot of the time that applies to people who don’t
have a chronic illness. Because when you have a chronic illness, you can’t always push through.
Sometimes your body says stop! And you have no choice but to stop. If you don’t stop,
things are gonna be back, like really quickly. So what does that mean for you as a writer,
or you as someone who has chronic illness and interested in being an indie author or
anything else like that. Basically you have to find your limits. You have to find what
works for you and you have to find the limits of what you can do, and what you can manage,
and yes I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever push yourself, but you should push yourself
within those limits. Like there are days when I know that I don’t feel like writing a chapter,
but I know that it’s within my limits to do so. I also know that there are days when my
limits will change, and those days are the days when I have to take time off, and I have
to take a day off, and I have to just focus on my health, because my health is important,
and getting through to the end of this is important, and putting myself in a situation
where I’m going to get sick is not a good idea for anybody. Writing with chronic illness
is its own beast because you’re not only just struggling with the writing, but you’re struggling
with this chronic illness that doesn’t let up. Like I know how that feels, and I know
there are a lot of people in the writing community who also know how that feels. It seems to
be a field that really does have quite a few disabled people. And it’s about learning your
limits and working within them. And there’s nothing wrong with working within them, sometimes
you can edge closer to the edge of your limits, and manage to find a bit more than you realised.
Like when I first started writing “every day”. I didn’t write every day, when I first started
setting up a writing routine like that I basically would write a page a day. And then I started
pushing myself to say okay, I can manage a page a day, can I manage two pages? Can I
manage three? Can I manage a chapter? And so on and so forth. And there have been times
when I’ve pushed too far. Like I remember one May when I managed 28 chapters in the
month, and that was too much. That was… I wrote every day for 28 days, that was too
much for me. And I know that now because I got sick. And I know that now, and while I
have that sense of achievement, I know that I shouldn’t have done it, that my body was
saying: hey you need to stop. And I didn’t listen. It’s also why I have kind of like
forced myself to take days off, because otherwise I will just work every day I feel I could
on something or other and the body needs rest. And that’s not just for someone with chronic
illness, that’s for everybody. Your body needs rest, it is not built to go on and on and
on and on. It needs rest. So basically, what am I saying? Is that writing with chronic
illness is a hard task on its own, and you can manage it. You can get there, you can
be successful and manage to do it, but you have to be aware of where your limits are.
And you have to be aware of what you’re capable of, even if that means starting really, really
small, with like 200 words, whatever, and building up slowly until you reach a point
where you’re happy, or you feel like, y’know, okay this is as much as I can manage without
having a flare the next day. Basically, just keep writing, and keep telling yourself that
you can do this, because you can. Just because you have a chronic illness does not mean you
can not be successful. You can. So do you have any tips for writing with a chronic illness?
If you do, lemme know down in the comments. And that’s all I have time for today. If you
wanna support my channel you can comment or subscribe. I post new videos on Thursdays,
and sometimes I post them on Sundays too. You can find me all over social media. And
my books are available everywhere. And don’t forget to pick up Dying Thoughts – Eighth
Ending. And don’t forget to pick up Lights Out. All the links for which are listed below.
Thanks for watching and remember to keep writing! Bye!

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