My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, December 13, 2021

We Will Be Right Back After These Messages

My patrons got a version of this a week ago. They tend to get news like this sooner since it's their support that keeps the rent paid. But I still wanted to make sure that everyone reading, and maybe wondering what was going on, knows what's happening, why there have been very few posts, and what the timeline for a return to normalcy might look like. Writing About Writing isn't going away, shutting down, or going to be on break any longer than is necessary for my recovery from surgery.

If you’ve been following updates, you know that I have colon cancer. And if you’ve been following closer, you know that I have surgery scheduled for December 16th (just four days from this writing). I've become the mental and emotional equivalent of the screaming possum meme.

I think I'm about 97% unspooled at this point. I might have three percent but it actually comes and goes. Last week, I was at least keeping up a sporadic sense of togetherness (even though I wasn't having good DAYS anymore, and had begun to focus on good HOURS), but now I’m completely in crisis mode, everything is focused on just putting one foot in front of the other, and if I get twenty or thirty minutes between . I’m a mess, and I am having an impossible time writing much more than raw, unfiltered emotional splats. I think about blogging, and I stare at the blinking cursor as the hours go by.

The last thing I want to be is a crowdfunded content creator who pauses the content. That’s a very uncomfortable place for me to be as someone with exorbitant medical bills coming up. (I’ve never wanted a regular, salaried job, but AT THIS MOMENT, I sure wouldn’t mind being able to take a medical leave of absence.) But I can’t keep going right now—I have to focus on my health. I’m going to have to put the blog on a (brief) hiatus to get through the surgery and initial recovery. I’ll just have to worry when I get back about what needs to be rebuilt. 

It won’t be long before I won't have much else to do BESIDES sit in bed and write blog posts, but for now I have to focus on getting there. My surgery is the 16th. I’m in the hospital for, they hope, two nights. After that I’m home, but probably mostly out of it on pain meds for at least a week or two. Then you'll probably see some status updates, quick posts, a wrap up of our current YA horror book recommendation, and a guest post or two from my most recent call.

My hope is that after Christmas, you’ll start seeing some updates trickle in. But officially, I’m going to say that we’re on hiatus until January—maybe the second week or so if there are no complications in surgery and my recovery goes well. 


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Three Announcements (Book Recs (and Secs)/Guest Blog/Cancer Meta)

There are three major announcements today. 

First of all, please don't forget to throw in a nomination (or a second) in our Best Y.A. Book (or Series) book recommendation conversation. I haven't been able to do as many reposts on social media, so we're a little thin on nominations. I don't think I'm going to be able to run another one of these until I'm fully back from at least surgery, and possibly whatever further therapy cancer demands of me, so this might be it for at least a couple of weeks, but maybe longer.

Second, I'm about to go through this monster list of folks who want to get in on some guest blogging, and I want to remind a few of you who sent me proposals—some of which sounded incredibly interesting—that there was a way I knew if you had read those submission guidelines VERY CAREFULLY…….and a few of you didn't. If you'd like to re-submit properly, I'll take those submissions, but I'm looking at about 100+, so naturally the first ones I'm going to reject are the folks who didn't manage to follow the first set of instructions. Take it as a lesson in the harsh world of publishing—always follow the submission guidelines. No matter how good your writing is, you're still fundamentally seeking to establish a working, professional relationship with your collaborators, so they are going to want to know you can/will follow their directions.

Lastly, let me just make you aware of how things are likely to look heading into my surgery. I'm still going to keep writing, but the amount of doctor's appointments and news is impacting my writing schedule. A lot. This week alone I did a CT scan, got news that I have a dominant trait genetic disorder, and did a procedure with a multi-day recovery time. Even the good news kind of flattens me. I've been holding my breath for so long that when someone tells me I don't have any metastatic cancer, it's hours of emotional relief. I'm going to run the results of our book rec conversation (above) tomorrow, and call it a week—a very difficult week. 

Next week is the pre-op, an anesthesiologist consult, and a blood draw for hematology, and that is if absolutely nothing gets added last minute and I hear absolutely no news at all. I will probably be able to do a regular writing post or two if I only have the three appointments. Many of my posts might not be "about writing" so much as kind of cancer updates and status reports until I'm kind of back from surgery. I imagine they're going to send me home with some of the good drugs and when I've healed a bit, I'm going to have a lot of time in bed to do some writing. That's when to expect me to get back into the swing of the blog. But I want you to know I'm thinking of all of you and let those of you thinking about me know where I am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Tuesday Report (It's About to Get Funky)

Due to a temporal anomaly in the Writing About Writing compound, this post has been brought to you from yesterday. It is possible that tomorrow's post will be brought to you from next week, and until we can clear this up, it might be best to expect the unexpected.

Reminder: I just found out that I have cancer.  And Tuesday reports are kind of going to be Cancer Update™ for a while. Treatment is about to start, so my life is about to get…funky. 

Quick Personal Update-

I got back from vacation and jumped straight back into medical crap. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that medical crap jumped ME. My GI specialist (the one that colonoscopied me) called me late on Sunday night to talk about something called Lynch syndrome, which it's likely that I have. It's a genetic condition that raises the likelihood of certain kinds of cancers—including the one I have. I don't have kids, so some of the urgency was deferred, but I'll have to do genetic counseling once I'm done with surgery.

Yesterday I had a CT scan with contrast.

Tomorrow I have a procedure that will knock me out for a couple of days.

Today was just therapy, which I restarted when I got my diagnosis, just so I can have some help dealing with everything that's coming up for me.

Surgery is scheduled for Dec 16 (so I'm probably going to be out of it until at least Monday).

I'm writing a little every day, but I'm hanging on to blogging by a thread right now. One of the things I'm dealing with is just how overwhelming this has been. It's not like I come home after an appointment or the minute I get off the phone from some bad news and just hop right back into writing. Sometimes even the good news takes a few hours of being emotional to process. Today I found out I had no lung and liver involvement (which means it's not stage four, and I don't need to START with chemo) and even though that was great news, I was out of it for most of the rest of the day—just so relieved from the breath I had been holding for weeks.

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

Tomorrow isn't going to happen because of my procedure, but after that I won't have a lot to do BUT sit around, so the plan is to get some writing done during recovery. (Incidentally, next week has "only" three appointments, but they're all on Wednesday, so I might be able to get in one more half week before the surgery.)

I'm trying hard not to just shut everything down until post surgery. I should at least have a few good days until then and next week doesn't look two bad.

Tomorrow and Thursday are probably going to involve wrapping up our latest book recommendation conversation. I badly need an admin day to go through about a billion emails. I'm hoping I can write something significant for Friday while I convalesce, but it might be touch and go.

Novel Progress-

Old Crusty 1.0 Draft: 34, 398

I'm still not getting much fiction written. What little writing time I have is going towards the blog right now.

Behind the Scenes-

I need an admin day in the worst way. I have a stack of emails to reply to that is taller than me. I would normally take a day off, but I think that just running the book recommendation, I can at least get a quick post up and then tab over to my Gmail and roll up my sleeves.