Writing with a Head Injury
Writing sucks, sometimes. There, I said it. It's hard work: especially when you're trying to build a platform to launch a successful self-published book. Expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Not only do I need a weekly article to post, whether it be my random Bloggies or Triages of Novels, but I also need to make time for my manuscript. My manuscript that is going through its third revision in two years, and hasn't yet been seen by a professional editor.
I'm also a full-time Registered Nurse. I've worked hands-on with the sickest of the sick, the most vulnerable, and the most tragic pandemic patients this year. My passion for my nursing career even outweighs my passion for writing.
However, nursing sucks, sometimes. You get cussed at, hit, kicked, spat on, peed on, and berated by multiple people and entities. Sometimes, all at once if you've had an especially bad day—or night, for us "vampires". Again, I'd quit if I didn't love my job so much.
Sometimes, you get injured. When you're a klutz, even sprinting can be dangerous. Case in point: me. I was running…indoors, of course. For a very important reason, I promise! Do you want to know what I didn't see during my little sprint? (Hint: I'm going to tell you anyway) I didn't see the wet floor.
It was like being that cartoon character who slips on a banana peel. My feet slid out from underneath me, and I hit my head…hard. I was officially diagnosed with a concussion. For nearly a month, I've been going to weekly follow-up appointments to check on my status. Unfortunately, I still can't drive more than a couple of miles without getting dizzy. Despite all of this, I can't help but be grateful that this is a mild brain injury. My memory has not been impacted, and neither has my speech, or my overall coordination. My equilibrium just sucks. I get varying degrees of motion sickness, just by walking.
So, what does your nursing career and your concussion have to do with writing? Great question, italicised pal!
Like I said before: writing is hard work. I have to spend hours in front of the computer, typing away until I go crosseyed. I have to read so many books. Ok, ok, I get to read so many books. I need to have several scheduled posts of "Triage of a Novel" before the 1st of the year if I want any leeway if I miss a week, or take longer than expected for a certain book.
The moral of this post isn't for sympathy. Trust me, I don't need it. What I want to show is a bit of empathy for those whose injuries are much more serious. Head injuries are life-altering, even in the smallest of ways. They can be career-enders, debilitating, and even life-threatening. Or, they can just be that extra sensitivity to noise as your husband chuckles at a funny meme while you're trying to sleep. (Too specific? Sorry, darling) As it is, I'm improving (mostly) every single day. Thanksgiving was rough (family can be exhausting, even with social-distancing), but I'll bounce back.
However, I do want to point out some of the difficulties that I have faced from this unfortunate circumstance. I used to be able to read books like Scott Lynch's "The Lies of Locke Lamora" in just 3-4 days, or Meg LaTorre's "The Cyborg Tinkerer" in 2. (Actually, I still finished "TCT" in two days, despite the injury, but I digress) The last time I read "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, I spent a total of 10 days on all three books combined. Now though? Now, I can go maybe 30 minutes in front of the screen before my head starts spinning. With a paperback, I can handle a couple of hours. My e-book reader is somewhere in between. If you thought nap time was your friend now, you're practically married to it when you have a head injury.
Writing with a head injury sucks. So. Hard. What would normally take me 45-60 minutes to write, now takes me several hours. Reading with a head injury is tedious. What would normally take me 2-3 days to read, now takes me about 4-5.
Again, I'm not looking for sympathy, even though it might sound like I am. If there's one thing I am confident in, it's my resilience. My take-away here is that you can give yourself grace if you're set back by sheer exhaustion, depression, a concussion, etc. 2020's been tough. 2021 doesn't look like it's going to start much better, but there's always hope.
Thanks for reading my rant. My imposter-syndrome appreciates it. Be careful out there, folks! Wash your hands. Wear your masks. But, above all, stay you.
Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much Love!