Writing Through The Pain

Some days just suck. It’s part of life, whether you write or not. For me, today was one of those days. I had pain coming at me from every direction.

There was the physical pain. I’ve been in physical therapy for a few months from the muscle weakness that results from 2 c-sections then hauling around a pair of kids. This was exacerbated by somehow injuring my back yesterday doing the ever-dangerous task of…napping. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a new mattress. This new back pain is fairly staggering. Breathtaking at times. Painkillers didn’t take even a bite out of it. The heating pad makes it tolerable. Icy Hot just makes it tingle and hurt. So, I dealt with this. And, in true writer form, part of my brain is registering “so this is what pain this bad feels like.”

There were all levels of emotional pain. In the form of parenting. MissA, my 3 year old, threw what I’ve referred to as the Epic Tantrum. It started because I wouldn’t let her put on her swimming suit and get in her kiddie pool. Because it was 55 degrees out. The crying and screaming and thrashing went on for over an hour until she finally passed out on her bedroom floor. She woke up and picked up right where she left off, until my wonderful husband finally got her to pass out again and put her to bed.

There was the pain of getting my first real rejection on my book. And by “real” I mean a rejection of the book itself and not just the query. I’ll be waxing philosophical on rejection in an upcoming post.

There was the pain that often comes with my job, meeting a patient who is far too young to be as sick as he is. And has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And finding out that another patient has died from that same disease. Add to that the news that Roger Ebert died today, also from cancer. Twitter and Facebook were full of 2 sentiments – RIP to a good man, and Fuck Cancer.

And there was the pain, or at least frustration of being 3,000 words behind on my April writing goals. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is essentially NaNo in April. I set my goal at 30k, which means 1000 words/day. And I started out with exactly 0 words on the first 3 days.

So, with all this pain, from all different angles, it would have been easy to let myself slide for a 4th day, make excuses about how today was just too hard, too busy, too painful. And write no words. Again. But life is always going to happen. 3 year olds will always have tantrums, cancer will always take my patients. And rejection will always, always be part of being a writer. But that’s what I am. A writer. I have been on some level since I was 7. And if I want to continue to be, if I want to continue to be serious about writing, then there’s no choice. I have to write through the pain. There’s no magic potion that makes it go away. You have to find a way that works for you, so you can compartmentalize your brain and your life. Turn the rest off and climb into the world of your story. Maybe this is easy for you. Maybe you need to do meditation first, or read from a favorite book. Maybe music helps you get in the right mindset. Maybe you just need to reward yourself with something like this (oh yeah, my husband and I earned these).

Bad Day Cookie Sundaes

Whatever it is, find it. Waiting for the right mood and the right mindset and the right circumstances and the right day will leave you waiting forever.

I’m an optimist, but also a realist. There will always be plenty of pain coming at you to make excuses for why you can’t get those words down today. But they’re mostly that. Excuses. Do you want to make excuses? Or do you want to write a book?

Top 10 Signs You’re Up Waaaaay Too Early

10. Toothbrush in 1 hand, toothpaste in the other, you stare at them for a full minute, trying to remember what to do next.

9. Even the cat looks at you like “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.”

8. You put the coffee in the coffeemaker, start it, and can’t figure out why it’s not working. Then remember you have to add water.

7. You’re already daydreaming about the break you’ll take at work so you can nap at your desk.

6. You hate your husband for still being in bed.

5. Your clock reads 3:30.

4. The windchill is near 0. In March. Wait, no, sorry.  Wrong list. That’s a sign that winter has overstayed its welcome.

3. You have a 13 hour day ahead of you but will still get home at a reasonable time.

2. You gulp down so much coffee, your tongue tingles before you even leave the house.

1. You’re compelled to write a list like this.

Homemade Peeps-How Writers Waste Time When Not Writing

In a perfect world, I would have 29 hours a day, my kids would still be in daycare full time and I would write and craft to my heart’s content. Like most of my friends, I have re-pinned all the DIY stuff on Pinterest. And have tried about 3 of them. But the other day, MissA made a request I couldn’t deny her. Because it sounded like sticky, messy, ooey-gooey fun.

She loves Peeps. Which is really going out on a limb for a 3 year old, I know. She has also recently developed a love of Star Wars, much to my husband’s delight. Darth Vader is her favorite and she insists he’s a “nice guy.” Because he’s tall and strong. We have some SW cookie cutters, and one of her favorite meals is a Darth Vader sandwich (butter, ketchup and cheese. Awesome). Sometime this week, we were at Target and bought regular old Peeps, the chick kind. And she asked if we could make Darth Vader ones.

I looked on the vast interwebs, and, whaddaya know. There’s a recipe for make-your-own Peeps. Several, in fact. This one seemed the most adaptable to cookie cutters, so I used it:

Homemade Marshmallow Peeps

I thought I’d have to make my own black sugar for Vader, but a trip to the Michaels’ baking aisle proved me wrong. So, we whipped up a batch of homemade Peeps. We now have Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Storm Trooper and Yoda. I’m not going to try to sell them at the next bake sale, but they’re not too bad. Plus we got to play with marshmallow goo. And they taste pretty good.

The kicker is, MissA has decided they are a present for her cousin who is getting baptized tomorrow. Because what better way to represent the cleansing of original sin than a gift of the Lord of the Dark Side?

Colored sugars and cookie cutters all set to go.
Colored sugars and cookie cutters all set to go.
Boiling the sugar-water.
Boiling the sugar-water.
Whipping the marshmallow goo.
Whipping the marshmallow goo.
MissA cutting out a Boba Fet.
MissA cutting out a Boba Fett.
My messy hands.
My messy hands.
The spread.
The spread.