I was upstairs on a double-decker bus journeying through the Aberdeenshire countryside, sunshine flashing like a strobe light through the trees as we buzzed along the road, when I felt something on the tip of my little finger. Curious about this new phenomenon, I explored the area with my other hand, thoughts of weird growths and incurable diseases flickering through my mind before I examined the spot. And there, on the top of my pinkie I spotted a hardened patch of skin. Yes, there wasn’t any doubt – it was a callus.
The bus trundled along depositing and picking up passengers, and I watched horses running in frost laced fields as I ruminated on how I acquired this phenomenon. Then it hit me. It had to be the QWERTY keyboard. This tiny toughened patch on my pinkie is a writer’s badge of honour gained through hours of keyboard bashing the letter ‘a’ (I’m wondering is it the most used letter in the language?). I smiled to myself and still haven’t decided whether to pumice it into oblivion or let this toughened tip remain as a reminder of my passion.
I do yogalates every day in an effort to keep fit - well most days - after all, what’s a duvet day for if you can’t ditch your exercise regime for a bar of chocolate and a book? Another health/body related issue arose when one day a few weeks ago, I started my daily yogalates regime. As I breathed in and out, I noticed a band of flashing black and white horizontal bars on the right edge of my vision. I tried to look at them and ended up in a corkscrew head twist not included in the usual postures. So I put an eye mask on over one eye to hide this distracting display, and it helped, but kept slipping (downward facing dog while trying to keep an eye mask in place isn’t the best way to hold the position). Finally I decided to ignore the optical display and finish my workout.
The next morning I had the first migraine I’ve ever suffered. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a new, and unpleasant, experience. I would say from the reading I’ve done the pain was moderate, especially if you consider some people are hospitalized by the ferocity of their migraine attacks. I took a couple of pain killers, rested and by lunchtime had recovered, although I was tired for the rest of the day.
Research into the cause has led me to believe that the trigger is related to the time I spend staring at a computer screen. Upon reflection, I realized that there had been a sense of pressure building in the left side of my brain for maybe up to a week before the attack - which was unusual as I’m not normally subject to headaches - but I’d not understood its relevance. Now I’m aware of what to look out for, and work on the computer for half hour sessions making sure I take long enough breaks.
I know there are people who write their novels, blog, tweet, facebook etc., etc., and I think they’re amazing, and they have my utmost admiration. But currently this isn’t working well for me. After almost two years (a blip in time compared to many) of social media activities, it appears the universe, Fate or whatever you want to call it, is sending me a message – of course it may just be my body is disintegrating. I’ve spent time thinking about my writing priorities, and decided I have to cut back on social media as clearly I’m not keeping all the balls I’m juggling in the air. As I compromise, I thought I’d try to write a post once a month. This way, I can focus more on writing my novel, and stay sane and migraine free.
This leaves me swinging between relief at my new freedom (I'll still tweet - what else do you do when the ads are on?) and missing the social contact with the good friends I’ve made. I also miss the sense of excitement which accompanies writing and posting a blog post. But a little distance from a weekly blog will also give me time to ponder questions such as where my blog is going; is it writing advice, self promotion, or am I’m attempting to be an essayist?
If my computer time is limited I want to spend it doing what I love best, and this is writing stories. The impact of the migraine was more than its physical effects as it has caused me to stop and consider every aspect of my writing, which has been an invaluable lesson. I won’t stop writing, but life happens. And you learn to adapt and be flexible, keep your goals and figure out another way to achieve them.
I was unable to participate in the nano this year - for various reasons - and have mainly been free writing and working on haikus. Giving birth to my debut novel was a difficult process; my second whooshed out in a flood, but my third (Book Two of the Samsara Trilogy – no working title yet) is waiting and ready. I’m going to set myself a daily word target, lower than the nano, and see how it goes.
homeless person squats
holds a cardboard cup - he hopes
for rain of mercy
A great post on writing sequels and series:
A humorous take on finding inspiration:
I’d love it if you checked out either of my novels, or popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.
Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
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