I guess the key is to start simply. This time though as I typed the opening sentence (a simple but nicely humorous one, IMHO) I realised, ironically, that exactly one year ago today I was rushing my husband to A and E.
That trip was the start of a very long and very difficult year. A year where the challenges just did not stop coming. My husband turned out to be seriously ill with a rare variant of Guillam-Barre and ended up spending a month in hospital having his blood treated to try and reverse the damage the Miller-Fisher syndrome was wreaking on his body. After that he had to stay at a neurological rehabilitation unit to assess his motor-skills and brain function. After that he spent eight months at home doing hours upon hours of daily exercises ranging from picking up paperclips, to writing, to muscle-strengthening, to building up the stamina needed to walk one mile. After that he had to summon the confidence to interview for, and get, a new job, because he’d just left one before he got ill. And after all that he had to be able to do the new job, day in, day out.
All this, along with global events that you can’t fail to feel the impact of, made the year a giant ball of stress. The extreme kind and then the kind of insidious slow-burn, low-level stress you think you’re dealing with until you find yourself in your local supermarket, staring at the jars of coffee and wondering why there are SO many different brands, and why you can’t remember which one you buy, and why your face is wet! There have been times this year where the stress has made the symptoms from my Chiari malformation so bad that I’ve struggled to do even the simplest of tasks and I’ve got ridiculously frustrated with my inability to do All The Things. All Perfectly!
In short there have been lots of tears – grieving-tears, worry-tears, fearful-tears, utter-frustration-tears, stress-relieving-tears, and…happy-tears too.
Because three-hundred and sixty-five days simply cannot be all bad!
At least my husband and I absolutely refuse to let them be!
And so as well as the bad there has been good. I had two books publish during the year and somehow I managed to write another as well. Writing the book was, on one hand, a wonderful way of taking my mind off what was happening, and on the other, a humongous scary-difficultness!
As a writer my job is to create a world that has conflict and drama in it. But at various times this year my natural instinct, when faced with any kind of drama, has been to want to pick up a very large bat and knock it right back out the stratosphere. I quickly discovered that if I allowed my characters to resolve the conflict in their lives by simply picking up a bat and batting it away, it was going to be a very short book! Also, completely un-funny. Bit of a nightmare when you’re writing a romantic comedy to be honest. I ended up writing, and re-writing over and over until I could put the drama in without immediately wanting to delete it and, again, because twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five can’t possibly be all bad, I eventually stumbled upon some funny and popped that in too!
I already know that this year is going to bring more challenges (because, Life, right?) but as I get back to hitting my word-count for the day, I guess all I really need to do, is set aside the fear – and simply start…