A year of blogging: what did I learn about me, ME/CFS, and writing?

Happy 1-year anniversary to me…

A whole year has somehow gone by since I started this blog in a fit of bravado: do it, or forever hold your peace.

My first post is still true: the only thing I truly fear is being irrelevant. Only time will tell on that one, and finishing Pride’s Children and putting it up for sale.

Goals

I have a goal of finishing Volume I this year, and the other two by publication date next year (September). Goals are fuzzy little things, elusive hiders-under-the-sofa.

They are also stretchy, as I found out from trying a writing challenge with Web Serial Writing Month (August 2013), in which I was a little too ambitious – but only a little.

Am I glad I started this blog? You betcha. An outlet for my writing, where a few lovely like-minded folk pop by and have a bit of a discussion – it has been exactly what I hoped for: an online magazine that welcomes my fiction and non-fiction, and gratefully publishes anything I care to write about.

I even have a few hardy folk who follow me – let’s call them my subscribers. SOME of them read that stuff.

Self-publishing?

I know a whole bunch more about publicizing and marketing – and I also know I’m not ready yet.

I’m in that lovely state of mind called pre-publishing – before your first novel is available for sale (or even finished, for that matter), and you are an unknown quantity, even to yourself.

You see, nothing I have learned this year has dissuaded me from the plan to self-publish: after all I have taught myself, after all the lists of bookmarks about editing and formatting and Amazon and everything else that happens after you finish writing, NOT self-publishing would be the coward’s way out. For me.

I’m happy about that part: I was afraid I’d find it TOO hard, TOO complicated. Mind you – I haven’t actually done it yet, so I may still find out I’m wrong about that ability. We’ll see – the second year post will either have goals met or …?

That’s the wonderful thing about being pre-published: the only one setting deadlines and sitting on my case – is ME. The only one who gets to decide when I’m ready? You guessed it.

That works especially well for my iffy brain and its perennial fog – part of what I have learned from publicly trying to write and deal with ME/CFS at the same time: I can, but it’s slow.

Writing – and ME/CFS

I have definitely decided I’m a writer. Not just ‘one who writes,’ but ‘one who can’t NOT write.’ I can say or write ‘I’m a writer’ without the smallest hesitation now.

Can I write with CFS? Well, yes. I’ve been doing it formally since 1995. I have learned to manage myself a bit better this year, as  managing my good time has resulted in chunks of time for both fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes I even use my writing time well.

I’ve blogged a bit ABOUT living with CFS as well as writing with it, and about the change in my life that happened this year – possibly even as a result of going on Facebook and joining a group (Hi, guys!) who have been supportive for both illness and writing.

I found out about megadose vitamin B1 – and I’ve had support taking it and reporting about it – partly through the online friends I’ve made. I hope some of them will also be part of my reading tribe, but what they’ve given me already is priceless: a safe place.

Writing – and my very own writing process

I’ve blogged a LOT about how I do things, mostly about the parts that I figured out for myself which I haven’t seen other people write about. I don’t claim to be unique, but I’m definitely weird. That brain fog thing, again? It makes me have to do many things differently.

By reading other people’s writing blogs and learning from them, I found the holes that I had to fill by myself, and in the process I wrote a lot of the details out. Some day I’ll gather the more useful bits into something like ‘Liebja’s Quirky Writing Tips for People with Weird Brains,‘ and throw it out there. There has to be SOMEBODY out there who would benefit: I keeping telling you I am not special.

By forcing myself to think about process during WeSeWriMo, I think I kicked my game up. This of course means I’ll have to revise scenes I thought were done, but that’s life – maybe they won’t need too much upgrading, as I would have developed process before it I had needed it to write them.

I learned my ‘process’ is a problem-solving one:

  1. I can’t write a scene, or I can’t revise it.
  2. I spend hundreds to thousands of words asking myself such useful questions as What am I trying to do in this scene? or Why am I having trouble ordering the events in the scene? or even Why doesn’t it hang together – everything I thought belonged in there is IN there?
  3. I figure it out – and find a solution for the new problem
  4. I write down the process so I won’t trip over the same problem next time. There’s ALWAYS a next time.
  5. I write the d#$%&d scene.

So far: every time.

The best part?

The people.

The visitors – who click through and read my stuff.

The commenters – who take a moment and add a thought.

The other bloggers – who put up with MY comments and questions. Just recently I found that someone put me on his BLOGROLL – one of the last things on my list of firsts!

My incredible beta reader, Rachel.

People who have become friends online – these I treasure.

Would I recommend blogging?

To anyone who has something they want to say.

If I, with my mushy brain, and at my age, can do this semi-decently, just about anyone can.

Come on in, the water’s fine.

Leave a thought – all welcome.

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3 thoughts on “A year of blogging: what did I learn about me, ME/CFS, and writing?

  1. clairechase51

    Congratulations on your one year of writing!! Amazing considering you are dealing with CFS. You will never have been irrelevant to me. I already told you how you affected my life way back when I was eighteen and that does not include the fun we are having now! Ha!! You mentioned our group, nice!! I wish you many happy blogging and publishing years ahead!

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    Reply
    1. ABE Post author

      Thanks, Claire – I’m having a ball. A bad day spent writing is still better than a good day doing most of the other things I have to do.

      Not better than a day on the beach at Huatulco, but ALMOST anything else.

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      Reply

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