Don’t waste the window of writing opportunity: when the brain is ON, use it!


It is almost as if my body clock is locked into a Circadian rhythm with respect to writing: get up, take pills, have protein shake – WASTE THREE HOURS while the brain gets up.

I got a walk in – 3 laps instead of the one I had planned. YAY!

I have not allowed any stress – except the distress of not being able to speed the process up, and I’m used to that.

A little Sudoku as the brain came to grips with another day: I solved the Hard one, and without resorting to the paper/put-multiple-numbers-in-one-slot options – I did it. Myself. In my head. I will NOT tell you how long it took.

That is one of the satisfactions of this brain: I can still make it do things. If the priority is high enough it WILL get done. I will just take so much longer that I’ve gone through several cycles/days of eating, sleeping, and making myself do the IMPORTANT TASK in ALL the available good time.

What I could have done in a day or two (taxes, bills, cleaning) before I got sick, will take several weeks.

But I can still do them if I have to.

Is your IQ the same if your brain is super slow?

Does that mean my intelligence is unimpaired by CFS? Probably not, as a huge part of intelligence is the ability to do things other people can’t do, and do them FAST. At least as measured by timed tests.

My speed used to be one of my great joys, the ability to GROK something and its implications quickly.

I tell myself that if they didn’t care how long it took, I could probably still do my old job in computational physics. And maybe even learn new ways – to compensate. But of course I’d have to drive there (after getting up and putting on real clothes and waking up first and eating and maybe showering…), immediately take a nap, work for a little while, take another nap…

I THINK I still have the capacity – but it would be so frustrating for all involved, waiting for my results, that it would be totally embarrassing, as well as cause for firing. So I’m glad there is such a thing as disability: the ‘accommodations’ I would need under the Americans with Disabilities Act would basically amount to having at least five times as much time to get things done as ‘normal’ people (of similar educational and work experience).

I WOULD have done it, had I been unique, but there was no reason to torture myself like that (Stephen Hawking I am not), and so I rot away (physics-wise) at home – except for the occasional child of a friend who needs help with a homework problem or an SAT problem or…

I AM unique in the fiction world.

(PS: so are you.)

Oh, not because I am disabled – plenty of writers are, unfortunately.

And not because I keep plowing away at it – plenty of disabled writers, even some with CFS, do the same.

But because this is MY story. It came to me in one chunk, hasn’t changed in 12 years in any substantial way, and isn’t going to exist at all unless I write it. Finish it. Publish it.

The world’s loss if I don’t finish? I doubt the world will care.

My loss if I don’t keep writing? Yes

Never give up, never surrender (GalaxyQuest – IIRC)

And that’s why I keep trying, waiting for the brain to catch on fire enough to allow me to start up Freedom, block the internet, and get to today’s writing.

I’m noting that being able to write about the process and the goals, sometimes creating a blog post about it, seems to be part of the process – or, more likely, an indicator that the brain is ALMOST ready to write fiction: it is starting to complete the process that starts every morning with reading, is followed by commenting (short non-fiction), then this writing (longer non-fiction), before we get to fiction – if we haven’t used up the ‘good’ time getting to that point.

Later in the day sometimes works – but mostly doesn’t.

I’m sort of like the mayflies in that I have only three hours to wake up, get going, and get something written before the capacity is lost for that day. Or I HAVE to get stuff like taxes done.

The mayflies get one chance, poor little things, and the birds gobble them up while they’re trying to find a mate and lay eggs.

If I’m lucky, I get a chance every day.

It just started. TTYL

Much later

Final note: I forget, EVERY TIME (brains are funny that way), that when I get to ON, it’s TEMPORARY.

It is a window of opportunity, not an easy win for the rest of the day. And the window keeps closing on me because I didn’t get a move on while it was open.

Today – I grabbed it. Actually got some text reorganized, cleaned up, and a final version chosen for about 3 pages worth. Wish I could remember to do it every time!

And I got my groove back – I know what to do next. I’m even going to try some right now (10 pm).

Edited at midnight: another two small sections done!

Wish me luck.


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