Tag Archives: migraine

Godawful Early Schedule Results (Week 4 and Overall)

The one thing I can say about last week is that it happened.

It wasn’t a great one in terms of work hours. Monday was Thanksgiving, so I worked a bit in the early morning and then did nothing more for the rest of the day. Nothing work-related, at least. A migraine hit that evening (after I’d said I was thankful for not having one… that’ll learn me), and I was dealing with them off and on all week. I lost all of Wednesday to one.

But you know what? It happens. It’s a thing I’m prepared for, or that I at least should be by now. It’s nothing worth whining about, especially when things could be so much worse.

And there’s a bright side.

The hours I did work were pretty darned good. I was productive during work hours. After I decided to go ahead and try outlining my scenes in even more depth than I usually do, figuring out the little turning points and conclusions in bullet form instead of in the flow of trying to actually write the scene, my hourly word count crept up to 1600 or even 1700 wph (it’s usually closer to 1200 on a decent day).

Now, I haven’t done the math on whether this is actually more efficient. After all, that planning takes time, and that needs to be added to the time I’m actually spending writing the scene. In fact, it probably takes a little more this way.

But it feels less frustrating and wasteful, and that’s important for keeping me motivated. And it saves me from scenes that wander around too much before getting to the point, which means I might save time in revisions. So that’s cool.

Whatever keeps me going is good at this point.

Good lesson.

ALSO…

This makes 4 weeks of the Godawful Early Schedule. I’ve done my best to get up at 5:30 in the morning, to work for 90 minutes before the kids get up and then again for a few hours after they’re out the door. It’s time to look at my conclusions.

  • Getting some work done before breakfast/before anyone else gets up and I have to be a responsible adult is TOTALLY A GOOD IDEA. I absolutely want to continue with this. Knowing that I’ve accomplished something even if I have stuff going on later (or everything goes off the rails) is such a boost to my day. And having afternoons free means I have time for things like meeting people for coffee… or letting my schedule flip itself upside down if I need to take the morning off instead for an appointment.

BUT.

  • I miss my old morning routine. I want to make this morning work session a part of it, not a substitution for it. Meditation, planning my day, stretching, and reading are all important, too, and help me feel grounded and prepared for whatever comes later. So I need to get back to that.
  • 5:30 is just too early for me. Even after 4 weeks I’m still finding that my alarm clock is yanking me out of dreams instead of light sleep (never mind the fact that I don’t like having to go to bed at exactly the same time as my kids… or before them). 90 minutes of work focus is turning out to be a bit much to ask of my brain before food, caffeine, meds, etc. I thought I needed that big stretch of time, but as it turns out, 60 minutes is almost as good in terms of word count.

So here’s the next big plan:

  • wake up at 6:00. Drink water. Meditate 10 minutes.
  • work on planning/drafting new pen name project for 60 minutes in two 25-minute sprints with a 5-minute break between and at the end (aim for 1500 words). Get up, do floor exercises/stretches on breaks. Make notes for tomorrow’s writing session. Start making tea/coffee.
  • get kids up at 7:30, go through that whole routine (including eating breakfast).
  • After the kids are gone, take care of exercise* by either walking the dog or doing yoga depending on the weather. And shower, because ew.
  • work on Phoenix revisions from 10:00-noon, working in 25-minute sprints again.
  • After lunch, take care of pen name publication/promo concerns for no more than one hour, then relax, read, go for a walk, rest, or whatever I need to do to recharge.
  • And then the kids come home and I do the houseworks and makes the suppers and hangs out with the family peoples and all that jazz (try to find time for fun stuff… I’m still working on finding a hobby). Bed around 10:00.

So that’s the goal for the next few weeks. The ideal. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve had a hard time juggling multiple projects in the past, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to to it, especially when I’ve got a couple of natural breaks in my day. Two projects and then an hour for business stuff should be manageable.

We’ve got a few weeks left in October, and I’m going to try to make the most of them.

And then it’ll be November *gasp*. And that means NaNoWriMo *double gasp*. At that point I’ll have to either get my words-per-hour higher in those early morning sessions or make up extra on the weekends (when I’ll have to add sessions anyway… I’m currently not writing on weekends at all). That, or get these revisions off my desk so I can focus entirely on drafting.

Such tension. Such excitement.

If anyone else is doing NaNoWriMo this year, you can add me as a friend. I’m KittySparkes on the site . I probably won’t be on there a whole lot, but I’ll check messages.

22561176_10155543413785325_134500399_o

Gratuitous Halloween decor picture.

 

 


*I typed that as “exerscuse.” I make a lot of those.

 

 

Advertisements

Pain in the Ass. No… Head. Not Ass. Head.

It’s a bad night for the pain.

Tonight it feels like a toothache filling my skull. It comes in waves, crushing and slashing, bringing nausea along to join the party. Light hurts. My children’s voices cut through me, and every movement of the bed makes all of it worse. All I can do is sit here with the lamp on, writing this out on paper to be typed out tomorrow, and try not to yell at the kids, cry, or throw up.

It’s not always like this. This kind of headache only hits me about once a month… at least, this hard. But the fact is that I spend a lot of time almost every day dealing with two problems. Pain is one. Either a milder version of this, or ice picks slamming into my temples, or feeling like I’ve been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.

I can deal with pain, though.

It’s the fog that’s really hurting me.

The fog used to only come with true migraines, in the days before and after. It’s a feeling like my skull is stuffed with sawdust instead of brains–a physical sensation, and quite unpleasant. It brings a feeling like tunnel vision, though my vision is actually fine. And it makes me slow. My thoughts come slowly, as do my reactions. I can’t think of words, and sometimes can’t understand questions right away. And working? Writing stories, untangling plot problems, clarifying character motivations, and polishing my work until it shines?

Utterly impossible.

It wasn’t so bad when it happened once in a while. But now the fog is coming down every day. I can’t think. I can’t focus. I’m drifting in a slow, too-bright haze. I’m usually just lost enough that working is impossible, but the thoughts and ideas and potential are so close that it becomes incredibly frustrating.

Until now, I’ve been pushing myself through it. I’ve told people that everything is fine. I’ve made myself work in spite of the pain and the fog, working evenings and weekends to make up for the time I spend in bed when the kids are at school and I should be writing. I put off seeing a doctor because I didn’t have time. Because I had deadlines. Because I’d made promises (or at least dropped hints). I let my life get out of balance because of this one important thing.

A few days ago, I decided that I can’t keep going like this. I’m not doing my best work when I have no joy, when every word is a struggle. And let’s face it. Putting pressure on myself to craft a beautiful story when I can’t remember the word “spoon” is probably just compounding the issue.

This is not me giving up. I’m still working on this story every day, and I’m as excited about it as I’ve ever been. As of last week, I have all of the little moving pieces in place, and just need to put the time and the work (and the focus) in to finish it.

It’s complete in all but the final execution, and far better than I ever imagined.

All I really want to do is work on it (sleep and laundry and exercise and doctor’s appointments be damned). But it’s time for me to accept that I also need to make time to take care of myself. I have to stop beating myself up over deadlines and feeling like a failure over needing a few extra weeks to get this book ready for the world.

So I don’t have a release date for you yet. It will be after Christmas, which breaks my heart. I mean, no one with an ounce of business sense wants to miss Christmas. But you guys deserve my best. I’ve never given you less than that, and I can’t start now. I’m going to find out what’s wrong with me, and I’m going to get better. And this winter, I’m going to give you the book you deserve.

Thank you all so much for your support, for your encouragement and kind words. It all means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say.

I can’t wait to show you how this story ends.


H is for Heartleaf

Story ideas come from some weird places.

The inspiration for Bound came from two places: the first was a desire for a story that started with a decidedly non-badass girl saving a hero’s life… an idea that I quickly rejected in favour of her saving a villain’s life, because that’s far more interesting to me. And hey, I write what I want to read.

The other was my headaches.

I get a lot of them. My husband would call that the understatement of the century. All told, I’m insanely grateful if I get through a full day without any kind of pain. Most of the time it’s pain that’s very manageable with drugs, coffee, cold packs, and more drugs. I get through the day, I get my work done, the house doesn’t end up a complete disaster area.

Then there are the headaches that send me to bed because the light and noise of daily life are too much.

It’s not always the same kind of pain. Sometimes it’s a feeling like nausea, but in my skull. Sometimes it’s ice-picks stabbing at my eyes or my temples. Sometimes it feels like someone whacked me with a 2×4 on the back of the head, and sometimes it’s a seething, creeping, crawling pain that oozes around like a tiny monster trapped under the bones of my head.

It’s quite pleasant.

Wait… no. No, it sucks.

But the thing is, something good came of it. Something great, I think. I found a story. As I lay in bed with these monster headaches, or when my head was clear but I was too exhausted to do much else, I started to wonder what it would be like if there was a reason for the pain.

What if it had something to do with magic? What if it somehow hurt someone, made her feel pain like I felt?

What if it led to great adventure? To love, to self-discovery, to danger and wonder and a huge, wide world of possibility?

Well, my own headaches didn’t lead to any of that, but they did lead to me puzzling out a story that’s become a favourite of more people than I ever could have imagined.

Now, to work our way around to today’s topic…

In Bound, Rowan experiences headaches much like mine. At the beginning, she has no idea what’s causing them. No one does (which, it turns out, is probably a good thing for her). Doctors have been no help. The only relief Rowan can find from her pain is heartleaf tea, made from the inner bark of a tree that grows wild throughout Serath. The sweet-smelling, bitter-tasting tea keeps the pain at bay, at least for a while, and she’s learned to ask for nothing more than that.

Too bad for her when it becomes illegal to grow or possess it because of suspicions that it’s a magical substance.

For the record, I didn’t intend to make any statements about controlled substances there. Maybe I did… but I didn’t mean to.

Here’s a picture from my notes of the leaves that give the heartleaf tree its name.

IMG_1207
Okay, so it looks a little like a tongue in my drawing… it’s way prettier in real life, I swear.

Tell me: When have you found inspiration in an unexpected place? What was the outcome?

 


Sunday #ROW80 Update: Writing, Reading, and… Cleaning?!

Hello! First Round of Words update since JuNoWriMo started yesterday, so I guess it’s time for those updated goals, isn’t it?

Yes, Kate. Yes it is.

ROW80Logocopy50,000 words in a month breaks down to 1667 words a day, which isn’t so bad on good days. Sadly, they’re not all good days, so I set my goal at 2,000+ words a day so that there’s some wiggle room when family stuff comes up and I can’t write, depression decides to kick my ass into the corner, my personal muse decides to sit his own ass in the corner and pick the dirt from under his fingernails instead of doing his share of the work… whatever.

So here are my goals for June (which will take me past the end of this round of ROW80):

  • write 2,000 words a day on TORN
  • read one novel a week
  • continue edits on BOUND after writing is done for the day so I can get that out to my dear darling special reader friends and start looking for an editor (eep!)

We’ve had some not great news concerning my husband’s job. He’s not losing it, and I’m probably not supposed to share details, but it looks like he’s going to be having a very stressful summer. Not pleased. So in addition to my writing goals, I’m making a set of goals focusing on making his home life easier and less stressful, since there’s bugger all I can do about his work life. He’s been my biggest supporter (and to be honest, my hero) through a lot of my tough times. Now it’s my turn to be at my best for him. It might affect my writing, but there’s not much I can do about that.

  • full menu plan for each week with healthy meals (eating out/getting pizza still allowed, but should be planned)
  • 10-minute tidy (or 15 on bad days) with the kids every day before AJ comes home (clutter REALLY stresses him out) and before bed
  • get the basement in shape so the kids want to play down there more and keep the upstairs tidier
  • save extra money so when he does get days off we can get out of town and he can relax (I hope), and also to buy an elliptical for days when he can’t get out to exercise (and days when I can’t get out with Jack)

That’s all I’ve got for that so far. I know from experience that if I set my goals too high I’ll fail and give up, so I’ll leave it at that for now. If you have any suggestions, though, I’m open to them, and prayers and happy thoughts over the summer would be much appreciated.  And no, he’s not a drinker, so I can’t greet him at the door with something alcoholic in hand when he gets home (and he’s going to be on-call anyway, so no drinking even if he did. Which he doesn’t. I, on the other hand, might take up drinking as a hobby. YAY!)

So what have I achieved since my last update?

  • Not much on Thursday or Friday, but yesterday was a good day. I woke up with a migraine (bloody weather), but I took a frightening amount of painkillers and cranked out 3800 words over the course of the day. Were they good words? Darned if I know. I think they were.
  • Started reading Fallen. It starts out with one of my least favourite set-ups (people who are DESTINED to fall in love and they JUST CAN’T HELP IT!), but I like the writing, and I’m going to keep going to see what happens.  It might lose me if an IMPOSSIBLY GORGEOUS AND PERFECT BOY shows up, but I’m giving it a good chance. 🙂
  • Still struggling with reading fiction on the Kobo. I’m about 12 chapters in on First of Her Kind by K.L. Schwengel. I like the story, but the format makes me put it down a lot, and that makes me sad. Would be better if I was travelling. Great for reading in the bathtub, though (except that my husband thinks I’m nuts for having the Kobo near water)
  • Holy crap, how is the living room a mess again? Nobody is doing anything! Ugh, guess I should go round up the troops to take care of that…

I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Take care, and I’ll see you later (I’ve scheduled posts for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Will there be Engrish? Stay tuned to find out…)


Headache

(I wrote this on Saturday. I’m fine now… But this is my brain on headache, presented unedited. Don’t try this at home.)

So my head. It hurts. I took some thingy thing for it, but it still hurts, though now it feels more squashy and flobbledy than it did before, and less like a nasty old troll is smacking the back of my skull in with a rusty-nail-spiked board, so I guess that’s an improvement.

Also, “In the Night Garden” is starting to make sense. There’s something very wrong with me.

I’ve been screwing up words all day. I told Ike to put his underwear in the garbage when I meant the laundry, and I keep saying stuff like “put the thing in the other thing, and let’s get to the place so we can do the other whatever. Thing.”

Thank God they’re not usually like this. I get a lot of headaches, but I can usually function fairly normally.

I think it’s actually melting. I’m just going to lie down and be very still so my brain doesn’t flow all over my pillow and make it smell all brainy. That’s probably gross.

Probably best if I don’t try to do any writing until this gets more normal…


Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

The Writer Within

Inside the world of author AnnMarie Wyncoll

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

Are You Finished Yet?

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of USA Today bestselling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

Life, love, writing

Sara Beth Williams, Author of Christian Romance

Allie Potts Writes

Author, Blogger, Designer - Inventor of Worlds

Ultimately Useless Stories

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Shan Jeniah's Lovely Chaos

Finding Yessings and Blessings in Lifes Messings!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

Doorway Between Worlds

Communication tips with a creative twist

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Author & Magical Creative

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

💚life is never fair☕

🌼i gather strength from life’s storms -Jonathan L Huie🌼

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

Author Jen Wylie's Blog

Welcome to my mind... Blog for fantasty author Jen Wylie

J.R. RASMUSSEN

fantasy author