Saturday, January 14, 2017

Priortizing Writing Projects for the New Year

As the new year has gotten underway, I've been struggling a lot with fatigue again, due to the new chemo trial I'm on. It's been hard to feel this way as it's reminiscent (though thankfully not nearly as severe) as the last time I went through chemo. I am thankful that this time it's not medicine by infusion, but oral medication, but I am still feeling frustrated with the amount of sleep I need, the various aches and pains including some connected to my worsening neuropathy, the struggles I have to sleep well at night, and the many appointments I'm having to do at the cancer center. At the same time, I'm finding plenty to be grateful for including the fact that the fatigue is still nowhere near the worst I've felt, the hope that this trial drug will work to bring about more needed healing, my excellent doctors, and the love and prayers of family and friends.

Turning into the new year felt very different for me this year. I've now gone through an entire calendar year without my dear mother. I'm approaching the one year mark since my diagnosis. I face a year filled with much to think about and do (including continued schooling of our sweet girl) but with no work deadlines. I officially went on disability in December. We also finally finished our move into our new rental home in December, which means lots of boxes to unpack and things to organize when I am not feeling well. And yes, feeling homesick.

Faced with limited energy and time, I find myself trying to prioritize my writing goals. It's been harder than expected because it turns out that I have done a lot more writing in the past twenty years than I realized. It's all been in cracks and crevices, but it's yielded a lot of creativity -- it's just that none of it is done. I have so many interrupted and unfinished projects! With some I have gotten a pretty far distance in, while others are barely out of idea stage. Some have yielded mostly outlines while others have yielded pages and pages of work. In addition to those twenty years, our move meant I was digging through boxes and files I had completely forgotten about, and those included work that goes back more like twenty-five and thirty years. A whole younger writer-me peeked out of those pages, but some of them were better than I recalled once I remembered they existed!

So what to do with all of this? I'm still not sure. I have ten to twelve projects I could be working on in turn, but I have a feeling the best use of my limited resources would be to choose one or two and work as steadily on them as I can. Doing anything steadily is difficult right now, but I am feeling sure I need to be writing as much as possible.

At the moment, one project seems to have chosen me. It's my most recent one: an attempt at a memoir that focuses on my healing journey and my experiences with cancer, all written through the lens of reflections on hair. Yes, hair. It sounds strange, I know, but it's coming along well. I started it last year and got through a prologue and a long first chapter. I also had jotted ideas for several more chapters. This week I suddenly got the yen to go back to it, and I'm now well into the next chapter, which is moving in some unexpected directions that have me excited. I just wish I was feeling better.

So we'll see where all of these go this year. I will keep moving forward and hope that I can get at least one project, if not more than one, completed. And oh yes, organize these writing files so they make some sort of sense. Prayers appreciated!

No comments: