Weekly Progress Report #48

Success! I managed to write every day this last week. Fantastic writing? Not so much. Getting back into the groove of daily writing will mean some days are going to be meh. I tried a few different styles of writing this week. Mostly to expand my writing. Still haven’t really settled on one genre, but I’m thinking I’ll never be able to be pigeonholed that way. That can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Quite a few authors write in a distinctive style and genre and build up an audience. If they go out of the prescribed style, then it usually isn’t received as well. Building an audience with an eclectic writing style is pretty hard to do. I do love a challenge!

This week, not only am I planning on posting everyday, but also start editing. I’m still not a fan of editing, but it is a necessary evil. I do know if I ever hit it big with my writing, I’m definitely hiring a professional editor. To me that will be money well spent as it will save me hours and hours of going over a manuscript. I’d rather be writing than editing and revising.

Health wise, I’m doing pretty darn good. I have about 80-90% mobility back with my shoulder. My last physical therapy session was last Tuesday. I had been scheduled for 3 more weeks, but my shoulder has responded to the therapy very well. I’m doing daily exercises to get that last bit of mobility back. But found out that I’ll need to continue the exercises probably for the rest of my life to keep the shoulder from freezing up again.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

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Doing Some Editing… Sorta

It’s been almost three months since I received feedback on my memoir, “My Cancer Journey”. I’ve not looked at the story or the feedback since my shoulder started hurting me.

First step is to gather all the feedback, copy/paste it into a word document. I’ve got email feedback, Google Docs feedback and even a Messenger feedback. I may have missed one or two, so double-checking. Next step, read the memoir with a notepad handy to write down anything that I need to rewrite.

Then and only then, I’ll read the feedback again. Finally, I’ll make my to-do list to rewrite and edit the story one last time. Then set it aside for a few weeks. Do one final read and correct anything that glares at me. I hate when words glare at me, don’t you?

Final, final step is to research once again how to publish it on Kindle. Then start the laborious process of formatting and checking and re-formatting until it is right.

Final, final, final step is to hit the “publish button”. That’s the scary time. Might have to gird my loins for that. Okay, I have no idea what “gird my loins” really means, but it sounded good.

On to final edits!

Feeling Pretty Good Today

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Saw my physical therapist for the last time today. He said I’ve made remarkable progress. Mostly because I’ve been diligent in doing my daily exercises. My shoulder for the most part feels great. During the day, while at work, I’m back up to almost full speed. I still feel a little twinge or two while working, but it is very manageable.

At night, while sleeping, it’s another story. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night with my shoulder and arm in pain. Some nights are worse than others. It could be because I’m mostly immobile while sleeping in the recliner. My shoulder is trying to freeze back up. With time and a lot of exercise, this will pass.

The last three days, I’ve written a weekly writing challenge every day. Decided to give you all a break tonight. I know I can write better, but it will take a bit of time to get back up to speed. Meanwhile, I’ve been experimenting with different forms of short stories. I have noticed that unless I do a cliffhanger at the end, then the ending is usually weak. I’ll have to work on that in the coming weeks, so bear with me.

My next prompt is a simple one. Unfortunately, I tend to not do well with simple prompts. Too many choices as to where the story could go. Even when I do decide on a direction, odds are that before I’m done, I’m already regretting my choice and have thought of at least three different stories that would probably be better.

How’s your writing going?

Weekly Progress Report #46

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Zero progress on writing this week. Time for reboot number two, or is it reboot number three?

According to my physical therapist, I’ve been making great progress. My mobility with my shoulder has improved. I’ve been doing the recommended exercises daily. After a pretty painful week and a severe lack of sleep, I can finally feel the progress. The last couple of nights I’ve been able to sleep throughout the night.

I’ve been seeing the physical therapist twice a week, but this week I’m going to drop it down to once a week. $50 co-pay each visit is a pretty hefty hit to the monthly budget.

I’ve pulled a prompt from the bowl of doom and have a few ideas on how to approach it. This evening, I’ll sit down and try to knock it out. Time’s a wasting on getting all my prompts done for the year. Meanwhile, I still have to do final edits on my memoir, but I’m putting that off until I can get caught up on the prompts. Priorities, right?

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

One Step Forward, A Gazillion Steps Back

Physical therapy is kicking my butt. I thought I was past the painful part of having a Frozen Shoulder. Now I have the privilege and dubious joy of immense pain every night. I’m getting between 2 to 3 hours of sleep. Then my arm throbs in pain enough to wake me up.

Since I avoid pain medications due to the ill effects on my liver, all I can do is suffer. My physical therapist stated this is normal and usually patients take Tylenol or something similar.

Hopefully this is a short time thing, but until I get past this time of pain, posting will be sporadic yet again.

Developing Good Writing Habits

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When I started this blog a year ago, the words flowed and writing daily came naturally. After taking a two month break, I thought it would be easy to get back into the writing habit.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling for a variety of reasons. First, I’m having to carve out a time to write after work. That’s harder than it sounds. I’ve now got daily exercises for my shoulder. That eats into the time I have available.

Speaking of my shoulder, I’m still hurting a bit when I type. I’ve got to take frequent breaks which disrupts the flow of thoughts. I’ve started a story on my weekly writing challenge two or three times and then completely lost where I was going with it after having to take a much needed break. The pain, though less than it was, has also affected my thinking processes. I’m unable to get into the writer’s zone.

So, do I wait until I have completed physical therapy? Or do I press on and try to write every day? My thinking is the latter is preferable. I may be writing dreck for a while until I can get into the groove. I’m also not going to worry about my prompt for the week until I can sit and write for a complete hour. Once I do that, I may be posting multiple short stories during each week until I get caught up.

It’s settled then. For me to develop good writing habits, I need to write everyday. Even if it is complete garbage. Bear with me, it will get better.

Weekly Progress Report #44

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so this is going to be a long update.

Zero progress on writing for the last two months.

About four months ago, my arm and shoulder started hurting. I would get a sharp pain if I moved my arm in certain directions. At first, the pain would subside to nothing, but after a while the pain became constant. I told my doctor about it and he wasn’t sure what was going on but decided to send me off for x-rays. I told him I had a high pain tolerance and gave him examples. Didn’t seem to faze him at all.

Then he sent me to get an MRI on my shoulder after the x-rays came back negative. Turned out I had two torn muscles and some fluid in my shoulder joint. About this time the pain was getting to the point where I couldn’t type more than a sentence or two. I stopped updating my blog and stopped writing stories altogether as it is extremely difficult to concentrate on writing when my shoulder and arm were hurting.

It got so bad that when I tried to sleep, I would naturally roll over on my right shoulder and it would wake me up. I would yell out and that would wake up Mrs. D. This happened all night long about every 1/2 hour. Finally, just to get some sleep, I’ve moved to sleeping in a recliner chair every night for the last six weeks.

Saw my doctor again and found out he couldn’t access my MRI or report due to the change over in software they were in the process of doing. We showed him the report I had gotten from the MRI. At this point, he finally realized that I did indeed have an extreme high pain tolerance. I asked him why he had discounted me when I had initially told him about it. Turns out he hears patients daily saying they have high pain tolerance in an effort to get stronger pain medication.

No wonder!

I rarely if ever take pain medication. Now I know when I see a doctor and tell them I have high pain tolerance, I also have to tell them I don’t want pain medication.

Got a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon as my doctor thought it would be likely I would need surgery. The surgeon took extensive x-rays of my shoulder and arm. Turns out I did not need surgery. Instead he said I had what is called a “frozen shoulder”. An inflammation of my shoulder joint had caused scar tissue and made it where I had lost most of my mobility of my shoulder joint.

He prescribed an injection of cortisone into my shoulder joint. This would help dampen the inflammation and start the healing process. In addition, I will be going through physical therapy twice a week for the next six weeks. Ouch!

As you can see the cortisone shot worked wonders as I’m able to actually sit down and write. I’m still sleeping in the recliner every night and more than likely that will continue while I’m doing physical therapy.

I’m going to make a renewed effort to post daily. I’ve missed writing and interacting with everyone. I’m also about 8 stories behind on my weekly writing challenge. Hopefully by doing at least 2 a week, I’ll get caught up before the end of the year and be able to complete the challenge of writing 52 stories in a year.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking about how I’m doing and I thank you very much for the concern and hopeful words. I wanted to respond, but most days all I could do was to try to block out the immense pain I was in.

Mrs. D is a firm believer in that things happen in three’s. In the past three years, I’ve had a stent put in, stage 4 cancer and now this, a frozen shoulder. If she is right, I should be safe and healthy for quite a while. I sure hope so.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #42

Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to go forward. This past month I’ve been focused on editing and revising. It’s become a chore. Yes, it advances me to my goal of being published, but detracts from the main reason I’m writing. Mainly, the joy of writing a story. Sometimes they are received well, other times they fall flat. Regardless, I enjoy writing each and every one of the stories. The more I write, the better the stories and more importantly the better the writing.

I looked back at some of my early writings and I cringe. What was I thinking? Some of them look like a total hack job. This shows me how far I’ve progressed. I’ve still got a ways to go. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. I’m not anywhere close to that number yet. I’ve yet to complete a novel. I’ll work on it in spurts, then something will come up to distract me from it. It takes a bit to get back into writing the novel.

I don’t expect my first novel to do well. Maybe my fourth or fifth. Just like writing short stories, it takes practice to write a novel that I will be proud of. Writing the novel is a major project. Editing my memoir is a major project. I’m not at the level of writing to be able to do both at the same time. I could edit and revise on certain days of the week and write the novel on other days, but it doesn’t quite work that way with me. I need to write on the novel for several days in order to get back up to speed. Once I stop writing, then I have to start the process over again.

I hope to do the final revising of the memoir this week. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. I’m not going to pressure myself. It will come when it needs to come. Meanwhile, I will post my weekly writing challenge tonight. It’s a hard one in that it could go several ways. I always have a problem with these type of prompts. So many ideas, but only one story. I could write multiple stories on the prompt, but I feel that would get repetitive and negate the purpose of the challenges.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #39

This has been an editing week. I’m really liking ProWritingAid as it points out more things I wouldn’t have even thought to look at. For instance, I have several paragraphs where I start every sentence with “I”. Currently rewriting those paragraphs to make the flow better and not sound repetitive. I’m currently at three (3!) passive sentences, down from originally 56. I’m struggling to rewrite the last three, but I’ll get there.

Speaking of struggling, this weekend is the half-way point of my Weekly Writing Challenge. To me, this one should be special. Stupendous, marvelous and, above all else, astounding. Unlike last week, where I could have gone in a dozen different ways to write the challenge, this one is pretty straightforward. And I’m drawing a complete blank. I can’t visualize anything but a boring story.

I’ve sat down many times in the last couple of days to see if I could come up with something that doesn’t completely suck. Usually, I’ll write a first sentence and the story will come to me. This time, not so much. I’ve written at least a dozen first sentence’s and every time it leaves me stuck. Could this week finally be my doom?

I’ve not written about cancer lately, due to me being cancer free, but I’ve noticed a peculiar thing. Every little ache or pain causes me instantly to think, “Cancer!” It’s almost as if I’ve become paranoid. I went to the dermatologist and had a mole that has been bothering me removed. During chemo, the mole dried out and split and has been flaky ever since. I can’t help but wonder if this is cancer. Friday, I received a call and the tests show it was benign. What a relief!

During my annual physical, I complained about my right arm hurting. The doc thinks it is because I had a rash of boils under my right arm. The scar tissue may have contracted my muscles. To be sure, he had me do x-rays of my arm and shoulder. I finally got to see the results yesterday and contrary to my fear of having bone cancer, it showed my bones are good. Looks like physical therapy is in my future.

It’s going to take a long time for me to get over this irrational fear of cancer whenever I experience anything different. I’m not used to living in fear and I don’t like it.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #38

This week has been all about editing. Not my strongest suit, but something that I need to work on. Slowly I’m getting there, but it seems like I’m slogging through a mud pit. I’ve decided that I need help. I’m going to pull the trigger on buying a year’s worth of premium for ProWritingAid. Of all the editing software I’ve seen, it fits the bill the best.

I’m on day 2 of my stop smoking process. I only get to smoke 19 cigarettes today. Yesterday was the first day I’ve only smoked 1 pack. I’ve been a pack and a half smoker for a while. When I visited with my youngest daughter at their new home, I went over two hours without smoking. When I left and came home, I smoked and I got a buzz. Felt lightheaded. From past experiences, this will happen more this week. Not a good recipe for success with trying to concentrate on editing.

I still need to write my Weekly Writing Challenge story. I will post it early tonight. It’s another vague prompt that could go in a number of different directions. Probably what I need to continue to grow as a writer, but indecision is wracking my brain.

I foresee a tough week ahead. I’ve been through tougher weeks in the past, so I know I’ll be able to get past all the obstacles.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.