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 #47

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I’m going to start with health news first. My frozen shoulder is thawing out nicely. I’ve been doing daily exercises that are painful, but have increased my range of motion tremendously. I still have a constant pain, but it is much less now. At least now I can sit and write without having to take a break every few minutes.

On to writing progress. This part I’m going to ramble a bit, so feel free to skip it. I’ve been reflecting why my writing has deteriorated since I stopped writing at the end of July. Before I stopped, I used to be able to sit and write a story in about twenty minutes. A few minutes of basic editing and I published. The words flowed and generally the stories were well written. Since I started back up, it has been a completely different story.

I’ve struggled to even come up with a story based on my weekly prompt. When I do have a small germ of an idea, I’ll write a paragraph or two and then go completely blank. The stories don’t flow and I’m not real happy with the quality. It takes me about two hours to come up with a semi-decent story. This has been extremely frustrating to me and part of the reason why I haven’t been able to restart the blog properly.

Last night I had an epiphany. It all makes sense now. I went back to my early stories from last year. Reading through them, the quality is not as good as it was this last spring and early summer. Granted, I was starting out and not as well versed in the art of writing. As I looked at more stories, I could see the progression. Steadily, they were getting better and better. Wow, who would have thought that practice makes perfect? Yes, I know, I’ve been preaching that since I started, but somehow I completely forgot.

My writing skills have become rusty and the only cure is to start over and just write. Quantity over quality right now. I need to trust the process. Instead of bemoaning the lost time, I need to remember always to “Suck it up”, “Deal with it” and “No sympathy”. In order to get back to where I was at, it’s going to require daily writings. More than likely the writings will be dreck at first, but as I get more comfortable with putting words to paper so to speak, the old creative juices will come back and also the quality will naturally increase.

One of the the things I’ve told my children and also others is 80% of the key to success is to show up and suit up. In other words, be there on time and ready to work. 15% is determination to be the best you can be and the other 5% is the talent that you bring to your endeavor. I have a talent for writing, but talent alone will not and cannot be all that there is. Without showing up and writing every day and having that will power to write no matter what, I’ll never get to the level that I was at.

Enough rambling for today. My progress this week is being restarted once again. I have another weekly prompt that I will be writing today. Yes, I’m going to be doubling and tripling the weekly prompts until I get caught up. The goal of 52 prompts in one year is still doable, but will take a lot of work.

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

Parking Lot….. Again

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Got up early this morning as I was asked to make a drive today down I-95. I set off in the wee hours of the morning about 5:30 am from work. The distance a mere 165 miles to where I needed to go to pick up six bathtubs.

At first, it was a peaceful drive. Nobody driving crazy as usually happens. For most of the drive, my only companion were the headlights of other cars. With no moon, it was dark. Slowly the sky brightened off to my left. The temperature rose steadily as I was driving south.

An hour before my GPS stated that I would arrive, the sun came up fully. I had to move the visor to the driver’s side window as it was blindingly bright. The miles went by and it looked like I was going to be right on time.

Lo and behold, some one had crashed up ahead. Two of the three lanes were blocked. I-95 became a parking lot in an instant. Slowly I would be able to creep forward, but there were long moments that traffic came to a complete stop. I bemoaned my luck as I was only 10 miles from my objective.

Forty-five minutes later, I was able to take an exit and make a detour to where I needed to go. What should have been a leisurely two and a half hour drive turned into a four hour drive.

When I got to my destination and related about the crash, the guys weren’t surprised. They said it was a daily occurrence. I loaded up the truck and headed back to work. What should have been a five hour round trip, turned into a seven hour round trip.

I thought that the drive would give me plenty of time to dream up new stories as I am wont to do while driving. However, nothing seemed to stick. Is the well dry? I doubt it. More than likely I need to write. Doesn’t matter what I write, but I’ve found the more I write, the more stories come forth.

My mind has been blank as far as writing this week. The one thing I realized on my road trip is that I need to write even if it might be boring, or terrible. With time, I feel my writing juices will once again overflow my cup.

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.

Weekly Progress Report #45

Slow going this week on writing. I had hoped to do at least two writing challenges. It’s been a struggle as I’m still not in the writing mode. In addition, it is still difficult but not impossible to write. After about five minutes of writing, my right arm starts hurting. Taking frequent breaks causes me to lose my train of thought.

Progress ever so slight is still progress.

I’ve been doing daily exercises for my shoulder. My mobility is increasing a bit. Unfortunately, this has also caused my arm to be throbbing in pain. Especially at night. I get about 2 to 3 hours of sleep and then I’m woken up by the pain. I am definitely tired most of the time.

I’m planning and hoping to do two weekly challenges this week. The first one I think will continue the story of The Moon that I published last week. I left that story in a cliffhanger. Not because I planned on it, but because by the time I got to the end of the story, my mind had gone blank. I couldn’t think of what to write next. Also because I thoroughly enjoy doing cliffhangers, so it seemed like a natural place to stop. I tend to get complaints about “my darn cliffhangers”, but the readers keep on reading regardless. I think that secretly they like my cliffhangers.

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

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.

Just Another Day?

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It’s hard to believe yet another year has come and gone. So many things have happened since my last birthday. There wasn’t much cause to celebrate last year. Cancer treatments were wearing me down. It was all I could do to focus on getting through each day.

Since then, I’ve been cured of my stage 4 prostrate cancer. Started to get my strength back once I went off the medications. I looked forward to being able to mow my lawn in the summer. Mrs. D had taken over the responsibility the summer before while I went through treatment.

Then my shoulder and arm started hurting. Another summer gone and I’ve still not mowed the grass. Maybe next year.

It’s the simple chores that seem like a bother until you can’t do them anymore. I never thought I would miss mowing the lawn.

It was one year ago today that I committed to writing every day. I posted almost every day for 10 months.

I’m feeling better, so what better day than to commit to writing every day again. Maybe I can make it a full year this time?

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.