Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG ~ Life Changes

I usually keep my Insecure Writer Support Group post to a short nod of the chin and shake of the head. But this month, I must deviate from my norm. There's something I need to write about, something from real life, and I figure if any group would understand it will be this one. (If you'd rather not read the post in its entirety I totally understand. Just scroll to the bottom and answer this month's designated question. I'd love to hear your answer.)

Writers often take from their own experiences or those they've witnessed, kneed them a little, and then use them in their stories or even as simple inspirations and motivations for story. Well, I've had life hand me plenty of writing material lately; so much so that I should have ten new books written. That is, if I had the time.

2018 was rough, with my mom moving into a nursing home. It was a life change for my dad, my brother, and myself and one that bled into my own little family of husband, four kids, an old pooch, and three kittens. And you know when you think you can't take anymore and you're like Nothing more can happen . . . and then it does? Yeah, that's where I've been since December 3rd when my father-in-law was admitted into the hospital with pneumonia and a UTI. Like my mom, he also suffers from mild/moderate dementia. Up until that day he was driving and getting around with my mother-in-law just fine. 

But now, he's still in the hospital. Yup, you read that correctly. It's been nine weeks. His condition has gotten better and then worse to where it pushed him into a diagnosis of Delirium. I didn't know that was an actual thing, but it is. And just before he got sick, we'd adopted a new German Shepherd puppy. *Talk about adding in extras when we didn't need any.*  

Lots of other things have happened in between these weeks, but I won't get into those except to say that they have eaten every stinking bit of my writing time, not to mention my inspiration and motivation to start my next middle grade book. And with this new spooky middle grade group I'm part of and all the extra social media exposure we're getting, this is a perfect time to buckle down and write a new MG. I have started three separate novels. But each time I sit down (even for fifteen minutes) to write a few lines I freeze up and can only see the mountain of total YUCK that's coming for my in-laws, and the mountain that is creating a new novel from outline to final draft. (My father-in-law will probably end up having to stay in a nursing home, which we can't say to my mother-in-law because she's not ready to face that yet.)

How do you see through all the YUCK life wades before you? I'm normally good at this, but I can't say that this time. I need to rekindle that feeling that writing a new story is fun, kind of like my escape from it all and therapy. LOL 

Thanks for letting me bend your ear. I feel a little better now. Hugs to you and to wherever you are in your writing life. 

Feel free to answer this month's question:

Participants
Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

51 comments:

  1. Prayers for your family! I hear ya. I started a new job (school librarian) in the fall and my writing time had diminished drastically since then. I'm doing a ton of reading, of course. But it's so hard to find the time I need to write uninterrupted!!! I keep telling myself, it will happen. I guess I have to plan more!

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    1. Ooh, congratulations on starting your new job! That's fantastic! You have a wonderful time-sucking reason that's taking you away from your writing. But I get that you want to get back to it. Give yourself a little adjustment time. I'm sure it will work out.

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  2. I'm glad you shared. My dad passed away last April. He was my mom's caregiver. Was a demanding and emotional year. My heart goes out to your family, Sheri.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. <3 I'm sure it was a hard year for many reasons.

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  3. Hi Sheri - I feel for you ... I had over 5 years making sure my mother was cared for ... she could at least talk - and thank goodness understood her situation - though as a child one (at least I did) feels that I needed to be there for her ... an essential. I was whacked and drained ... so do understand slightly. Take care and all the very best - the main thing is do what is necessary to get done ... the rest can wait ... or just make notes and jottings - so there's something to work from anon. Thinking of you - cheers Hilary

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    1. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated, Hilary. Thank you for your kind words. I'm sure that was rough for you with your mom. I think another reason I'm having a harder time right now is that I just went through all this with my mom. I didn't have much time to breath in between. And watching my husband have such a hard time seeing his dad like this is harder than when it was me. Again, thank you. <3

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  4. Sheri, I feel your pain. And, I'm sorry to hear your struggle. Life is wondrous and excruciating. My sister and I spent the last year and a half taking care of our mom, who didn't want to be put into a home. Abiding by her wishes was extremely hard on us. Her dementia was getting bad, and then she developed esophageal and stomach cancer. It was very sad. During that time, we'd spend nights and days with her. She'd sleep, relax, watch tv, and I'd write. She loved to see and hear about my writing. I was able to leave the suffering for a bit and wander into another realm. She passed peacefully in June. Take Care. Sending prayers. Don't worry about your writing. A great story will pop, and off to the writing races you'll go.

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  5. That's a lot to deal with all at once. Wow, nine weeks? They need to get a handle on it soon. Prayers for everyone.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. It's to be expected with our parents aging and all. It's just hard when it's happening and when it's happening all at once. I kind of feel like we've been run over by the cycle of life.

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  6. I'm a caregiver for my mom who lives in independent living near me and the only one she has to take care of her. I had to move her here from Florida last year. It's been very overwhelming and making me feel forgetful. And you know I was a caregiver to my husband before he died too while managing a career and being a good mom. I can relate. I have had to go through long periods with no time or energy to write. Maybe set aside 30 minutes of you time to write several times a week and one day where you have a longer stretch. Outline the first few chapters of what you want to write to get motivated. Hope it helps.

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    1. I know you've experienced your share of heartache, my dear friend, and have been an amazing example to others. Your husband couldn't have been in better hands than yours; same goes for your mother. I'm sure this weighs heavily on you. It's impossible for it not to. But I think you hit it on the head. We consciously must set a bit of me time aside. It doesn't mater if it's a twenty minute escape in the bathroom. I can take a notebook in there. Or heck, my laptop, and sit on the floor.

      This definitely helped. Just knowing I'm not totally alone makes the world of difference. Thank you, and hugs... <3

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  7. When I'm in eyeball deep in YUCK, I have to take time to heal myself. Read. Read a lot. Take walks. Take baths. Relax. Go to fun or peaceful places.

    I am sending you warm, bright thoughts.

    But what is this "spooky middle grade group?" I'd like to know more about that. :)

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    1. Not sure if it's your word choice or the underlining voice I hear, but your thoughts and advice really resonated with me. Thank you!

      Ooh, my new spooky middle grade. You haven't heard of us yet??? Well, here's a link to our website: https://spookymiddlegrade.com/ and us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/spookymgbooks. I take care of our tweets. Three or four of our members were hashing around the idea of a spooky mg group and one contacted me to see if I'd me up for it. I was all over it. I'd been undecided whether to write more MG or move back to my YA and its sequel. This helped me decide; at least for a little while. It's been fantastic. We offer free Skype or Hangout classroom visits, which have been booking weekly; we're crazy busy with all the visits, but it's getting our books into classrooms and libraries where they might not have been picked up. Plus, it's awesome inspiring young readers and writers to do both. So I guess that's been axing into my writing time, too. But it's also kept my mind more occupied because I'm not alone writing, but doing these visits and such with the other authors

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  8. That's a lot to happen at once. I can sympathize with you. We moved my MIL down here to a medical assisted living facility a few years ago, and we're the only people in the family doing anything to help her. It's tough and it can be draining. I hope 2019 is goes more smoothly for you.

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    1. Oh gosh, Christine! It's really hard when you're the only part of the family that helps out. (So sorry. I feel for you.) You're right. It can be extremely draining. I swear, days go by and I feel like I've done absolutely nothing, yet I'm exhausted. There's no way I can think let alone put coherent thoughts together to write. Wishing things to look up for you, too, during 2019. <3

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  9. Of course you haven't had time or energy to write with all of the health crises your loved ones have experienced. I try to accept that I'm in survival mode sometimes, and just getting through the day is all I can manage. I hope your mother and father-in-law have some lucid, healing days in their future.

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    1. Survival mode - that's perfect! All kidding aside, you're right. That's exactly what it is. I think I'm having a harder time now because I just went through this with my mom and things were just settling down with her. We have a schedule of visits, my dad and I share doctor visits and other stuff like that. My brother takes care of her laundry at the home, etc... I'm sure we'll find some sort of normalcy within all of this again. Thank you for your kind words.

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  10. Hi Sheri, you are dealing with a lot right now. My prayers for you and your family. At this point even if you write very little every day you shouldn't worry about it.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I really appreciate it. It's part of life, and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. It's really true.

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  11. Sending you ALL the hugs Sheri!
    Dementia is so hard. We're dealing with it as well, and I totally understand how overwhelming and devastating it is. Like you, I stumbled into a dry well. For a long time I was only able to deal with writing around the dementia itself. If I get brave enough, that book will be out in the world sometime. It's been a slow road getting my creative life back in order, but I'm closer. You'll get there. I'd say not to force it, but find ways to embrace when you get those small moments.
    Good luck and I'm sending all the good vibes I've got!

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    1. Wow, I had no idea you've been dealing with this, too. I'm so sorry for you and your loved ones as well. I didn't mention that my mom - been in a nursing home since last January - not only has multiple sclerosis 30+ years, but was diagnosed with dementia two years ago as well. So my little family is dealing with it from both ends. I'm more understanding about it now, and my husband was, too. But now that it's his dad, he's having a really hard time with it. It feels like dementia is everywhere. I truly hope you can find the courage to write that book about it someday. I'm sure it would help others. <3

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    2. It's so devastating to watch a bright, intelligent, kind human being become so changed by this disease. Hard for everyone and you're right - it seems like it's everywhere! MS is such a difficult diagnosis too.
      The book is written & ready for an editor - just have to get the courage to take that next step!

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  12. You need a lot of hugs and prayers. I went through some of that with my mother, who was in the hospital almost 6 weeks before hitting the therapy center and then finally assisted living. You just do what you gotta do and get through it.

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    1. You're right. Just do what we can do and keep forging ahead. I'm glad to hear that things eventually settled for you. Life is all about adjustments, right? <3

      Thank you for the kind words.

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  13. When life piles a mountain of yuck on me, I don't get much writing done. I don't have the energy or focus for it. Focus on self-care. If that includes writing then great. If not, try not to sweat it. You'll get through the yuck eventually.

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  14. I feel for you and understand. I've had years like that and all the emotional and time demands make it difficult to write. At least for me. My thoughts are with you and your family and I hope that pup is a star at house training.

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    1. Aw, your last sentence made me laugh. Thank you! Yeah, the pup does really well with the house training thing. She's just gotten so big so fast. Guess that's expected with a German Shepherd pup. We're looking into obedience training, right now. Thank you for your kind words.

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  15. I can understand what you are going through. I recently went through a super tough, unimaginably stressful couple of years. My brother was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. There is no cure. I watched him go through hell and back again. I became one of his main carers. Writing had always been a joy and an escape but I got to a point where there was no chance I could do any writing. Not because I couldn't catch 15mins to write, but because my brain could not engage. My brother passed away last year, and slowly writing came back. My advice is to be kind to yourself. You have to look after yourself before you can look after anyone else--think the oxygen mask rule: put it on yourself before you help anyone else put on theirs. It might be the best time to write, but if you can't then forgive yourself, because really, it's ok. Other opportunities will come up. Hugs.

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  16. Sometimes life seems impossible, but we survive. In his final years my husband did not even know who I was. He had so many health problems that could not be cured.I understand. My prayers are with you and your family. God bless.

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  17. Oh, Sheri, you're going through so much. I know it feels like you're not getting writing done, but sometimes you have to get life done for a while. Does that sound stupid. I'm just trying to say that you shouldn't be hard on yourself about it. This is an imperfect parallel, but an author friend of mine was really worried that once she had her baby, she would never find time to write again. She didn't at first, but the baby is about four months now, and she's finding energy and time again to get in some really good editing.

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  18. I'm sending prayers and thoughts your way. With all of that, it's no wonder the writing end suffers. So far, I haven't figured out how to write during such times and take it as a necessary pause, since those are necessary too. Here's hoping the 'yuck' decreases soon.

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  19. I'm so sorry for the challenges that you and your family are going through right now. Anytime a family member is sick takes a toll on everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I certainly hope you're able to find the peace and comfort you need to take care of yourself and your family and your creativity. The most important thing right now is to make sure YOU are up to the tasks all the YUCK flings at you. The writing will come back. It always does. The only way I can write during challenging times is to journal and get all the stuff that's churning inside me out. I do free-writing or Stream of Consciousness to just unhinge the trap door of my head and let it get as empty as it can. It's never pretty, but it helps. Hugs xo

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  20. I am so sorry for all you're going through. I understand. Truly, I do. 2007 was an awful year for me and my family. Mom's Alzheimer's (and passing), MIL in nursing home (and passed), Hubs downsized, me working to get health insurance. Oh, and then the new granddaughter (our first) who lived 5 hours away. Sandwiched between the needs of the elderly and the young. I can say it does get better. It's awful going through it, but life goes on and you live through it. Hugs and hope.

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  21. I feel your pain, and I am so sorry for your struggle. My aunt passed 3 years ago, and there isn't a day that I don't think of her.

    www.ficklemillennial.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm very sorry for your loss. The cycle of life is expected. It's just trying to deal with, sometimes.

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  22. That is a lot to deal with. I am sorry you all are going through it. When major life change happens it sort of changes the way you view the world in that in some way you are changed, therefore, you don't see things quite in the same way anymore. You have to find a new view. Write your emotions and thoughts in a journal just for you. Maybe your muse will let you write that way and maybe eventually you will find you can write your book too. Doodling helps me some as an emotional outlet. I hope things get better soon for all of you and when the tough decision come the transition goes smooth. Happy IWSG!

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  23. You might not have time to write now, but when you do it will help you. It's still my way of processing the world and it's good to have an anchor when everything's out of control. I've lost my dad, an aunt and an uncle in the past couple of years. Nothing's easy to deal with but the writing will see you through. Enjoy your pup - we lost one in December, but we've adopted a new little girl and she's actually on her way as I type!

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  24. So sorry to hear about your family problems. Health issues are always tough. But with your big family and fur babies, you time is definitely stretched. I don't have a fraction of your family, and I can hardly get through the day with the "Yuks"... SO much DRAMA from all ends. Ugh. But I manage to push forward. it's rough. Talking to friends certainly helps. And this GROUP is the best friend we all have in common... We're here for you, Sheri....

    I'm an "all crafter"... you name, I've done it. Right now I'm working on a baby quilt... Yes... about 100 pieces:A fabric jigsaw puzzle. It's been years since I made one, and sadly the digits just don't work as well as they used to...but I am persevering. What else can we do? Right?

    HUGS>>>>

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    1. A baby quilt! That is awesome. I am so jealous of your skills! Quilting is almost a lost art. I'm glad people like you are keeping it alive. It takes so much patients, but I'm sure it's fulfilling that creative void.

      Thanks for the kind words. (Hugs)
      Sheri~

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  25. Sorry about all the garbage you're dealing with in your life. But maybe the puppy will be a good diversion. Hope things get better. I'm sure you'll find time to write again once things settle down.

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