The second half of 2017 wasn’t the easiest for me. Around the middle of the summer I started to realize that Silver Bells: Book 2 might not be ready for a Christmas release like I’d planned. A Holiday Wish was so easy to write, I finished it by Easter and had it ready to go in plenty of time for Christmas. A Holiday Gift has been much harder. The characters hid things from me; the plot wouldn’t go the way I wanted. But I plugged away all summer, finally finishing the rough draft in the middle of September, but upon presenting it to my critique group, realized that it just wasn’t ready—and decided to revamp it, with a new goal of release in time for Christmas in July, 2018.
In the meantime, work got insanely busy. Beginning in early fall I was working 9+ hours a day. Between that and spending 90-ish minutes a day in traffic and not sitting down to dinner until 9 pm some nights, I was so mentally drained I couldn’t even think about my own writing. My contributions to Five Directions Press suffered too—I had the best of intentions to put out our Winter newsletter, but never did, mainly because I couldn’t come up with anything to say. I barely had time or energy to check my own e-mails, which I’m sure my writer friends found frustrating—though they were always kind enough to keep it to themselves. And there are several other writers, to whom I promised cover designs and formatted manuscripts, who must think I’ve abandoned them.
Then, just after Thanksgiving, carpal tunnel syndrome hit me like a ton of bricks, resulting in pain, 3 permanently numb fingers in my dominant hand and making typing and using a mouse exceedingly difficult. I saw a doctor, and he set me up for the necessary tests—until my middle finger locked up completely and I couldn’t bend my hand. My doctor now thinks there may be something else causing my symptoms and while we’re currently in the process of ruling things out and a daily naproxen regimen has given me my flexibility back, my fingers stayed numb and occasionally painful, so my head was not in a place for creating. I spent the holiday season pretty depressed. Everything I would have normally done to cheer myself up involves use of my hand (journaling, drawing, cooking) so no matter what I did, I was constantly reminded that there was something wrong with me; something that might be chronic. We’ll see.
But in the last few days I’ve realized that I’m accomplishing nothing by feeling sorry for myself, or making excuses for why I haven’t followed through on goals I set for myself or promises I made to other people. I’m not disabled. I can still use my hands. It might get uncomfortable after extended periods of time, but I can take breaks. And with luck, whatever is wrong with my hands is something fixable by a quick surgery that I won’t have to think about again. In the meantime, I’m setting new goals for myself, for Five Directions Press, and for my future. Happy 2018!