20 June 2012 - 10:13 pm

Pushing on

As I recently splurged all over this blog about, writing has been a bit of a struggle lately. I haven’t been able to plan and smooth things out as much as I like to, and the write-and-post fervour of getting Starwalker up each week has been a challenge to push through sometimes.

Part of what I love about web serial writing is the discipline of it: it would be easy to let myself slip and slip and wind up not writing at all. Also, I’m stubborn, and not going to let the fact that it’s hard stop me from doing it. If that was the case, I never would have started in the first place.

I’ve got a long history of pushing through the things that try to hold me back. I’ve had many reasons to give up in the past, all health-related. I’ve had arthritis and other joint issues my whole life, and I could have let it stop me from doing all kinds of things. Sports, trips, playing in the snow. I was a district high jump champion when I was 13. I’ve been skiing (I sucked at it, but I went!). I learned karate at uni. The issues were always there, but I dealt with them.

Nowadays, my biggest challenge is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I could have let it stop me doing all kinds of things: things around the house; going out; working. I could have let it stop me writing. I’ve had to make many compromises to live with this condition – and I still do, every day – but I’m stubborn too. I manage it. I work around it. Sometimes, I accept my failings and flagging energy, and I have to deal with that, too.

But I refuse to let it be an excuse. If I had, I never would have succeeded with the Apocalypse Blog and written a post every day for a year. I wound up writing three novels that year while working full time and doing everything else that fills up my time. (Sometimes, I still wonder how I pulled it off!)

If I had let CFS be an excuse, I wouldn’t be writing my current web serial either. It is a struggle, every week, to get the posts out at the moment. It’s harder work than I like. But I push on.

I still love it. It still works, even when I don’t think it will. I’m mentally drained this week, and I only had a vague idea of what I wanted the post to be about the day before I was due to start writing it, so I was facing this week’s writing with a note of despair. Then, just before I went to bed, an idea popped into my head. It was one of those lightbulb moments and I knew exactly what the scene needed to be.

It fought me. The two characters talking in the scene don’t rebound off each other well and they took some convincing to play nice. It was a hard conversation, for me and for my main character, but that’s part of the point of it (it’s no fun if it’s easy, after all). And at the end of the scene, Starry turned an unexpected corner. It blossomed out into an unexpected realisation for her, one that fits perfectly with the kind of emotional journey she has been moving through lately. It was more than worth the fight.

Sometimes, things just work. The post ended on the kind of note I wanted, and the ship is swooping in towards the next post, which I can’t wait to get to. (It’s one I’ve had in mind for a while.) I love it when a vague, half-formed plan works itself out right in front of you.

So here I am, pushing forward. I aim high, knowing that I’ll at least achieve some of what I want, maybe even most of it. Aiming for the stars is a good way to fly, even if you only clear mountains.

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