How to NaNo with Chronic Pain

teddy-teddy-bear-association-ill-42230Having previously come to terms with being a tortuously slow writer, I had not participated in NANoWriMo for a couple of years. I didn’t see a point. I had never won. I have since immersed myself in various online communities that include many writers and I found myself at the very, very end of October reading a thread of people announcing their intent to participate in NaNoWriMo. What really surprised me was the amount of people who freely and unapologetically admitted that they already knew they wouldn’t finish. But they signed up anyway. I began to feel more like a loser for not signing up rather than for not making 50,000 words. So a day or two into November, I joined in and recorded my intention to NaNoWriMo my current WIP (which should be noted, was also last year’s WIP).

It really is more about the intention. It doesn’t cost any money. There aren’t any consequences for “losing.” What was it going to hurt? I turned the goal of 50,000 words in thirty days into my intention to write as much as possible every day and it made me feel good.

Until the chronic pain settled into my hands and arms for the umpteenth time. What do you do with that? Like honestly, how do you perform a task with malfunctioning tools? I am always in pain, but sometimes it’s at a level that I can ignore, or sometimes it has settled into a different part of my body that can be accommodated for writing. But when your hands hurt to the point that you wring them together absentmindedly and your tendinitis has flared so that your wrist is swollen, and the pain is radiating up your arm in a solid line to what is more like your shoulders, there is no comfortable way to type. I can’t even type just on my phone because my thumbs are a large part of the problem. Forget hand writing. Maybe I could dictate? Is there even a good program for that yet? And good luck getting three dogs and a toddler to be quiet enough for it.

Bitch, whine, and moan. I suppose I could have no hands at all.

Pain robs you of energy too, physically and mentally.  And the brain fog that seems unique to fibromyalgia can be a totally different animal. It’s exhausting to be sick. And it hurts, in another way, to not be able to do the things that make your soul smile. I am left feeling guilty about all the time I waste not-writing when I feel good.

This post was titled as a “how to” which is misleading I guess. How To NaNo With Chronic Pain. You can’t. Or I couldn’t. I guess you pray that your flare-up gets over with quickly and that you still have motivation when you come out the other side.  I don’t say this to be depressing, or to inspire hopelessness; I say this to normalize my problems. I want you to see yourself in my journey and feel less alone. Maybe you can learn something too.

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