ColetteB….

not exactly work in progress…

Day 1 – I write because…

Why do I write?

I write because I sometimes can. It is one of very few activities I can currently achieve.

I write because I am enjoying a return to regular writing after several years while experiencing some improvement in cognitive function during ongoing illness. 

Why I write so little:

My health is still very problematic but writing is something I am able to do from my bed when well enough. It’s still frustrating as even such small efforts can cause a backlash of increased symptoms.

Occasionally I’m writing while standing. Much of my blog browsing and feedback commenting is via my mobile phone at various intervals while on my feet (or laying down from my bed). A virtual keyboard’s fine for short writing such as comments but I don’t get on with it for trying longer writing – namely for the amount of editing to correct sentence structure and order. I occasionally stand to type at my laptop to write while I keep my dog company. I can’t type in a sitting position at a desk as it causes horrendous problems.

I also have problems with screen brightness settings, causing severe pain in my eyes. Modern technology in the main refuses to reduce brightness enough. Mental tasks requiring sustained concentration and effort always cause thick, severe headaches and brainfog.

Brainfog prevents my being able to write some days or parts of days, as do other aspects of my condition. Sometimes I am writing but it takes up to four times as long as it should and is very slow and quite painful – but I’m too determined to give up if I can avoid it! Other days it’s easier and quicker. Sometimes I don’t realise when I start writing how poorly functioning I will be as I continue. Other times I feel blessed with capability. Either way I can achieve a sense of purpose and accomplishment by writing. 

I guess some might say I write quite a lot, looking at my blogs – but even in primary school I would write so much more than I’m currently able to. 

I always enjoyed writing. I could write more reliably as a child, was able to write stories, even quite long ones, from quite an early age, with seemingly no effort at all. It’s often much more difficult now, although occasionally I manage something short but reasonable.

Learning, practise and self-awareness:

I have taken onboard the Daily Post/Blogging U team’s encouragement to ‘give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft’ and am just getting on with trying to write whenever I can.

It’s odd that while I can knock-out these responses to prompts and writing challenges, I have a great deal of difficulty with writing coherently for my own essential correspondence. I have problems with writers block whenever I try and fill out a form or write a personal or domestic letter. I’ll put things to one side knowing they have a deadline but not realising the passage of time and my memory’s terrible. I also often can’t see things for looking and everything’s in a dreadful muddle.

Online environments are much easier to manage for storing and retrieving information! I wouldn’t have anywhere near as much trouble if forms I have to fill in were in digital space. I’d complete it on the keyboard, correct errors easily, finish, hit submit, nothing to muddle, nothing to misplace, fair chance of meeting the deadline way before due.

I’m not sure what the reasons are for businesses, public services and government departments being so insistent on paper-based methods (and phone calls) for everyone but it’s highly problematic for me. (It’s perhaps to keep people in work, or for equality for those no digitally enabled). Then I get judgements thrown at me like ‘but you have good communication skills, you write well, you have no excuse for failing to fill in forms in time’. doh! (And no allowances for not being able to get out and buy stamps or to post the darn things!)

Hand-writing on paper’s quite difficult for me because it’s a totally different process. As well as having problems using my hands, I make lots of mistakes and write words and phrases in the wrong order. My sentence structure tends to go all wrong so my meaning’s not clear and can be very confusing. It’s then incredibly difficult to keep trying to rewrite handwritten copy until having a nice clear error-free copy. From the simplest of paper forms to managing paper-based information for comple issues, paper-based writing is a nightmare! I scream as does the earth.

Ambition and Interest:

I don’t especially have ambitions to write a book. I’m not keen to add to commercial mass-production and use of material resources adding to stock-piles of unsold books and other goods.

I’m quite interested in hand-made books, on-demand publishing and ebooks (self-publishing) but would need to learn a whole lot of how to go about that. I would need to have masses of energy for marketing, self-promotion and networking to be able to make it a potentially viable source of income. That would of course also involve having a finished marketable product! It would need more reliable health and functionality, competency and efficiency.

Motivations to write:

One reason for practising writing is that it would be something I would have to do a lot of if ever well enough to be self employed as an artist/writer whether I were making and selling products, exhibiting or providing services. That would involve similar needs as in the above paragraph.

I don’t see any reason in the meantime, while most objectives seem implausible and impossible, why I shouldn’t just try practising. Engaging in whatever learning and practise I can manage might one day contribute toward such possibilities – or at least improve my knowledge, understanding and practical skills if I ever again become employable.

I need to assess and establish a reliable baseline of activity to help manage my illness and plan what I am able to do. Physically I can manage very little at the moment. I know my ‘safe’ baseline for physical activity pretty well without needing to seek measure of it. It’s very little above zero, but I am managing to stand a bit longer.

Using the computer and internet more, being cognitively active, engaging in feedback and written conversation are quite recently new activity. These can be exhausting and I’ve only recently been able to manage more consistent use. I can’t measure such activity and impacts unless I repeatedly try to sustain such efforts. Then I can try to plan better and see if I can keep reliably to an activity plan. I can’t plan when to do physical tasks and that’s very annoying.

It would be nice to know that I can reliably do this much and have a schedule of things I can do. The fluctuating nature of my illness, currently only ever fluctuating toward further deterioration and exacerbation of symptoms makes that in some ways an ongoing process in need of awareness and flexibility.

Writing and creaivity via Blogging

Blogging is my main use of the internet, including reading other blogs – I manage extremely little other browsing or web use. It’s also currently my only hobby and leisure activity, because my functional ability and capacity are so low. (I began drawing daily for #DrawingAugust but this was anywhere bewtween 5 to 20 minutes and very rarely manging an hour. I am still keeping the daily habit but have reduced to a 1 to 2 minute non-dominant hand abstract pattern as I’ve been trying to write more and can’t do both at the moment!)

My blogs are my only venue for writing and creativity currently and I write very little privately, offline. It’s mostly the only way I have regular contact with the outside world. It’s a great way of connecting with and learning from others.

I’ve wanted to keep a journal for ages but it’s not possible. I keep a daybook that I always call ‘my journal’- but there’s nothing much journal-like about it. I learnt the difference between a journal and a day-book during the HWWP2015 MOOC earlier this year.

So, I’m giving blogging my all at the moment to have some creative and work-related activity (writing & ICT practise) to review and analyse the impacts. Hopefully I won’t keep making myself ill in the process and can achieve some stability.

Hopefully I’ll build up and sustain my capacity for cognitive exertion and be able to make better progress, achieve competency and efficiency and continue to build from there. Like my other blog‘s tagline says ‘Blogging my way back to life somehow’!

(version = v1.3a (BU-W101-1a) full, edited text from 30 minute free-writing excercise with a few inserted extras! Heading’s added at posting stage – still a working draft.)

I can see a lot wrong with my writing. My headings and sections maybe need reworking. it’s too long and goes off-topic a bit, but that’s the nature of free-writing for a whole fifteen to thirty minutes. I made it to about thirty minutes while I should have been sleeping. I woke in the night from a bad dream and couldn’t wait to see what the first assignment was. I made the mistake of impatience and went to my mobile phone browser to settle my concern that i might not have registered correctly! i found the assignment and dropped in at the commons to say an early hallo to the other side of the world i.e. those in other time zones opposite to mine. I then couldn’t sleep and after a couple of hours trying I sat up in bed, grabbed my laptop, and started typing my free-writing into a text document. Having completed the excercise and having a quick glance at the linked websites/blogs in the brief, I ran out of steam and slept till late morning. I have this dreadful habit of adding more and nore text…! (publishing, 12:55pm, Monday 7th September 2015 standing at my laptop in the kitchen before breakfast! final revision & submit 13:14 and NO MORE!)

#writing101 #free-writing #editing #ME/CFS #baseline assessment #planning #practise

(N.B. after this excercise I had an afterthought relating to my reasons for writing practise. I am adding that as a post today with excerpts of this page included – as a further excercise).

One thought on “Day 1 – I write because…

  1. Pingback: Reason – able (Writing 101-1b) | ColetteB….

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