I’ve been pretty lucky from a medical perspective in this life. I’ve only had one broken bone (in sixth grade), and the first time I was under any sort of sedation was for a colonoscopy at age 50. I’ve also been lucky in that I’ve been fairly creative throughout my life. I had no idea how much I’ve taken my health for granted in relation to creative output until the last few months.
Sparing you the gory details, I’ve been dealing with kidney stones that are so large that they need to be surgically removed (how does this happen?!?). I’ve had one surgery already, and I’m scheduled for another procedure shortly. As you can imagine, I’ve been fairly miserable during this process. I can’t wait for this to be corrected.
One of the side-effects of this experience is that my creative output has decreased to virtually nothing (including this blog). My consciousness has been almost completely consumed by discomfort and pain, and each day has become interminable because of it. I just don’t feel like creating stories like I did before this came on. I don’t feel like I can give the proper attention to the emotional content that is required for the stories I write to be successful. It’s frustrating.
At this point, I need to point out that this post is not a pity party for me – far from it. I have several friends in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter that have chronic and debilitating conditions that are much more severe than what I have, and they have universally positive attitudes and are productive. I have always had undying respect for my friends in this situation – now, I’m in awe. I have no idea how they do it, and they are a source of tremendous inspiration to me.
I’ve been thinking about my frustration at my declining productivity, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it primarily stems from internal shame for allowing my productivity to decline. I’m sure it’s another aspect of the perfectionism that I have saddled myself with for my entire life. Rationally, I know that no one is judging me or holding me to any standard – as an independent writer, there are no deadlines – but I hold myself to sometimes impossible standards that affect my mental outlook.
Basically, I need to understand this and give myself a break. I know that I’ll resume my creativity once this episode has passed because I have always bounced back when I’ve encountered difficulties in life. I’m confident I will do this again. One of these days, I’ll learn how to do this.
I envy those who can work through the maladies they have been saddled with and produce tremendous work. I hope to someday join them.