Writing Accountability Post #18–When everything falls apart

So you may have noticed there wasn’t a writing accountability post last week.

That’s because life happens sometimes. I’d been fighting a low-level IBS flare that was somewhat slowing my thoughts down–and then I got my second bivalent booster. Everything was cruising along fine for the first twelve hours after the shot, maybe a little bit of fatigue. I worked the old mare in the arena, pleased to notice that she was doing really well with her pads and not going sore on me. Ah-ha! Possible solution to a problem that had been showing up for a while, where she would go gimpy on me in part of the arena footing. She seemed to be feeling pretty good about it, too, happy to be able to do some pattern work for a change without hurting.

I was just a little tired, and I was feeling cocky, like maybe my immune system was gonna behave this time.


It started with tooth-rattling chills, then puking. I wasn’t able to keep anything down more than cautious sips of water for twenty-four hours. Then the worst receded, leaving me with a nasty IBS flare and a huge amount of fatigue. I had to baby my body, being careful about what I ate. I read a little, hung out on social media–and that’s when I noticed that something else was wrong. I was making stupid typos. Not the usual typos (I know my typo tendencies very well) but phonemic typos as well as synonyms, and I was making a LOT of them.

Enough that I didn’t trust myself with any story. Short takes on social media? Yeah, although I took my time in writing responses, longer than I normally would do.

Things didn’t start improving on that front until about Wednesday, when I sat down with the most recent Federation Cowboy chapter. I hadn’t been happy with the way I synopsized events prior to getting the shot–far too much telling rather than showing. I ripped that chapter to pieces and reassembled it. It’s a crucial chapter at the 60K point, where things really get dire for my protagonists, so it had to flow right. It had to work correctly.

I got that completed and posted on Kindle Vella, then sat down and worked out the remaining three chapters (um, well, there were supposed to be two chapters after this one, but guess what. There’s three). I knew I had to do something because the Nebula Conference was coming up and I was attending online. I knew darn good and well I wasn’t going to have a lot of time and brain space available to do a lot of story drafting, so I wanted to keep the flow going for when I pick things up again tomorrow. I even got started on the next chapter. All well and good, and with any luck I can manage to get the story finished in the next couple of weeks.

The Nebs have given me plenty of food for thought, as well as many pages of notes. I changed things out this time and listened while skimming parts of social media–this time the process seemed to work. Some panels had more engagement and interest than others, and I have a list of more that I want to listen to over the next week or so because even with a hybrid convention, interesting panels get scheduled across from each other. One thing that seems to have been useful this time around has been the discussion of branding. During this morning’s panel, I ended up creating a branding statement (in the raw) that somewhat sums up what I write, across multiple genres. I also made notes about how my current work resonates with what other people are saying about their work, and other useful points.

Interestingly, unlike Worldcon but LIKE World Fantasy, there’s been some interesting and useful side conversations in the breakout rooms. That’s the hardest part to replicate in a hybrid or virtual convention–the casual interactions with other writers that end up being productive.

I’ll blog more about the Nebulas later on. But I have thoughts simmering about what is and isn’t working for me when it comes to accountability and productivity in the writing world, and I hope to be able to write about them over the next few weeks. For now, it’s time to put the headphones back on (and OMG do headphones ever make a difference for someone like me with ADHD when listening to a panel) and see what’s what for the remainder of the conference.

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