Lemons to Lemonade


Slice 'em up and drop them into a vodka tonic.
Slice ’em up and drop them into a vodka tonic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  If we ignore for a moment that I don’t like lemonade, I liked this saying because it tells us to take a bad situation and make it better.  It’s certainly better than trying to find the silver lining in my opinion.  However, if we are to take either saying and attempt to convert it to the writers life (for me) then it takes on a different connotation completely.

Writers take from our real lives, so our lemonade is a story for readers… Yummy for them, but sucks for us.  I say that because the lemons are never pleasant.  For the last month and a half (probably longer as I’ve lost count of the days/weeks/time) it has been raining lemons on my health.  As a result my writing has suffered.  Anything of consequence beyond character sketches and basic outlining has been sidelined because I refuse to write crap.  Call it an example of putting my time to good use if you will.

Instead what I do when I’m unable to focus is work on free writing, brainstorming, and other non-essential activities that writers have to do but hate to do.  Be honest, none of us likes to structure our plot, we’d rather write and go.  However, when you’re not feeling well on average of six days out of seven, then the seventh day shows up, you make a choice as a writer.

Marvel at the break, that it can exist, or sit at the computer and get busy writing.  The problem is that after six days of nothing of consequence, getting that groove in motion takes longer… so how do you do it?

Normally I read what I wrote before, but because of how long it has been (and since last time I wrote was in a notebook) I decided to transfer Chapters 1 through 4 from paper to computer.  I’m doing a little editing as I go along, but it’s giving me the groove, it’s putting me back in contact with the story, the characters.  So my lemonade, which tastes a bit bitter at the moment, takes time, but when in a pinch, writing sometimes takes the form of copying.

My advice to anyone who suffers from a chronic condition that affects their mental well-being on average, when you get that one day.  Give yourself extra time to adjust and stretch the muscles.  It’ll feel a little weird, but it’ll settle out soon enough.  Promise.

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