Incredibly Horrible Malaise Scares Writer Back to Work

The headline says it all…

It had to happen.

After bragging for three years about my relative good health and having extolled the virtues of yearly flu shots, last weekend I was felled by malaise.

Now, my family will say that my “illness” was actually a prolonged hangover (I did drink, not that much. I was happy. My son and his wife were in town, whaddya want me to do? Sit there with an unhappy face?); I also consumed some medium well pork roast and a ton of sauerkraut that spent an afternoon bubbling in a pot along with spare ribs – and ate a deceptively small potato dumpling that probably weighed a pound. (It was my homage to the Bohemian ancestors, again, whaddya want me to do? I don’t make this dinner but on special occasions.) The result: I couldn’t get out of bed Sunday, except to make a mad dash for the bathroom. After several mad dashes, which wore a trough into my carpet, I experienced hot flashes worse than any menopause, accompanied by alternating cold spells where I shivered uncontrollably under layers of blankets.

Obviously, I couldn’t write under these conditions. I couldn’t watch TV (hell, I couldn’t operate the remote), answer the phone, read the paper, drink more than a swallow, or be my usual, charming self to our California company under these conditions. And they were begging me to come downstairs and play Scrabble! I was so ill, even a word game couldn’t rouse me.

As I lay on the floor, wadded up in all the spare bedding in the house, thinking I was going to die, and wondering if I should beg someone to drive me to the local ER, I was hit by sudden panic.


I’m in an online Donald Maass class over at Savvy Author, and I hadn’t completed this week’s homework.


I’ll be attending the San Francisco Writers Conference in less than two weeks, and was going to firm up my speed dating pitches, but no… been putting it off.


I’m trying to finish up an ending for the first novel that makes sense. Gave myself a deadline of the end of January, and it’s still in bits and pieces. And yes, I know it’s February. The EIGHTH.


There’s nothing like a brief recline on the deathbed to get a writer off her fat and lazy posterior.

Monday I felt a little better. Not much. I prescribed myself home made chicken noodle soup (which my husband says was the best I ever made – but he says that every time I make soup) and decided to lay low. Tuesday found me hugely improved. Exhausted but in an upright and locked position.

Today I woke up with more spring than I’ve had in a long time. It’s time to write, people, and the only way I know to get there is to sit down and do it.

Which is where I’m heading after I post this.


New Year, New and Improved Writer (I hope…)

My last post found me braindead from the frenzied writing I accomplished during the 2009 NaNoWriMo. For once, I finished an entire book in thirty days. Granted, some of the chapters were woefully lacking, but NaNo is an exercise is writing as fast as you can, not in writing perfect sentences and airtight plots of the next Big Novel to make it to the New York Times bestsellers list. I am not that demented to think I could hatch a flawless work of art in thirty hurried days.

Christmas came and went without the return of adult children. In a way it was sad, but in another way, at least I didn’t feel obligated to drag the Christmas tree from the basement and decorate the house. Bah humbug reigned supreme.

With all the luscious Christmastime feasts (hey, just because the kiddies didn’t make it doesn’t mean we didn’t eat well), my resolution list was starting to look like an unscalable mountain. My first resolution was to write every day, which fell to the wayside by the fifth. (That was yesterday.) My second was to work out at least fifteen minutes a day. That one didn’t see the light of Day One. I also resolved to practice my violin more often. That also bit the dust until today. Granted, I had to take my instrument in for new strings and other adjustments and had put that off because as we all know, I am a World Class Procrastinator. I finally made it to Psarianos yesterday. Check off that chore.

Gentle readers, I did accomplish a few things in the area of writing, lest you think that I went totally overboard and morphed into a lazy slug. (I keep having this workaholic-slug slugfest in my mind. We know who wins most of the time.)

For one thing, I unleashed the NaNo novel Virtually Yours on two readers. One was a friend and the other a friend who writes. I spent a good week going over the book and fleshed out some parts and corrected others. Both readers loved it (I know, what are they going to say? They hate it?) and I took note of their edits.

Newly rewritten, I sent Virtually Yours off to yet another person for a third-party edit. I do not know this person and am prepared for an honest evaluation. She has only read the first half and so far has given it a thumbs up. I haven’t received her edits back yet.

Yesterday, I took a look at Acorns and Oaks — what there is of it — and realized it’s going to need a serious overhaul. Since it’s a companion book to Oaks and Acorns, I started it off as though the reader already knew the story. Bad idea. It had been so long since I’d worked on it that even I was lost.

So today, January 6, I am starting my resolutions anew. After the day job of getting people paid, I am retreating to my room to start anew. I am going to write no matter what, with the same frenzied abandon as I did in November, when my goal was 1,200 – 1,500 words a day or more. If I could do it then, I can do it now.

Happy New Year to me.