When writing becomes a pain in the neck

*Image courtesy of sixninepixels FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week my physiotherapist suggested I buy a neck brace.

Obviously my week was not going as well as I hoped. Somehow I’d managed to strain my neck so that it had seized up completely. Looking both ways before crossing the road involved turning my entire body in either direction, as my neck wouldn’t move independently of my body. Even better, the pressure from the neck strain was impacting on my nerves, so my right arm was generously sharing in the pain. Sleeping was fun. When I could sleep that is.

After four days of enduring the discomfort and increasingly sleep deprived, I finally relented and took some anti-inflammatory medication.

Why on earth didn’t I take them sooner? I can hear you ask.

Occasionally writing has to take a back seat

Two words: my stomach. My stomach isn’t a favourite in our household. And now you’re probably wondering why I’m referring to my stomach like it’s a person. Well, it kind of is. A temperamental, extremely sensitive, high-maintenance sort of person. It doesn’t like gluten. It doesn’t like dairy. Hell, it doesn’t like a lot of things and anti-inflammatory medication is one of its major dislikes.

So we had a talk, my stomach and I. We agreed that those little pills were necessary. I told my stomach I understood it wasn’t happy about it, but sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team. So I saluted my stomach’s bravery and took an anti-inflammatory (with food of course. God, I’m not that stupid).

Not all drugs are bad, it turns out. While my stomach didn’t entirely agree, my neck pain improved dramatically. I was only able to take two doses before my stomach’s whimpering became a persistent moan, but we did it.

The neck has been improving ever since. My stomach truly was brave under the circumstances and is slowly forgiving me.

As for my writing, well, this is the first real writing I’ve done since it happened. Because sometimes, as much as we hate to do it, something’s got to give. It couldn’t be my family, because they obviously come first. My regular part-time work came a close second.

Hang on, writing is your profession too!

Yes, writing is also my profession. Like many, it’s not a full-time profession though. I still find it hard to adjust to the changeable nature of writing, which regularly involves give and take. When I’m deep in edits or in that zone where the story is flowing and life outside drops away, writing involves sacrifice.

Other times, like right now, writing needs to breathe. To rest. So that when the next phase comes, I’m ready.

Let’s just hope that when that happens, my neck brace will be a thing of the past and the anti-inflammatory medication will be locked away securely in the cupboard.

How about you? Do you go through phases of give and take with your writing?

3 Replies to “When writing becomes a pain in the neck”

  1. Absolutely! I have 5 jobs – mom, spouse, daughter, writer, and have a full time day job. Few of them contribute to the savings account – although if hugs and kisses could pay the bills I could retire with ease. I have to occasionally allow myself to ebb and flow with the most pressing need or I’d go insane trying to keep up.

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