christine alexis virgins of the screen. fuqvids.com

"I've got this in hand" hand in splint

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve come upon a challenge, possibly one of the biggest in my writing life.

Tendonosis.

It feels like a death sentence, that word.

I’ve written about many obstacles to writing and publishing, but none is so profound or fundamental as this – not using one’s hands. Until I couldn’t use my hands, I didn’t realize how remarkable opposable thumbs are. How useful! How glorious! How our entire society is built with the expectation of everyone using opposable thumbs!

Aside: Shout out to my primate brothers and sisters and the evolution that gave humanity this gift.

It’s important for writers to have challenges. Challenges create inspiration. The creative mind cannot function without stimulus. It must have input. The more difficult and complicated the inputs, the more rewarding the results – the more spectacular the art. So, in some ways, I should be grateful. Here I am, confronted by one of the more difficult challenges I’ve had in my writing life. I’m not one of those people who gets writer’s block. I don’t suffer from a lack of discipline. On the contrary, if anything, I suffer from too much drive. I have too big of dreams. This is a nice problem to have. However, it does compound the tendonosis.

What does a writer do when confronted with such a problem? The answer is always the same: I solve it. There is no other option. I decided to commit to the craft. I can’t just give up. I must keep going.

When I discovered the cause of my tendonosis, I screamed. When the screaming stopped, it turned to weeping. I was going through the active stages of grief. I had to admit the very real possibility that I might no longer write. But what is a writer who cannot write? Just another person. That was an unacceptable possibility for me. I can’t not write. I can’t imagine my existence without writing. It’s not possible for me, which means my only option is to solve this challenge.

My strategy is to combine tactics to allow me to heal while continuing to write. My husband, wonderful human that he is, already planned on buying me a new computer for my birthday. We upped the timeline and ended up getting a great deal on a 2 and 1. The machine is bigger than my old laptop, has a great processor, and of course, a touchscreen. The keyboard orientation gives my wrists a bit more support. The speed keeps me from sitting at the machine too long. The touchscreen also slices my time at the keys into segments. It has already been a huge boon.

I continue to wear my “power bracelets” as I call them (thumb/wrist splints). These are to keep me from overdoing anything. I don’t love them. When I first wore them, I was self-conscious. Now, I just feel like Jubilee all the time (Isn’t this the price for superheroism? A flaw?).

And finally my least favorite tactic: I do less. This is incredibly frustrating for me. That said, it’s better to be writing a little than not at all.

My point is, sometimes as writers, we come upon intense challenges. Sometimes it’s money, time, commitment, resources, or skill. Sometimes even our bodies become obstacles. This is no reason to give up. This all works to heat the crucible of creation hotter, smelting more perfect words. They will be more glorious than Damascus steel, more precise than the most artfully balanced katana.

I would take that fire any day.

Hands Off! Writing With Tendonosis
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