The past eight months (and counting) of concussion have been long and hard [to see how hard, check out last week’s post here]. But there’s been a good side, too. I’ve learned a few things, and I thought I’d share them with you.
1. I used to check my email too often. Way too often. Only being able to get my email updates twice a day from my husband made me crazy at first, but I soon realized that agents weren’t going to walk away if it took me a few hours to reply to them. And since I wasn’t sending out many queries, I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with responses. Now that I’m allowed back on the computer (for short times) I’m finding it hard to keep from constantly checking in, but I’m doing my best to stick to only peeking at my inbox three times a day (or so). This has led directly to realizing:
2. Life is more relaxed without stressing over queries. Add my impatience waiting for responses to the amount of time I spent researching agents, perfecting queries, and checking out contests, and you’ll get an idea of how stressed I felt. I know I’ll have to get back to it all eventually, but as long as my computer time is still limited, I’m going to enjoy my mini-vacation from querying while I can.
3. It’s easy to lose time on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc. This one is probably a no-brainer, but it took me losing computer access to realize just how much time I spent on social media. Sure, some of it falls under the necessary category of establishing a social media presence, but, let’s face it, a lot of it was just wasting time. When I’m allowed back online full time, I will definitely be establishing limits on my non-writing computer time.
4. I’m a Pinterest goddess at heart. Okay, so I don’t have a Pinterest account, but I’ve seen the stuff on there. Over the summer, with three kids home and nothing better to do, I spent a lot of time trying to entertain my kids. We’re talking theme days, food faces, and whatever simple crafts my injured brain could manage – but of course without the photographing and displaying online. I have a feeling Pinterest could definitely become a major time-suck for me, which is why I’m going to continue to steer clear of it.
5. No writing and no reading make Kaye a little crazy. As I wrote above in #4, I channeled most of my creative impulses into entertaining my kids. As great as it felt to be SuperMom for a while, the lack of outside interests left me feeling a bit empty. I love my kids, but I need an identity away from them too, and the concussion robbed me of that. But in doing so, it made me realize writing is more than a hobby or simple career aspiration, it’s become part of what makes me me, and without it I’m lost.
6. I don’t have enough in-person friends any more. The past five years have seen many of my friends move and/or have kids and other draws on their time, and I’ve been tied up with the chaos of twins (+ 1), and trying to squeeze out writing time. More and more I’ve been relying on the internet to communicate – both with existing real-life friends, and with people I only know in cyberspace. Since my concussion has improved, I’ve been trying to get out more. I have weekly coffee dates with some of the neighborhood mommies, I’ve been meeting my crit partners whether I have material ready or not, and my husband and I have been trying to host more casual meet-ups on weekends. I still miss my virtual friends, but at least I don’t have to be lonely in my recovery.
7. I need to accept limitations. As a competitive (not to mention stubborn) person, I’ve always seen the word “can’t” as a challenge. You can’t race in figure skates, you say? – Watch me! You think girls can’t play baseball as well as boys? – I’ll show you. So it took a while for me to realize following the doctor’s orders was important to my recovery. In fact, I actually set myself back about six weeks by trying to fill out all my passport paperwork in one sitting. Now I’m learning to take it slow and not push myself too much (this blog post was written in five installments).
So there you have it. My concussion may have been brutal, and painful, and depressing, but at least I learned a few things. I hope any storms you have in your lives are filled with rainbows, too.