An unexpected writer’s block

You know it’s gotten bad when you’re sitting in your therapist’s office, discussing different voice to text software you can use to do your daily mental health writing exercises.

I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. I’ve filled about twenty personal journals in my life, not to mention the various poetry journals, short story notebooks, and collection of word documents that have been a staple in my life since I first learned to string letters together and form sentences.

Even when I’m not writing publicly, I’m still writing. I’m scribbling in notebooks. I’m typing drafts. I’m making progress on my novel.

I’ve heard lots of stories about people who lose what they love. Musicians who go deaf. Singers who lose stamina after a botched surgery. Athletes who find themselves injured, careers ended in a single moment.

I can’t pretend I really know how they feel, because I can still write. I’m writing right now. But it’s painful, and I don’t know how much more I can do in this one sitting. I don’t know if I’ll make it through to the end of my train of thought.

I’ve taken up the habit of jotting down notes. Most of the progress I’ve made on my novel in the past two months is a couple pages of notes. Simple glimpses of inspiration I didn’t have the strength to write, but didn’t want to lose. Because lately, I can’t get through even half a page of writing before I have to stop.

Voice to text… it isn’t the same. It doesn’t even use the same part of your brain as a pen in your hand or a keyboard at your fingertips.

If I write my novel using voice to text, it will be a different novel than it was meant to be.

Already I can feel my fingers swelling, the pain increasing. I know I’m reaching my limit, and my eyes are stinging as I sit here, because I don’t want to stop. It’s so nice. It’s SO NICE to write again.

But I have to respect my limits. So I will come back to this on another day.

I’m 24 years old and I have arthritis. An autoimmune disorder, the type that attacks multiple joints. In my case, almost all of them.

In my evaluation for occupational therapy, the therapist asked me what my goals were. After listing the various chores I’ve been unable to do for the past couple months, I breathed deep and said, “And I want to write, and type again. I want to keep working on my novel.”

Two months and only a few pages to show for it –it’s safe to say my timeline has changed.

But that’s ok, because I have a plan. Sure swallowing ten pills a day isn’t ideal, but they’ve started helping, a little. I mean, I can sit here and finally finish this blog post. I’ve got physical therapy, occupational therapy, a great rheumatologist, and a diet plan. And of course, most importantly, a strong support system in my husband, parents, and a couple close friends.


But it’s safe to say my whole life has changed.

2 thoughts on “An unexpected writer’s block

  1. Janai, you have always impressed me with your faith and determination! You are in my prayers and know that you are loved!

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