2018 releases

Hell's Bell
Scent of the Jaguar
His Outback Nanny
The Queen's Game
366 Days of Flash Fiction
On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure
Lusting the Enemy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Darklight On...Eleni Konstantine

Blogger's block

I am meant to talk about some aspect of me and my writing and I'd drawing a blank about what to say. Yes, it DOES happen. I know I talk a lot about writing on my blog and reading on my reading blog, but I'm coming up with a blank.

Is this writer's block? Or blogger's block, perhaps?

I realise this happens more with my actual writing. Not that I don't have ideas and want to explore them, but as long time readers of this or my blog would know, I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And that can be a daily challenge, or a weekly challenge, depending on how I'm feeling. I do quite a bit  in my life - volunteer for RWAus, blog mistress of this blog, a writing group 'secretary' for want of a better term, and off course there is the 'normal life' stuff as well. But I do it to my pace, with no 9-5 routine to hinder me.

Sometimes I have an invisible barrier between and my writing.  I can see it, I want to work on it, but there's this barrier, this brain fog that isn't conducive to words.  I try to get through it, try to ignore the pounding in my ears, but I smack against it and stagger back. As you can imagine, this can be frustrating.

What do I do about it?

Other than hit my head against the barrier? Sometimes this feeling is a tell - telling me I need to regroup, and reenergise my creative energy. The barrier may be stronger at times when the story is not ready, that it needs time to simmer. I go away and work on my bits and bobs, and hopefully when I come back to it again, I can break through the barrier.

I watch TV or read to help jump start the creativity and more recently, I've been working on designs. Being visual helps and can sometimes help me through.

But most of all I have to take stock of when I am trying to go through the barrier. I'm a night owl, but despite it being the time of my best work, at other times it just doesn't work. I have to take stock of what I've done for the day and this can make the barrier more pronounced.

For example, today I went to Curves (just joined to get my fitness up again), then went to an appointment, then did some 'volunteer' work at my desk and caught up with email, and was so exhausted I had to take a nap. After nap, I had tea, visited my nephews who ran rings around me, and so I'm now sitting here absolutely brain dead.

So the barrier is definitely up. There is no point of me trying to write. I can sometimes edit in this state, but it's a real battle, so I prefer not to. Writing this post has been a battle, and I had such a busy week, I didn't get to it until the night before it's due to go out. And I have another busy day tomorrow, so this is the only time I can write it.

I've also come to the realisation I'm a binge writer. That is I can have a week where I can go for gold, pumping words out every day, but then I have to stop. It's my process, and I've come to accept it instead of beating myself up for not being able to produce words every day.

I did this recently with a 7K word short story. I wrote about 2K and it was like pulling teeth. I had to give it a a month before I could go back to it. Then for a week I wrote 4K at different intervals. Then another little break before finally finishing it off. Yes, it took a while but I have to accept that unlike before CFS, I have to let things settle before going on. When I do push and rush through, instead of feeling good I have words written, I get frustrated, because it's not right for the story.

At the end of this post, I think I can offer this one bit of advice - respect your process. What works for you may not work for another writer, but it is YOUR process, so own it, and work with it, instead of against it.

As for me, I know I won't be able to do any work tonight, so I'm off to go sleep.


Eleni's short story Changes will appear on Antipodean SF in January's issue. 

For links to Eleni's other short stories, please go to her website.


  1. Thanks for that honest blog, Eleni. Living with a husband with a chronic illness, the thing that's struck me is that the good that comes is that you have to prioritise your life and you realise that a lot of the things 'healthy' people worry about really aren't worth the worry.

    Letting things simmer is a good lesson for every writer to learn - time definitely makes a story better.

  2. Sometimes I think we're twins you do realise this :) Lovely post Eleni and yes, learning to respect your process is so important. Like you, health issues rule my life, well, I like to think they are not the boss of me. However I have to work within them (or they smack me hard).

    Finding a rhythm can be a tricky thing, the mind loves to play tricks too. Once you find the rhythm though, it's amazing how much smoother life can run (even with the ups/downs of energy levels). An enjoyable rollercoaster that you don't feel the need to grip white knuckle as you veer round a corner.

  3. Eleni, thank you for a wonderful post. I understand what you're saying because I need to pace myself too because of health issues. And you are sooo right about learning to respect our process - strangely enough just these last few days I've been chatting with a writer friend about this very thing!

  4. Thanks, Nicole. Yes, I find that you take stock of life a bit more. And best wishes to you and your husband.

    Nicky - yes, we'd like to think our health issues aren't the boss, and they don't have to be unless like you said you go over what is realistic. And a rollercoaster ride is a perfect way to describe health issues.

    Thanks for dropping in ladies.

  5. Hi Christina, we must have been posting at the same time. :)

    It's amazing how many of us do have health issues - but as usual we get on with it and don't usually talk about it. I realised a couple of years ago, if no one talked about it, then no way no-one would understand. I'm glad that you are respecting your process, and what a coincidence - but then great minds, and all that.

  6. Big hugs, Eleni. Chronic illnesses suck. (Healthy people don't realise how lucky they are.) Hang in there and keep fighting.

  7. Wise words, all, ladies. Fight the fights that need fighting and to heck with the rest! :)

  8. Hey Eleni,
    I'm with you. If the writing doesn't happen this week, it happens next week, or the next. And I'm the same as you - when other things are quiet, the writing spills forth; when busy, nada! So not much this month for me :)

  9. Thank you, Cath. I'm just happy when I get anything writing related done.

  10. Wonderful post! We all need to respect our process and be kind to ourselves. You're amazing, Eleni. Just sayin'...
    Big, huge, hugs....