What is it about me and writing and pain?
My body gives me messages when I write and, so far, they have all been painful ones. I have no idea yet how to interpret these messages. I shall let you know when I do.
Last summer when I was writing my first proper book, Your Biz Your Way, I found myself in terrible sciatica pain which delayed the book by about a month. I have no idea why this happened. It became excruciatingly painful to sit in the writer’s chair. All I could do was lie down flat as a way of alleviating the pain. And I can’t write lying down; I don’t see myself as a Dragon Dictate type of a girl. My fingers are a crucial part of this. In fact, I would go so far as to say they do the writing.
The pain eventually passed. Just before Christmas I realised it had gone completely, but not before the book was published and up on Amazon’s digital shelves and selling satisfactorily online. Weird.
And now, it’s started again. A completely different sort of writing partnered with a completely different sort of pain.
My knees have been painful for ages. It’s fine. I live with it because I prefer this low-level chronic pain to the short sharp evil-potential-to-go-wrong pain of doctors, hospitals and operations. I don’t want to discuss it, thanks. My mind is made up. And since my falling over last year the pain in my right knee has all but disappeared, but it is almost as if it is gone to live in my left knee where the pain is now at least double and, again, we are back to excruciating. Disabling. Howl-out-loud pain. Almost enough to stop the writing. Because it is uncomfortable to write at my writing desk and hard to get a decent night’s sleep when I cannot find a comfortable position to put it in.
Do sleepless writers compose good prose? I don’t think so, no.
Again, weird. No apparent rhyme or reason I have yet been able to decode.
But I am pressing on. You’d expect nothing less. Nor would I. And on both occasions I was gung-ho for the writing and when I am gung-ho, nothing much stops me, not even pain. And this is the sort of pain which painkillers do not even touch. So doubly weird.
It does seem to be pain which is connected to me upping my writing game. It doesn’t visit me when I just do “normal” writing but as soon as I decide to write a book, or blog every day for 90 days or some such writerly feat, the pain comes in whammo.
I am going to write through it. And when I can’t, I shall rest. B***** the pain. It can s** off.
People Who Know About Things Like This are saying online that Ernest Hemingway may or may not have said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” It may, in fact, have been someone called Red Smith who first wrote ” There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and just open a vein.” Either way, I have no plans to bleed for my art, but the physical bodily pain does seem to be my equivalent. Don’t get me wrong, Hemingway I ain’t.
But I do know there is a quiet sneaky part of me which has always been a teeny tiny drama queen, and I love to talk to my Proper Writer clients about artists starving in garrets and the romance of all of that in principle, and the struggle for our art and so on. But the honest truth is I don’t believe in any of that really, which just makes this puzzle all the more curious.
Even as I am writing, I suspect that this leg thing is on the way out. And you’d think that a leg would not be painful when you are sitting down, wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong. Mark my words.