“I’m terrible at dictation. It’s just not how my process works,” I complain to my physiotherapist. “I normally sit at the desk or on the deck outside, and close my eyes. The words just come, out of my fingers. Dictation is so different, I don’t know if I can do it. I mean there’s my accent, for starters” I sigh, and readjust my wrist strap.
My physiotherapist looks at me and says, “May I be blunt with you, Ann?” I nod, and she leans forward, saying, “You have no other choice. If you want to be a writer, you have to dictate. That wrist of yours isn’t healing overnight. Maybe in a few years, but not anytime soon. You are beyond the point where you can type for 7 hours a day. You have to change your process, because you need your right hand to work again someday. And wear a splint. ”
Great, I think, staring at my right wrist and wanting to cry, even though that will not improve the current situation. Right now, I’m quite literally a writer who cannot write. Possibly for years. That takes my mind back to the fall of the year before, and the literal fall I had down a flight of stairs. I thought that when I initially felt better in the months following my tumble down that it was all good. But that right hand. That damn right hand, wrist, and halfway up to my elbow. It was wrecked, and I wasn’t even sure if all the physical therapy in the world could help me.
I wander through the rest of the day in a fog, unsure about my future. All I ever wanted to do was write, and just when I had gotten a publisher and some readers to take me seriously, it all seems to be going to pot. At least I’ve learned a lesson through this: stairs and Ann do not mix well. From here on out, it is a constant rotation of Tylenol and ibuprofen, a wrist strap and/or a splint, smelly topicals that sometimes work a bit, a little machine that attaches to my wrist and arm via electrodes to deliver current, ice, exercises four times a day, and most definitely no typing.
I try not to turn this into a case of apocalyptic thinking. I have a voice, so why can’t I use it? Because it’s different to say the stories out loud, instead of not even daring to do so until they are in their second or third draft? And so what if I’ve got an East coast Canadian accent? Maybe Word is smarter than I think and it will compensate for the disastrous way I pronounce some words.
Next, my mind drifts to the three manuscripts I have underway, one a serious, contemporary romance; one, memoirs from my father, growing up in a time and place that I want the reader to be enchanted by; and finally, a romp through Sweden after a booking site malfunction, featuring a Japanese boy band.
I really wanted to tell these stories.
Finally, I think of you, reader of this blog post and presumptive reader of my books. I think of the readers in my group on Facebook and the constant reassurance and kindness they have extended to me. How I’ve been told many times through accident, old injuries, and things I’m not free to speak of, that they will be there when I am ready. This blog post via dictation took me three times as long as it would have had I typed it. Instead, I used it as proof of concept. Could I dictate successfully? Well, yes and no. There were many epic mistakes but many more times when exactly what I said came out on the page. When my commas have not been forgotten and even trickier punctuation had turned out all right.
I think that’s where I’m at right now, in a broader sense. That it will turn out all right, if I give it a chance. I can’t be stubborn as a mule over this, and refuse to give it a try. If I dig in my heels, I am the one who will lose the chance to live my dream and finally be a writer full-time.
So what’s new? Apart from the above, I will be attending Steamy Lit Con in Anaheim, California in August! There will be more announcements around that, and they will be shorter ones, so you won’t have to read an entire rambling blog post to get to the meat of things, as it were. As part of the experience, I am offering pre-orders of my books, which may not be a bad way to go. The facts are, that there will be a horde of people there and I have no way of knowing how many will be interested in my already published books that I wrote for Smartypants Romance. I’ve been given a rather large table due to my disability (the wrist thing is new. The back and hip thing? Not so new). With a larger table, it’ll be easier to accommodate my scooter. It will also be easier to accommodate Lego to play with, and giveaway items that the members of my fictional Guild would find appropriate. As a tease, let me just say there is a Loki, a big one.
After being morose for most of this post, my spirits are lifted at the thought of seeing any of my readers, or perhaps future readers at the convention. I will find a way to make this work. I will have to, because writing is all I ever really wanted to do, I just didn’t think I could. Thank you for sticking with me, and thank you for reading. From Whynot Headquarters, that’s all for now. Peace!