First Draft: Trigger Warning (working title)

Early in June I finished the first draft of my novel, Trigger Warning. I started writing it in May 2021 as a memoir, but because of my memory lapses (due to ECT), by June 2021 it became a novel, mainly because I had to somehow fill in the blanks that I couldn’t remember. From there I worked straight through to June 2022.

Much of it was written during NaNoWriMo 2021. I didn’t meet the 50,000-word goal but my main reason for doing it was to get this draft written. And in fact, it needs plenty more words because at this point, it’s probably a novella, and that’s okay according to my writing instructor.

It’s also nothing like the memoir version. For one thing it’s in third person, but also because with fiction writing, I have the freedom to create stuff without them having to resemble how it really happened. Other than her mental illness, the main character, Trina, and I have little in common.

Next step: revisions.

A Writing Retreat

This past weekend I was at a writing retreat at Ragdale in Lake Forest, IL. It was my first one so I didn’t know what to expect. It’s also been a long time since I’ve traveled alone, so fortunately Lake Forest was only about 30 miles away. Going on this retreat by myself was huge for me.

We spent much of the time in group sessions, though there was plenty of time for individual writing. The groups were made up of craft talks, some workshopping, and reading our work out loud. Meals were provided, so we ate together. The people I met were great (there were 12 of us), and the instructor, Abby Geni, was awesome. At the end of each session, she sent us away with prompts that we could work on (or not!).

This retreat was through Story Studio Chicago, from where I take a lot of classes, mostly online since they offer that. There are a few more retreats later this year, so check them out!

Here are pictures of my room. I had my own screened-in porch! I wish I had taken pictures of the grounds because it was beautiful.

Depression and Writing

I’ve been in a depressive episode since the beginning of February. Normally when this happens, I quit writing. This time I haven’t. I haven’t been as productive as I was pre-depression, but I am still writing.

My psychiatrist has exhausted most of the different medication options. Some work for a while then stop. Others don’t work at all. I’ve had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) quite a bit in the past. Like some medications, it didn’t last long. And I won’t do it again because it (along with having bipolar, some medications, and age) messed up my memory.

So he suggested ketamine infusion. He had mentioned it once before, but I didn’t look into it because insurance doesn’t cover it. Anyway, it is as it sounds: the doctor administers ketamine via IV. This may be used as a street drug, but when used properly it can improve depression symptoms right away. Insurance still doesn’t cover it, but I’m desperate.

I’m Still Here

So I haven’t posted anything in over two months. Well, I had major surgery in mid-December and needed a six- to eight-week recovery period, though I felt better long before then. Still. Precautions. And fortunately, I don’t have cancer.

I didn’t do much writing after NaNoWriMo, and then the surgery came up. I was also accepted into StoryStudioChicago’s Novel-in-a -Year program (NIAY), which started in January. It’s a one-year course that meets monthly and offers support to a small number of novel writers. And, of course, workshop is a part of that.

I decided that I would continue writing once the class started so I could get some direction, set goals, etc, And I have. I’ve written every day so far this month. I’ve had to rearrange my schedule to make the time to write, so I’m not reading as much as I would like. Also not crocheting as much. Both are basically my hobbies. That’s it, unless eating counts as a hobby.

As I continue to write my novel, I’ll try to give more updates on how it’s going.

Thanks for sticking around.

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