I did something the other day that I have not done since December of 2016.
I critiqued a chapter for someone on Scribophile.
Things just haven’t gone my way this year, as those of you who follow this blog will understand. The problems actually started back in December, when my old (2009) second system I use to read critiques of my material died. It took a month or more to get a new secondary system.
That’s when the health problems set in, and they set in with a vengeance. Lower back problems. Chronic coughing. Fell and broke my left big toe, had to have surgery to fix it. More lower back problems, jumping from doctor to doctor to doctor. The list seems endless.
Not only have I not written a word on my own novel, as I said in a previous post, I haven’t even critiqued anyone else’s work. Critiques are what make Scribophile live and breathe. If I weren’t a team captain and a moderator, I’d have no business on the site.
All that changed a week ago when an old friend—the captain of the first Ubergroup team I was on—contacted me. He wanted me to critique the first chapter of his work.
I had to confess all of the above to him, especially the part about not having critiqued in nearly nine months. He was still willing to let me critique his work, which I did. I was a bit freaked out, but I dug in and went for it all the same.
Much of my critique skills had left me and I had to dig deep to remember them. I started by reading the entire chapter first, from beginning to end, something I rarely did in the old days (I used to just critique on the fly). I then went back and marked up the chapter with critique notes.
In the end, he said I was of some help, which was a great relief—I was afraid I’d wasted his time. No, I’d helped him figure out how to solve a problem with the opening sentence to one of his two possible starts to the book.
Now, I’m finding myself dealing with a dilemma—I want more than ever to get back into writing, but I need to get back to composing music. Put simply, I need to get back into the swing of things. I’m just having trouble picking the right swing. And, whichever one I choose, I can’t swing too high or I’ll swing into the brick wall of illness and pain in front of me.
Swing something, but swing low. I guess that’s how I’m going to have to deal with this.
Heather Hayden says
Yay for writing a critique! That’s wonderful! 🙂 I know I struggle diving back into the process if I’m away for a while, too.
Taking it easy is important, especially when getting back into the swing of things. Don’t push yourself too hard! Can you allot a certain amount of time a day to work on music and writing?
D. Lee Jackson says
Allotting a a certain amount a day is rather difficult. I have to write when ye olde muse strikes, as the saying goes. Right now, though, the pain medicine has been striking more often than the muse has, making it nearly impossible to even stay awake. I have to hope *anything* strikes while I’m not unconscious, and then roll with what I get.