With most things in life, there is an equilibrium to events. You plan for terrible events to reduce their impact hoping they don’t happen. The better the planning, the faster you can recover from them or at least limit the damage by them. On the opposite side, you try to put yourself in a position to seize opportunities when they reveal themselves. Especially if you work towards creating them yourself.
For the past five years, I researched the craft of writing and self-publishing through videos, books, blogs, podcasts, online courses and writing groups. I’ve worked on improving my writing. At the beginning of this year, my writing goals were to treat writing as a profession instead of a hobby, get a short story accepted, write and self-publishing two books. I figured if I don’t hold myself accountable with goals, I would never accomplish what I wanted, which is to become a full-time writer. I think these are achievable goals. Maybe I could do better than this, but I would never know unless I tried.
So, in January I started my writing business, Pharr Out Publishing. Created a website, a few social media accounts and started networking with like-minded authors. A first big step completed.
I took a few story ideas which I had explored, then started world building to create a story world I would base my stories in. From the start I wanted to use the same story universe to tell multiple stories through distinct characters. I set my first story in the current timeline and the other about twenty years earlier but same story universe. I like stories written in a common universe because I read tons of comic books as a kid, and it was fun when they had crossovers between two unique characters.
Remember when I talked about terrible events earlier. In February of this year, they diagnosed my mother with kidney cancer. A gut punch of epic proportions. Prognosis wasn’t good. I had a brief time to prepare for this. My sister and I did the best we could, but in less than a month, she was gone. The largest of all knock out blows. I didn’t want to write, but I did. It was my way of handling it. The thoughts in that journal will remain with me forever. I used it to grieve.
Then in March I got Covid. It knocked me down to my knees. After several hospital visits, an antibiotic infusion, and two weeks in the bed, I recovered. The helplessness I had during this time crushed me. It took another three weeks for all the effects to dissipate. I consider myself a lucky one to get that close to death but survive. Some people were not that lucky, including my cousin. He was a year older than me and didn’t make it.
Time marched on. I wanted to improve my quality of life. After waiting five years, I scheduled to replace my knee damaged ten years earlier. It looked like things were on an upswing. I could get back to some activities I enjoyed when I was younger, like hiking and nature photography. But at the end of April, after eleven years, my employer eliminated my position three days before my surgery. I felt like I was a character in one of my stories constantly get knocked down only to stand up and get knocked down again.
So, after successful surgery, there aren’t too many things you can do with a seven-inch incision going down the middle of your leg. Then I started physical therapy. I think you know how this is going to go, right? Yep, I got a skin infection. Ten days of IV antibiotic infusions followed. Another fun thing is the pain meds kept me pretty much in and out of consciousness. Three weeks later, I could walk without a cane and drive again. Yippee!
Now it is June and all I have is time. I can’t go back to work yet, plus I must find a new job. Remember when I told you about opportunities before? Well, this was mine. Since I didn’t have to go back to work, I scheduled my other knee to be replaced in July. I have spent a lot of time writing, outlining and world building. One story sits at 30k words while the other just at 5k. I’m going to write as much as I can between now and when I go back to work in August. Wish me luck.