New Post Writing again

Reality Check 1:

Writing about not writing and the whole WHY of it all.

Here I am, at my desk, staring at my blank screen, ready to enjoy some Writing Time. And here are the physical concerns gnawing at the edges of my attention. In order of me noticing them, not in order of significance.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on


My left thumb hurts. The skin is hardened and has split open to a deep fissure. My right thumb is threatening same, but it’s a smaller crack, so smaller aggravation. Right forefinger wants in on the action too. (Ever had your fingertips harden and split open, anyone? GOOD TIMES, even better than punctures or cuts) Anyway, that one hasn’t quite split. Yet.
Eczema. It sounds so minor, but it’s a royal freaking annoyance.


My squishy cartilage fails in my wrists more often than anywhere else except my hips. All use equals overuse, the wrists don’t have postural muscles constantly working like ankles do, and weather pressure changes wreak havoc. Carpal tunnel “ergonomic” aids make them hurt worse. The right one has been crankier than the left lately, but both of them are at max laxity and protest me doing hard work involving my hands. Hard work includes activities like tying shoelaces and holding cups.


My right hip joint is hating life, the universe, and specifically sitting. The seasonal shift from sandals to shoes always stirs it up, and my insistence on bending/crouching over things in the garden hasn’t helped. The cartilage & muscles that hold the femur in the socket are all jacked up. The joint is wobbly and slides around. And the left hip is threatening a sympathy strike.


Trapezius muscles and rhomboids are intent on achieving rock status. Lats are getting in on the action. Why? Hahahahaha. They don’t need reasons. The right side is worse thanks to a decades- old strain caused by seat belt trauma after the second of 2 car accidents in a month. The iliocostals are not pleased either. Did I sleep wrong? Or are they acting up because my hips are sucky? WHY NOT BOTH!?

Shifting my weight reminds me I’ve stressed some rib cartilage on my right side. How? Who knows? Historically it’s from leaning on my left elbow too long. Or picking up something heavy with only my right arm. I’m blaming the cat. (Fun fact: my initial benign hypermobility diagnosis came in college after I popped multiple ribs by carrying my backpack on my right shoulder.)


Today the right one is bugging me. Usually I notice the left one (the one with the misplaced cap bone caused by teenage-years dislocation) first. The right one tasks me because I carried a bucket of fruit fifty yards four years ago. I think it’s taking the lead today because it’s between the cranky shoulder and the cranky wrist and is getting referred pain from both sides, poor thing.

That’s it. Not a big list, for me. No sinus headache, no random nausea, no deep wholesale body pain (like last night) no foggy “I forgot to eat and now I can’t make a decision” general malaise. I even slept late this morning, so I feel rested and alert.

But there’s a difference between alert and “able to focus,” and, well, I’m fighting to stay on that second level. Full disclosure, I’ve been fighting to sit down and write anything all month.

Some great things have happened. All kinds of successful adulting has occurred. (Flu shot! Heater maintenance! Checkups scheduled! Books ordered & reservations made! Successful Socializing! The long-postponed landscaping project finally wrapped up. Spouseman bought & racked firewood for seasonal fun. We’ve been to MOVIES!

But. That isn’t the whole picture. It’s been an expensive month physically. And that has sucked.

To be honest, the last four years have been a neverending assault of minor unhealth, one issue after another. No flashy injuries or big illnesses, just sinus infection after ear infection, muscle pull after tendon strain, bruises after cuts after rashes, and so on. And my vision has been deteriorating too, an issue I am attempting to remediate, but with limited success.

It’s my habit to classify inability to keep my butt in my seat and write new fiction as a personal failure—laziness, lack of willpower, refusal to apply myself—all the usual suspects, amirite? I get angry at myself for letting myself down, I feel guilty because I’m wasting time I could be spending doing something I genuinely love.

It’s long past time to admit the role of physical discomfort. I’m not struggling with creative writing and hurting too. Sitting with a keyboard is a literal fight. I have limited endurance as well as limited focus. And when those conditions team up, it’s not me failing to write, it’s me sensibly retreating from a battle I can’t win to fight again another day. On an intellectual level, I know it’s okay to not be okay. It’s time to work harder on feeling that truth.

This post is my way of proving to myself that I am fighting a war and not a battle–and that right now, the campaign is taking a heavy toll on my creativity.

SIDE NOTE: I am NOT soliciting advice on How To Deal and will likely respond impolitely if such advice is offered. I’ve had half a century to learn how to cope with this weird corpus and weirder brain of mine. It’s an ever-changing process, and This is part of my coping. When I need advice, I will ask, I promise.

That’s all I have to share right now. There’ll be more to my Reality Check series, on the Brains Are Sneaky side of things, but that’s another post. Until then, happy reading!

By K. M. Herkes

Author, gardener, and cat wrangler.