Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Not Knowing What the Future Holds For me

 


Today is Dcember's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why makes me an insecure writer this month?

Not knowing how much more time I still have left for writing. One consequence of being a slow writer is that ideas for stories come to me faster than I can write them down, which means I always have a backlog of stories  bubbling around in my head . I’ve always been a slow writer, but I figured if I could keep writing until my 80’s, that would be good enough. Unfortunately, back in September, I was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer and suddenly, I’m going to have to beat some awfully long odds in order to finish this indie author dream I’ve been nurturing for the last 10-15 years. I’ve already begun chemo and radiation treatments, but it may be a while before we know if they’re going to work, or for how long they’ll keep working even if they do. 


As far as my writing is concerned, turns out the tumor is located on the right side of my brain, in the section that communicates with the  sensory and motor neurons on the left side of my body. My left hand can no longer touch type, so I’m forced to use my right hand to do all the typing, mostly by hunt and pecking, and since the anti-seizure medication tends to fog my brain, every time I look up at the computer screen, Word is filled with squiqqly red error lines. As you might expect, these kinds of obstacles will slow down an already slow writer like me, but it is what it is, and I’m determined to publish as many stories as possible in the time I have left. The one thing I do have going in my favor is that my focus on writing has intensified over the last month. No more do I allow myself to walk away from the keyboard when I get stuck on a scene. I can no longer afford to simply sit back and wait for my muse to show up.

But since we’re rapidly approaching the Christmas season, I’d rather spend the rest of this post giving thanks for what I do have. And despite the cancer, I have plenty to be thankful for: 

1). A supportive family that have been helping me through all this.(Heck, my son even volunteered to put up the roof Christmas lights for me this year, although being on the roof kind of freaks him out.) 

2). A supportive writing community that allowed me to grow as a writer over the years,(thanks guys!)

3).Two great critique groups that put up with my writing for several years  until I improved to the point where I was comfortable with my voice.   

4). My chemotherapy is easy, a daily pill I take at home that doesn’t make me sick.  

5). I’m also extremely thankful for being right-handed,  which means I can still do a lot of things on my own, including typing on my laptop.

Have a Great Christmas everyone!

ChemistKen

P.S. I didn’t realize how hard hunt and peck typing is on your finger joints. Do any of you out there use dictation software?








33 comments:

  1. ((((HUGS))) Ken! That totally sucks. I love your attitude and that's what will get you through the tough times. KUDOS on sticking to your writing. While reading your post I was going to suggest a dictation program but you're ahead of me. It's awkward at first (especially if you're like me and don't like to hear the sound of your voice!) but once you get the rhythm of it and don't get hung up on constanting making correction as you go, it works very well. It actually LEARNS your tone and vocabulary (which makes it smarter than me). It will also read back your work to you. Will hold you in my thoughts and prayers, Ken! Write On!!

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  2. Your strength is lifting me up today, Ken, in a very powerful way. I can't imagine. The chemo sounds better than I expected. A pill! Wow, times have changed. I'm definitely holding you in my prayers. I'm one of those who believe everything happens for a reason and we humans can do anything we set our minds to. I'm cheering for you.

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  3. Ken, really sorry! Prayers the chemo does its trick. Thanks for slogging through a post and hosting today. You are Superman.

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  4. Thanks for taking the time to cohost! You are in inspiration to me and to any others who think they have writer's block. I was going to suggest some kind of dictation program, there has to be one that will work for you and I hope you find it ASAP. Know that I'm sending you lots of healing vibes.

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  5. Shoot. That's not a card you like dealt in life. Good on you to accept it and move on. Word has a built in dictate tool, if you use Word for typing. I have 365 and it shows up right on the top toolbar. Google Docs also has it--go to Tools>Voice Typing. Both are free. There are other add-ons, but maybe those two will work for you. If not, let me know and I'll suggest more!

    I had to type one handed for about a year (because of my RA). I got used to it, but it was so darn slow.

    Best to you, Ken.

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  6. You do have a great many things to be thankful for, Ken. And I send all my positive energy your way for successful treatment and a return to health and writing--no matter how slowly.

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  7. I held my breath in empathy as I read you story from start to finish. I admire your attitude and know you are being guided.
    The Voice to Text feature is on most smart phones. Next, you'll clean up the text. Joan Penn dictates on her Smart Phone while she is walking. I'll reach out to her if that would help you decide.
    Also, consider Dragon Home version. It only works on PCs and expensive. Costs about $200 USD. More info, here:
    https://www.nuance.com/dragon.html
    Thank you for co-hosting today. You are inspiration to me and others.
    Lynn La Vita @ http://la-vita.us/

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  8. Ken - you have amazing tenacity and resilience. I wish I could wrap you up in a healing sort of hug (a friend of mine is a nurse and gives the best healing hugs in the world, so I am wishing you one of her hugs) or whatever you need to heal completely. Thankfulness is a gift.
    I agree with Lynn on the recommendations for Nuance Dragon - which I think used to be called Dragon Naturally Speaking. It is expensive and there are different versions, but it works well.
    Praying for your health and your writing.

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  9. So many things to be thankful for. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this diagnosis. I hope the chemo and radiation do their jobs. I'll be sending healing vibes your way.
    For dictation, I use the feature on my Mac. It's not perfect, but it's not bad either. I hear the Word feature works well too.

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  10. Happy to know you have such a wonderful support group with your family and author friends. I am inspired by your attitude. Yes, you do have to grind out some more stories. Oh, the pressure on you to git 'er dun! I will keep you in my prayers. Hugs. Oh, and you're co-hosting too tapping out your visits with one hand. You are amazing!

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  11. Have to say the diagnosis sucks, but I'm glad you've got support and you're still able to continue your pursuit. I'm looking forward to reading all your stories, and I hope all you go through works to see you come out healed on the other side.

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  12. I'm so glad you are surrounded by family and friends. I'll be praying every day for you, Ken. Always. You are the best, sir!

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  13. My Apple Computer has speech-text built it, as well as the reverse, which I use to read the prose I've written. Prayers for you, your family, friends, and your physicians... Hugs and God bless you as you keep on truckin'

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  14. I'm so sorry for your health problems. It is not easy to be upbeat in this condition, but it is wonderful you have such a supportive family. Don't give up hope. Human body is still mostly unknown to the medical people. Sometimes, miracles happen. Happy holidays to you.

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  15. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you, Ken. I believe the support you are surrounded with is a reflection of the support you give to others. Thank you for taking the time to cohost today.

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  16. Thoughts and prayers your way, Ken. You are such an inspiration! I highly recommend voice-to-text or dictation apps. Thank you for co-hosting.

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  17. Ken, I am so terribly sorry. You just keep fighting. Yes, there is software - I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and it works really well.

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  18. Damn, that's some seriously rotten news. Best of luck to you in the battle, and may the writing happen while you can. Thanks for being a co-host even at this difficult time. A friend of mine uses voice to text, but it sounds like it then creates a huge editing problem.

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  19. Sorry about your diagnosis. With family support and your determination I’m sure you’ll make your writer's dreams come true. Apple/Siri Windows 10 and Google Docs have free speech to text software. Here’s a link listing the best speech to text software. As well their pros and cons.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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    1. https://becomeawritertoday.com/speech-to-text/

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  20. I'm sorry to hear of the huge obstacles you're facing.
    I don't use dictation software because I'm a mute. However, I know Samsung phones have a microphone option on the keyboard, and it can be used in Google Docs and such. (I've seen a friend use it to email herself notes.) The drawback is that Google doesn't always know exactly what you meant to say, so there will still be some swigged lines. But maybe it'll be faster?

    Hope your IWSG day is inspiring.
    “The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
    I wish you a merry holiday ⛄ season, and a New Year full of peace, joy, and creativity.

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  21. Sorry to hear the Big C has caught up with you. Fighting it is definitely the preferred option, according to all my friends, many of whom are still here, ten years later. Some aren't, but they sdid wondrous things in their last few months. Yes check out dictation softaware, but know you'll have to check it as diligently as you check your typos until it's started to understand you. I know Tori Zigler uses it, but then she also has reading software, and maybe it's specialist adapted for her.
    All the best. Can we call you Chemo Ken from now on? And thanks for co-hosting today. :)

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  22. Oh, Ken, I'm so sorry. I hope you beat the odds and are able to find peace and joy in the process. I also hope you're able to figure out how to keep writing in spite of the challenges--as long as it brings you joy. Take good care.

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  23. Hi Ken, so sorry to hear about your struggles. As one who has had health issues rob her of productivity time, I understand completely.

    I love dictation software. Dragon is by far the best dictation software but there are other options out there. In my experience the cheaper the software the more you have to train yourself rather than the software adapting to you.

    Wishing you all the best!

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  24. Good on you for pushing forward even when the struggle has extra obstacles. I hope you beat the odds. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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  25. I have a lot of respect for you pushing forward and reaching for your goals. I hope you achieve everything you want to achieve.

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  26. I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but your attitude is awe-inspiring. I love that you have kept writing! I have a few writer friends that cannot type and they use Dragon (as already mentioned by others here). Keep fighting and have a very happy holiday season.

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  27. I lost one of my dearest friends to cancer a few years ago. She was a writer, too. You and I only know each other over the Internet, of course, but it really upsets me to think I may lose another writer friend this way. Keep writing as best you can, but your health must come first.

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  28. Oh, wow, Ken. I'm so sorry you are going through this. A coworker of mine is going through the same thing with her husband.

    I think certain versions of Microsoft Word have a voice-to-text feature. You might try that before investing in expensive software.

    Hugs, my friend. If you need to vent, I'm here.

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  29. Ken, I'm sorry to read about your health challenges. I do love your attitude and hope that you keep on pushing forward. I'm sending a boost of positive energy your way and I'm cheering for you. It doesn't matter how fast/slow you write - just keep going... to the best of your ability!

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  30. Just seeing this post now. I'm so sorry about your diagnosis. I know your determination and love of writing will see you through and help you meet your goals! Slow and steady.

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