How Chronic Illness Influences My Writing | Collab with Ava Jae

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The video contains captions for anyone who needs them, but I’ve also included a detailed transcript below. Feel free to watch the video, read the post, or both, it’s (almost exactly) the same information either way. Thanks for visiting! 

0000000-imagesToday’s video is a collaboration with Ava Jae, author of Beyond The Red and host of BookishPixie on YouTube.

We’re talking about Chronic Illness and how it influences our writing.

I have nuerofibromitosis, which causes painful migraines. It’s a lifelong condition and genetic. I’ve had it since birth.

I’ve mentioned my health several times before and today I’d like to talk about how I manage writing with my health issues.

The most crucial part of managing my health with writing is managing my time.

I deal with pretty much daily headaches. If I don’t plan to write, I might get a headache before I can get my words in and the day is pretty much shot.

I think my headaches have been a pretty big factor in transitioning from a panster to an plotter. When I was younger, I used to go headfirst into a story with no prior outlining, nothing but my idea and my characters. I find I write much better with an outline nowadays.

A lot of that has come with taking my writing more seriously.

I get very anxious about the quality of my work, so having a plan helps remind me that putting my time into this will create something good.

Having something to refer to helps me make the most of the time I have. Even if I’m not feeling one hundred percent, I can work on what I know right now and leave the rest for later.

I take advantage of every opportunity to write.

I’ve made a whole separate video on finding time to create. I will note something down whenever I have an idea, even if my head is killing me.

But I would say my health informs my writing on the page much more than it does in time management.

I’m not Lily, the headache girl. I’m Lily, the writer.

My condition informs my choices in many ways, but it does not define me. When I create a character, I think the sum of their parts. Who are they? What have they experienced? What do they know? What do they need to learn?

So if a character has limitations, if they are also disabled, I don’t consider curing them as a goal in my story. I can’t fix my condition. I live with it. I live well with it. My goals and dreams are not impossible.

No one is perfect. In fact, I’d say the best characters are far from it.

It’s our job as writers to have empathy.

I’d say my illness has helped me in that regard. I definitely know what it feels like to want and work hard for something you just can’t have, as well as how it feels to succeed despite many obstacles.

How do your experiences inform your writing? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to check out Ava’s video.

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