Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guest Post: Disabled Writer Writes - Living with Post Concussion Syndrome by Chris Votey

These days I have a lot of time dedicated towards my craft. When I'm not writing, I am marketing, and when I'm not writing or marketing, I am exploring the community. Sounds ideal, almost like I'm a full-time writer.

However, this luxury given to me is because of my disability. In retrospect, it is not so much a luxury as it is a curse. I suffer from a condition known as Post Concussion Syndrome. To sum it up, it is a condition that affects how my mind functions. I have memory issues, light and noise sensitivity, focus and concentration issues, mood swings, and getting overstimulated when in public or new environments.

Most of my life is spent in my home, namely in my room. Whether it is writing a few words or doing a chore, I easily get overwhelmed. In light of my disability, I've had to learn how to cope with my disability to be a writer. Doing so, I have released one book so far being disabled and has had good reviews.

First and foremost, I feel bad, and I always will feel bad. If I stop doing something because I feel bad, I would be locked away in a dark room doing nothing. I don't want that. So even when I feel bad while I do something, I must push through it to accomplish something.

One of the key things I do is take breaks... often. When it comes to writing, I can give a good hour of writing and churn out 1000 words. Then I take a short break. Do another hour, take a longer break. Do another hour, take a much longer break.

As I work over a long period, the effects are cumulative. Taking breaks is like taking a quick breather after running a mile, and then running another mile. After each mile, you need a longer and longer break, but eventually your body wants to quit. There is only so much you can take.

Then the next day comes, and all your muscles are sore. You don't want to move; you don't want to do anything. That is what it is like for me. A long day of doing any activity (especially writing), and the next day I don't feel like doing anything. I can push myself to write, but it will be limited and I should take a break.

One thing I can do before I write (or do anything that overwhelms my brain) is to drink an Energy Drink. As bad for my body as it is, it does supercharge my mind. When it comes to writing, I can write for two hours straight and quicker to recover. It lasts about 2 - 5 hours. I can get a lot of writing done. I still feel bad the next day, but not as bad.

Another issue I must deal with is memory. I can forget conversations I have as quickly as a week, and sometimes as much as a day. This is also true for ideas. I might have a really great idea, and then forget it later. Sometimes I know I had an idea, but don't know what the idea itself was.

I employ two tools to help me deal with my memory. The first is Dropbox. Dropbox is an online storage system. Thankfully it is free. With it, I can keep my ideas for everything there. Once I have an idea, I generally open up notepad, write the idea down, and then save it in its appropriate folder.

Dropbox stats for my writing:

Total Size: 2.06 GB
Total Files: 1662
Total Folders: 185

I keep track of a lot of things. For my next series, Daygar Legacy, the stats for that is:

Total Size: 350 MB
Total Files: 360
Total Folders: 31

I also generate a lot of ideas for other stories. Even when working on Daygar Legacy, I still get ideas that would make good stories or make good characters. So I have a folder for all of those potential stories ready to be written, totaling 25. Often times I come in looking for a story and surprised by some ideas I come up with, completely forgetting that I came up with it.

Now with the Daygar Legacy, 360 files is a lot to keep track of. So I am using a new tool to keep track of my notes, MediaWiki. It is the same software used for Wikipedia. I put it on my hosting account and set it up that only I can log into it.

The great thing about a Wiki is that it is easy to customize as it requires no programming knowledge. I can then type in an article based on a file I have, and then link words to other articles. At first those links go nowhere, but I can then put in notes for those words. As I put more and more files in them, the more things link together, so when I get notes on a subject; it can link to other notes, and I can build a more complete picture about an idea.

As of now, I have 133 pages on my wiki.

Another thing I do to help with my writing is I create articles based on resources I find online and pin them to my wall. For instance, my first book features five characters, and I have their information posted to my wall. Rather than having to open their file and keep my eyes on my computer, I can look at the wall.

I also have descriptive tags, examples of transitions, phrases to avoid in writing, adverbs divided by category, and Face descriptions. I am always adding more, and sometimes having it on the wall makes a better resource than having a file on a computer screen.

Despite these workarounds I've created, writing is still a hard task for me. In the end, it is my passion that moves me forward. Since a young age, I wanted to be a writer. Only in the last few years did I feel I was truly ready to become one, and my accident delayed that.

What convinced me to try again after my accident was NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days, and I did it in 14. I shocked myself, but I knew that if I could do that, then with a little hard work, I could become an author again. And I was right, when I released Terran Psychosis.

However, I have been denied for disability a few times and the chances of me getting it are slim as my disability is related to my brain. I am hoping that through my career in writing, I can make an income so I can find a doctor to help me and have some resemblance of a normal life.

That is what my Kickstarter is all about. To help give me a nudge forward, to start with my best foot forward and have high-quality books. With Terran Psychosis, many have complained about the grammar and cover design, even though they remarked what a great story it was. Some have helped me here and there since then, but I cannot always rely on free help.

I have had my disability for over two years, and the chances are, that I will have this for the rest of my life. I wish tomorrow I could wake up and be 100%. I would have to start over, but at least I would have it in my power to make something of my life, to get a job, to get money, and to get my freedom once more.

Whether or not my Kickstarter campaign is successful, I will still try to write my stories and sell them. I just hope that I do get my goal, so that I can really give people their monies worth.

About the Author:

Christopher D. Votey was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1980, first son of Steve Votey and Jolene Knight (née Nichols). He is a college graduate in Computer Science at Collins College in Tempe, Arizona and has worked in the computer field for 10 years. After a debilitating work injury, Chris decided to take up writing, producing 2 books.

Chris currently lives in Mesa, Arizona appealing Social Security Disability and working to recover from his condition of Post Concussion Syndrome to return back to a normal life.
Author Links
Website  *  Blog  *  Goodreads  *  Twitter  *  Facebook

Due to my disability, I am unable to hold a job. It makes life extremely difficult, but I find great hope in writing. I can honestly say that it has saved my life and prevented me from doing things that would be regrettable.

As a career, writing allows me to work at my own pace and set my own sechedule. For that, I am doing a Kickstarter campaign to try to release my upcoming series, Daygar Legacy. I want a chance at happiness with my limitations and I know I can give something to the writing community and readers. I want the chance to prove it. Please check out my campaign and if you can donate, it will be greatly appreciated, and whether you do or not, please share my campaign with your friends and family.

Terran Psychosis (Cosmic Revolt Series Book 1)
By Chris Votey
Publisher: Chris Votey Publishing
Published: February 14, 2014
ASIN: February 14, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

A man who thinks he is an alien finds himself in a mental institution. He has been visited by many doctors, but none of them were able to help him. The hospital has brought in a specialist to try to get some answers. This specialist is the top of his field and he may be able to unlock the secrets of the patient and be able to answer: Is he an alien, or simply a man seeking attention.

Book Links

No comments :

Post a Comment