Tag Archives: cancer

A Poke in the Eye with a Sharp Stick

 by Debbie Nance

I did NOT have chemo this week. Yay!

I had so much more energy. Tuesday I started feeling a bit better. By Wednesday I ran errands, got gas in the car, stopped at the grocery store, did some editing for which I will get paid, and cooked a real dinner. I even updated the family photo frames so that my two youngest have photos that include all of their kids. Thursday, I finally caught things up to the present in my scrapbook/journal, which included putting in the Christmas cards from last December. Both days, I worked on projects for WIFYR, wrote and answered email, read and commented on blogs, and worked on my lesson for the Primary kids on Sunday. It’s been a great week!

I didn’t tell you what happened on Monday in place of chemo.

I may have mentioned before that I have macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that causes loss of sight. Every six weeks, I go to my eye doctor to receive an injection –yes, in fact, “a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” that keeps me from losing my sight. So that is what I did on Monday.

What does this have to do with writing?

Long ago, I read a friend’s PB manuscript where she described a girl who, each day woke up, got out of bed, got dressed, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast, and I don’t know what else. The story didn’t keep my interest. When everything goes well with our characters, there isn’t much tension. Not much plot. It is when our characters have obstacles to overcome or tasks that stretch them to their limits that our plots become interesting.

You’ve probably heard the saying that writing is like a Three Act Play. In the first act, you get your character up a tree; in the second act, you throw rocks at them; and in the third act, you get them down and safe.

Monday and Tuesday were when I personally got stuck in one of my trees and had rocks thrown. Wednesday and Thursday are when I got down and enjoyed things.

Which part of my week was most interesting to you? (My hubby has an eye injection on video if you ever want to get grossed out. Just let me know, and I’ll forward it to you.)

Write a scene where your M/C gets into some kind of trouble. Throw a few metaphorical rocks. Where does it take you? What do you think? If there isn’t enough tension or movement, throw a few more rocks or give her a poke. I promise it will liven up your story.

Leave a comment

Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot

Track Record – by Debbie Nance

Some of you know that my cancer is no longer in remission.

Ah well. I’ve come to look at it as a chronic disease like Diabetes or Crohns or any number of other diseases. I caught on to the symptoms earlier this time so hopefully the chemotherapy will work quicker. The biggest side effect this go round is fatigue.

Yesterday was supposed to be my low point for blood counts with regards to my current chemo cycle. And it felt like it. Even though I got 9 hours of sleep, not quite uninterrupted, I woke up with no energy.

Tuesday had been a good day after a good night’s rest, a solid 9 hours. (I didn’t know I could sleep that long.) And Wednesday was a good day for me with lots of energy. I wrote an article for a work-for-hire. I emailed people. I worked on some critiques for our upcoming WIFYR novel class http://www.wifyr.com/.  I did a very small amount of housework, ran an errand, and cooked dinner. Several of my grandkids visited me with their parents. I held and snuggled babies/toddlers, and admired and listened to their just-older-siblings. And I went to bed early.

But Thursday the sleep didn’t matter. So it was a day to rest.

I understand that everyone has some thing, some obstacle(s), in their life that keeps them from doing all they want. Be it a lack of time, money, sleep, energy, support, health, or the opposite an abundance of children, work, chores, distractions, duties, activities, or a combination of all of those things.

But some people seem to be successful anyway. Take for instance, the writer I know who had a bunch of little kids and used her laptop and wrote and published books amongst the chaos. Or another writer I know who, with a busy family and a disease that makes it hard to type, keeps on going no matter what.

What do you do to keep yourself going on hard days? Maybe we should compile a list and if one thing doesn’t work, move down to the next. Or print them on strips and put them in a jar and pull them out one at time in random order.

Watch TV.

Eat Chocolate.


Drink Green Smoothies.

Call or Text Friends.

Crank Up the Tunes and Dance.

Browse FB or Pinterest.

Power through.


I saw this post on FB, which might be of help:  “On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% . . . and that’s pretty good” – Author Unknown.

Leave a comment

Filed under CLW