Writing · Writing advice


Many people bemoaned the year of 2016 as it came to a close and it was
certainly an eventful year full of twists, turns and shocks. Great Britain
democratically voted to leave the European Union. Donald Trump was elected
to be the next president of the United States of America. There were
numerous deaths in the ranks of celebrity, probably no more than any other
year but seemingly more notable as they were icons of the generation across
the worlds of music, film and literature.

While the events occurring in our country and around the world would under
normal circumstances spur me to write, personally 2016 was a particularly
rough year and the very opposite happened. I clammed up.

For several months at the back end of 2015 going into 2016, I had been at my
most prolific. It still was not to the level of my peers (or rather those I
aspire to be my peers) but for me it was a lot and it was good.

Then the first big thing of the year happened and **** was gone. Something I
had come to care about the most in a relatively short space of time (at the
expense and sacrifice of things I had felt had become less important) had
ended as unexpectedly and suddenly as it had begun. That consumed me for a
while as I tried to fix what was unfixable.
After several long months, as I had just begun to accept it and get over it,
**** contacted me out of the blue asking for my help. I ran to her right
away, without even giving it a

second thought. She needed me so I was there for her. Then after a difficult
couple of months for her she didn’t need me anymore, I guess, and I’ve not
heard from her since. She was gone again, only this time she’s not living
just down the road. She was gone gone.

Around this time, while I still didn’t actually realise she was doing “The
Fadeaway” (thank you Garfunkel & Oates) the second thing was in progress. My
grandmother became very ill and then passed away. Tensions were high in the
family and it was a lot harder to deal with than I was expecting. Oh and my
email was hacked/compromised which was a mere inconvenience in the grand
scheme of things but at the time just added to the stress and anxiety I was
experiencing, and the person I needed to be up until 4am with talking to
about it all was just not responding.

A week after Grandma’s funeral the third, and currently on-going, thing
occurred. I woke up on Tuesday morning to discover I had a very painful lump
protruding from the right side of my groin. Two days later and after a visit
to the GP I was diagnosed with a suspected hernia. Five weeks later I had an
ultrasound to confirm it and six weeks after that a letter from the GP to
make an appointment to discuss my options.

I didn’t get an image of the ultrasound which would have been great to stick
here to break up the text a bit.

This week I have an outpatient referral booked at the hospital with a
surgeon to discuss the operation to repair the hernia, which will hopefully
not be too far away and brings me to this blog and the dusty keyboard I have
been away from for so long. It’s not a secret to those around me that the
events of the last year (in particular things with ****) stopped me from
writing and that I found my enthusiasm for things I loved and enjoyed had
gone. In addition having to be careful physically with the hernia, I’ve been
putting on weight and as a result feel in poor health.

I will potentially have a couple of weeks off work at home recuperating and
not being able to actually do much aside from sitting still. So I will be
writing this blog while I am recovering in the hope it will kick-start the
creative spark that has been lying dormant for the best part of the year.

I’m using the operation as my starting point, drawing a line under the
events of the last year and getting into the mindset I had at the tail end
of 2014. Reading my blog entries on the Storyslingers page from 2015 shows
how focused I was then, and that’s what I want back.

Even in writing this, I can feel it there still.

Time to do this.


2 thoughts on “AFK

  1. Awesome Blog! So open and honest Stephen! I think we all needed to hear the big get it into gear thing ever now and twice a day! (Haha) Wishing you all the best with a speedy (bunch of writing) recovery! Just so you know, if this blog was any indication of what is to come as far as your writing then you are on the “write” track! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year Man!


  2. Every great superhero has a tragic past. This is yours. Embrace the epic protagonist that you are, Stephen, and remember that the eye of the tornado is also still…and the calm after the storm. That’s where the real magic lies…and will remain a part of you forever. xo


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