Spotlight on Writing

I’m not going to lie. Writing has been ridiculously hard work these last few weeks. Just when I thought I was beginning to get the hang of it, and getting to know the characters I’m writing, bam!  We dump the protagonist in a whole new setting, and in a literally impossible situation that I have to somehow find the words for, and make it seem natural and believable.

So far, it feels like I’ve fought for every single word. I sent the last chapter off to Ashley, and I wasn’t really certain whether it was any good or not—by then I had lost all perspective. I simply knew that I had done my best. Ashley fortunately assured me that it actually wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was, and with some edits (which we will do later on down the line) it will be more than half-decent.

When the way is dark, all you can do is your best. Picture of some spooky trees lining a path

This is what I love about being a co-writer. On those days when I experience crippling self-doubt, there’s someone there to tell me the honest truth of whether I’ve done any good. Ashley and I never lie to each other—I know I can trust her to tell me exactly what she thinks. But we never pull each other down, either. We give each other honest and specific feedback of the pieces that need to be improved, and praise each other on the parts well written.

And though we always talk through the important things, so often we think along the same lines that we’ve been fortunate enough not to have any major disagreements over our work. It struck me after looking over our last attempt at starting this book, that we could have taken the easy way out when we were planning it and adapted the material we already had (we wrote about ten chapters in an earlier version). But instinctively, I think both of us knew that we’d be starting it fresh. We never discussed it, but it was definitely the right choice, despite our struggles and self-doubt. When I look at the 15,000 odd words we’ve completed so far, it feels right. It’s still raw and it still needs work. But it’s our best, and that’s what matters.

Personal Update

The other arena where I continue to try my hardest is in my nursing studies. I have finally finished all the education requirements that the College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) have set for me, and so obviously I’m excited about the next steps, which is hopefully being granted a temporary permit and being allowed to sit the registration exam. But don’t be too quick to celebrate. I’m going to preface this by saying, I don’t mind jumping through hoops. But these hoops have been squashed into mangled ovals that even the most adept person would struggle to get through.

This was my day on Tuesday:

  1. I contact my university to ask them to send CARNA confirmation of my completed courses.
  2. University contacts me and says do it yourself.
  3. I contact the university saying, fine, I’ll try to do it myself but don’t be surprised when CARNA starts moaning about how it needs to come directly from you.
  4. I contact CARNA. It has now been so long that the person’s email I used to contact no longer exists. So, I contact a more generic email, with instructions to forward to an appropriate person.
  5. I then decide I should be prepared in case CARNA want me to send them a certified copy of my transcript, so I look at the ‘unofficial’ transcript on my university log-on to check it’s correct before ordering an official one.
  6. Despite the transcript being a legal requirement for the university to uphold, they’ve managed to screw that up, too. They haven’t yet logged my most recent course (which is somewhat expected). But, they have also entirely missed off a course I took more than a year ago, because they haven’t changed the course from ‘active’ (even though it was a one-day ‘lab’ course I did in May 2019), so the computer system doesn’t recognize that it needs to be transferred to my transcript. Considering other issues I’ve had with the university, this shouldn’t be surprising.

At this point, I cried.

Sometimes despite doing your best, it feels like the whole world is trying to drag you back, like in monopoly. Go straight to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

I should mention that I need to have clocked at least 400 hours of clinical practice by September, or they can legally ask me to complete another two-year course to ensure my hours are ‘up-to-date’. So, the clock is ticking. To make matters even more stressful, CARNA is notoriously slow at responding, so I have no idea when they’ll actually get back to me about the appropriate way to provide them with my education details.

It’s not the first low point I’ve experienced on this journey, and it probably won’t be the last. But I continue to give it my all, because I’ve come this far, and I never give up. I’ll sort it out, because that’s what I do. I just keep giving my best, and as my mum once told me, no one can ask for more than that.

~ S

P.S. CARNA did helpfully get back to me, and I have sort of solved my issues. I have a plan. So, I’m a little more positive as this post goes out. But, to cheer you up after this heavy post, here’s a picture of the snowman Dan received as a gift. I don’t think the people who gave him it realized, but the snowman looks like he’s rudely giving the world the fingers, and 100% made my day when Dan brought it home. Merry Christmas, f***ers!

Was doing my best, and feeling down. But this soft-toy snowman who looks like he's giving the fingers to the world really cheered me up.