When Your Muse Skips a Date

My muse and I had a date. I planned my work/vacation time so I had a four day weekend. Perfect for writing, right? Given I’m behind on my WIP, I was jazzed to pull off such a coup. Mr. E. knew when and where he was to show up. If you’re not sure who Mr. E. is, you may want to check out book two of my Point Pleasent series,Β A Cold Tomorrow.

In the meantime, let’s check out how things went wrong. 😦

Plans for day one (Thursday) of my four-day writing schedule:
Several hours of writing in the morning.
Run errands.
Immunization shot at pharmacy.
Lunch with hubby.
Writing in evening.

What went wrong:
Overslept and got a late start. Part of this is the fault of my cat, Raven, who likes to curl up in bed with me. Seriously, who could resist a cute, sleepy ball of fluff in snuggle mode? Here’s a shot of what she looks like when she’s pouring on the power-cute.

Cute black cat curled up on rug looking at camera

Errands got a late start and instead of writing, I caught up with email. After I finished with errands I headed to my local pharmacy for the second half of a two-part shingles immunization shot. Have you guys heard about this thing? It’s for anyone over fiftyβ€”an uber precaution against getting shingles. The shot comes in two parts, You get part one (shot), then somewhere between two and six months later you get the second shot.

The day I got the first shot, I had also gotten a tetanus shot and had a bad reaction (chills, muscle aches, slight fever). I thought that was from the tetanus, but NOOOOO!

Thursday afternoon I got the second shot and by the evening I was a mess. Fever, extreme chills, body aches off the scale, headache, nauseaβ€”not to mention my arm felt like I’d never be able to lift it again. I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and was shaking so bad from chills, I spilled water all over the place. Not a good night. The next morning, I checked out the side effects on the handout they give you, and I had every one of them.

Joy! I know countless people (including my husband) who have gotten this series of shots without any side effects. Leave it to me. Needless to say, no writing got done.

Plans for day two (Friday) of my planned four-day writing schedule:
A few hours writing at a coffee cafe.
Meet with friend at the library regarding plans for a 2019 trip to Maine.
Get together with my niece and SIL (spur-of-the moment, planned Thursday morning).
Afternoon and evening writing,

What went wrong:
Couldn’t sleep because of a miserable night with side effects from the shingles shot.
Up early and went to the coffee cafe but spent my time catching up on email and blog visits.
Enjoyed time with my niece and SIL, but was dragging from lack of sleep. Still feeling horrible from side effects of shot.
Came home, zonked on the couch and went to bed by seven PM.
No writing.

Saturday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Starting to feel betterβ€”not 100% but enough to feel well enough to do laundry and make a huge pot of New England Clam Chowder.
My den looks like a cyclone hit it (thanks to the recent author presentation I did for a historical society) so I decide to clean it up into order to get to my desk.
That involves cleaning out my closetβ€”which involves sorting through boxes of family photos to give to my nephew (don’t ask).
The entire day vanishes.
Evening out with my family, something that popped up at the last minute. My brother bought one of those drive-able RVs and he and his wife drove it up for everyone to see. A bunch of us ended up going out for dinner.
No writing.

Sunday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Now fully recovered from the shot. YAY!
Back to the den to finish the cleaning project I started yesterday.
Caught up on my author record keeping (expenses, royalties, inventory, banking).
Caught up with email and blog visits again. No writing,

Four whole days without a single hour at my day job and I didn’t manage a single minute of writing. My friend, Craig Boyack, recently experienced something similar, so I know I’m not the only one who experiences plans that go haywire. Still, as much as I enjoyed time with my niece, sister-in-law, and family, it was frustrating not to manage even a few thousand words of writing. On the plus side, I’ve got a second chance. I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off and hope to hammer out major word count. I may not be as visible that week online, so if I miss a few posts I hope you’ll forgive me. My deadline is looming and the last few days have set it back another notch thanks to a dreadful shot and an absent muse!

I’m hoping your week (and week ahead) was/is much more productiveβ€”and that if you opt for the Shingrix immunization you’re like my DH and the bulk of people who don’t experience the debilitating side effects I did!

71 thoughts on “When Your Muse Skips a Date

  1. Sorry about the shot side effects. I’d be one to react like that too. I’ve had times when all my good writing intentions fell through. I did not have a productive week either, but I have no idea why:) Glad you are feeling better and how can one not be distracted by a cute kitty?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Raven distracts me every time, Denise πŸ™‚
      Sorry to hear your week wasn’t productive either. I guess we all have them, but it is so frustrating. I keep telling myself “next time.”
      And yeah, I’m always the one who gets the “weird reactions.” At least I won’t have to do this shot again next year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As for the cat snuggle, I know what you mean. I used to get so mad at Lee, my husband, because when he woke me up to get ready for work, he’d put our dog in to snuggle with me which made it twice as hard to get up. I’m not easy to get up anyway.

    I retired the end of July, 3 months retired now and I can’t seem to get anything done. Time seems to go faster when there’s not a day job to go to. Now, Lee, is a wonderful husband. He still does the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. He’s an artist so he doesn’t have an outside job either.

    I don’t go anywhere. So, I have no excuse really. Lately, I have lacked inspiration.

    Everything just seems to take up time and leaves me with little writing time. Procrastination is a fierce enemy for me too. I love television which is my main enemy. I spend too much time promoting my published books and keeping records. Before I know it hours are gone. When I was younger, I could clean, cook, shop, and find time to write.

    I did join a writers’ group recently that has helped inspire me to write. Just talking about our books, brainstorming, etc, helps.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kim, I haven’t retired, but I did cut my work week to 4 days last June. The intent was to devote the extra day to writing, but I keep filling it with other things. Plus my husband is retired (though he works part time) and with both of us home in the afternoon there is always something to do. I can so relate to what yo said!

      Lee sounds like a great husband to do all those wonderful things—although you might have to talk to him about your dog, LOL.

      I hope the writing group inspires you. Just networking with other authors and talking about writing always motivates me. Happy writing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane, the one thing I DIDN’T get was a welt! I’m fortunate that I don’t have a reaction to the flu shot, especially since those come every year.

      Hoping all is well with you and John. Great to see you hop on and comment! πŸ™‚

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  3. Oh gosh, you poor thing. Well, now you have a clean den, you don’t have to worry about getting any painful shingles attacks, you’ve finally passed along those old photos to the nephew, and you have good memories of visiting with your niece, sister-in-law, and brother.

    May this week be a productive, fun writing week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the way you think, Priscilla! All the work, visits (fun though they were) and immunization related woes are behind me. Fingers crossed I add words to paper this week!
      Thanks! πŸ™‚

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  4. Raven is really talented in the power-cute area – I just want to snuggle with her! Sorry your weekend didn’t go as planned, but you still accomplished some things and had family time. Thanksgiving week will be productive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teri, with the weather cooling down Raven is now becoming a lap creature again. And she knows how to use that power-cute to best advantage πŸ˜‰

      Despite the setback from the shot, you’re right in that I did get a lot accomplished and I had a lot of fun with family. When Thanksgiving week rolls around, I’m going to haul out the writing mojo—at least for the first three days!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Mae. I’m so sorry to hear about the side effects. I’m glad you’re over it.

    The best-laid plans often go off the rails. You (and Craig) aren’t the only ones, as you well know from listening to me lament my setbacks. I know you’ll have a productive week next week. Cheering you on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, shoot! (no pun intended). My hubs and I got the first shingle shot, but the consensus is that it’s not very effective. We’ve been meaning to get the new ones. What a bummer that yours made you so miserable. Sorry you lost so much writing time. I know it’s a scarce commodity. Hope your muse shows up with flowers and candy for your week off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My sister and her husband got the first one too, but want to get the new 2-shot immunization because of its effectiveness. I don’t know anyone other than me who had the kind of reaction I did. You’ll probably both be fine.I never counted on it to rob me of so much writing time, that’s for sure.
      And, yes, I think Mr. E. should arrive with a huge bouquet or roses and delicious dark chocolate–that magically has zero calories! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do think it’s only if you had chicken pox. I actually can’t remember if I did, but I know several people who had shingles and didn’t want to risk it. One of them had to be hospitalized. Also once you get shingles, it can keep coming back, so I opted for the shot. I’m probably one of the few people to get side effects.
      Just my luck πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for the hugs and Thanksgiving wishes. I’ll take them both! {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! What a rollercoaster ride, Mae. So sorry that you had such horrible side effects from the vaccine. On the good side, maybe you’ll never get Shingles. πŸ™‚ All you can do is take a deep breath and plow through. Don’t worry. It happens to all of us. Happy Early Thanksgiving and hope all your writing plans happen. Hugs!

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    • Thanks, Jan! And honestly, i’ll take the side effects I had over getting Shingles any day! Now I’m in deep breath and plowing through mode πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for all the well wishes! {hugs}

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    • I feel the exact same way, Stanalei–as bad as the side effects were, I’d rather have them then Shingles. shudder
      Thanks for the writing wishes. It’s great to have you pop in. Here’s hoping you breeze through your shot with zero side effects!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Mae,
    Even with all the side effects, when you get to be my age, you will appreciate that you did. For seniors, shingles are horrible (it’s horrible at any age). If you have a chronic inflammatory disease, you are at further risk. So you did the right thing.
    I’ll trade cats with you. Mine wakes me every morning at 6:30 for a belly rub. And if I don’t get up by 8:00 for his morning treats, I listen to his mouth until I do.
    I use to understand lost days when I was still working. Now that I’m retired one day melt into the next. However, I do understand interruptions to plans (best-laid plans….) 😎HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I had to do the shot over again to avoid getting shingles, I’d still do it, Chuck. I definitely agree that the virus is far worse!

      Oh, your cat sounds adorable—even if he is a persistent guy. Felines have a reputation for wanting what they want on their time schedule. We’re just servants, LOL.

      I’m looking forward to retirement (still years away) when one day melts into the next. Lucky yuo! πŸ™‚ {hugs}

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  9. So sorry to hear about your side effects, MC. Maybe it’s whatever the adjuvent (carrier) of the vaccine is. I know about disappearing days! Welcome to the club! When do you plan to visit Maine?
    If you go in early October – perfect for leaf color – I’ll be at the Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest (a huge lot of fun) to sign books…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Disappearing days seems to be as infectious as shingles, LOL!
      For Maine it looks like we’ll be there the third or fourth week of September. Looks like I’ll miss the Pumpkin Fest but I’m looking forward to Maine lobster πŸ™‚

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  10. I’m glad to know you are feeling better. My doctor asked me about the shingles vaccine during my last visit. The hospital was out at the time but I’m sure she’ll mention it again. I had a reaction from an MMR vaccine a few years back. Wasn’t confirmed by the doctor but all the symptoms I had were listed as side effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard everyone is running low on the vaccine. Even in my area, family members haven’t been able to get it. My husband and I were fortunate to get the first dose at the very beginning.
      Fingers crossed when you do get the shot, you don’t have a reaction like you did with the MMR, Joan!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, man, that really sucks. And it wasn’t like you got the flu through no fault of your own. And to miss the writing time … On the bright side, though, you got to catch up with family. And clean the den! Raven sure has some power-cute going! Zoey’s become more of a lap cat as well now that the weather is getting colder.

    Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And now that I have a clean den and a snuggly cat, I’m ready to tackle writing this weekend πŸ™‚

      I love how cats turn into clingy furballs when the weather gets chilly. I know Zoey must have some serious power-cute going on too!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My goodness, Mae, that sounds like a really horrible reaction to the shot. I am glad you got tetanus though, after my research. I hope you have better luck this weekend. I don’t know why but I thought you wrote full time and didn’t work. Clearly no such luck for you.

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    • Robbie, I would love to write full time but that is still several years away. In the meantime, I balance my day career with the writing life. As you know, a challenge.
      And yes, I’m glad I got the shots, reactions and all!

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  13. Oh goodness… that’s a nasty reaction indeed. Glad you’re feeling better now. Wishing you a fun, productive week of writing. πŸ™‚ I’m in catch-up mode again. Yikes! But cheers for good intentions. lol.

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    • Aww, thanks for that. It as a rough couple of days but I am back to 100% now and focused on writing again. 3300 words in two days. Not much compared to what people crank out on NaNo, but I’ll take it. Thanks for the well wishes! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: When Your Muse Skips a Date β€” From the Pen of Mae Clair – Writer by the Sea

  15. Is the cure sometimes worse than the disease? I haven’t had any shingles shots and I might just allow myself to give them a miss! The kind of reaction you suffered would probably kill me! I can’t help but empathise with the chaos, although that’s the adjective that best describes my office/ airy nest/ sanctuary permanently. I often thank my stars I don’t have a dust allergy. Writing with intent? It never works out, does it? But the way you describe it is so entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Well, I’m glad there was some entertainment value in there at least. πŸ™‚
      I’m doing much better this week devoting time to the WIP. As for the Shingles shot, I’d do again to avoid the disease. A co-worker has it now–on her face–and she’s in misery!
      P.S. Glad to know I’m not alone in the chaos!

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  16. What a horrible experience! I well know how best laid plans can go right off the rails. I am sending you good vibes for your Thanksgiving writing intentions going the way you want. After all, fate must be kind to us sometimes. My son recently suffered from shingles. It’s incredibly painful and uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Flossie, I hope your son has recovered. I’ve heard how terribly painful Shingles can be, which is why I’d do the shot over again if I had too. The lesser of two evils!
      So far, I’ve done better with sticking to my writing plans. I’m going for good progress this week!

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  17. Got my first (new) shingles shot… My arm and shoulder muscles ached terribly for a week after, but I’m not complaining. I had a mild case of Shingles in 2008 (fortunately got a shot to counteract it in time). Still was in great pain for months after contracting a mild case. As for writing plans–seems a million little things are always trying to get in the way. I’ll just have to start ignoring most of them. Of course, Midnight is helping! πŸ™‚ Hugs to you and to your darling Raven too! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh, I’m so sorry that your writing plans were such a bust, Mae. There really wasn’t anything you could do about the reaction to the shot. Just bad timing and bad luck. I’m sure that when you schedule your next writing binge, it will go much better. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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