This past week I gave myself a day where I did no writing or reading unless I really wanted to and not out of a sense of obligation either. Part of the reason for this was because I was tired and needed a break, another reason was my eyes.
You see I’m short sighted and need pretty decent glasses to function in the world and have done since I was eight. But this time was different, for one I couldn’t read, write or drive for long without giving myself a headache and for another I got stronger lenses only six months ago. I was quietly terrified, I didn’t want to find out that my eyes had deteriorated significantly in such a short amount of time. Eventually though, the headaches got too much and I went to the optometrist.
Enter a nervous half hour of testing as I realised my eyes were bad. Even with my glasses on I had trouble reading the letters and the dots may as well have been one for all the distinction I was seeing at certain times. Then came the result. My eyes had deteriorated but only slightly, however my stigmatism in my left eye had changed significantly. This meant that my glasses were no longer giving me the proper focus and my eye was constantly fighting to do it ‘right’. Hence the massive headaches whenever I had to really focus on something. It’s an easy fix and I already have the new lenses.
At the time I could have cried, both from the expense of new lenses and because my eyes aren’t as bad as I thought. You see I have this fear that one day my eyes will get so bad I’ll be legally blind. I’m already classed as such if I have no visual aid so it’s not hard for me to imagine a world where I can’t see much. But I learnt a few things through this.
One, fear makes things appear really bad, it’s much better to face it head on and just deal. Second, people had no idea what was going on. You can see that I have glasses, but not many understand how much I can/can’t see and this got me thinking about how true this must be for other people. That got me thinking about my characters and how they it’s the same for them. Which sent me off on an editing angle I hadn’t thought about seriously: who knows what information and why do they know it.
There’s the obvious of a character not knowing because they were not there etc. but then I thought about things like why one of my characters flips a knife when agitated, why another resisted love at first and why another refuses to show emotion. Some of these I already knew the answer to, but I went more in depth, really getting down to why my characters are the way they are (yes I know I created them, but sometimes I don’t understand them, it’s the writer’s paradox). And it really has made editing easier.
I wish I hadn’t had to get new lenses to have this realisation, but I am grateful for it and I hope you get something out of it as well. If you have had any insights like this, let me know in the comments. The sharing of knowledge is fantastic and you never know who it might help.
Have an awesome and creative week everyone 🙂