It is a great honour to welcome Talitha Kalago as a guest blogger to Writing Sagas. Here’s her take on making the most of your health, and the sacrifices she makes to embrace a writing life.
I am chronically ill. So chronically ill, that on a bad week I can’t cook for myself, clean the house or do my own shopping. I take 33+ pills a day and there is no cure—there is barely even a treatment. At the very best, my doctors hope to make me comfortable.
I am 28.
So please understand that when I say ‘I have to make big sacrifices for my writing’, I am not talking about holidays or settling for a cheaper car. My dream is to be able to support myself with my writing. And by support myself I mean ‘buy a house/afford a mortgage and pay my bills’. It’s not a small dream by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it’s a fair one. I don’t want a boat or a holiday apartment, though a veggie patch would be nice.
Wanting to feel like you are paying your own way is a big deal when you can’t even microwave some soup.
A lot of chronic illness sufferers are familiar with ‘spoon theory’, an idea presented by Christine Miserandino (www.butyoudontlooksick.com) which is that healthy people have an unlimited number of spoons each day, but sick people have only a few. Each task you perform each day, such as getting dressed or doing laundry, uses up a certain number. When you run out of spoons, you can’t do anything else that day—due to pain or exhaustion, depending on your illness.
Having a very limited number of spoons means that every day I have to make difficult choices about how to spend my time.
Do I want to do washing or write? Have a home cooked meal or edit a chapter? Going out with friends often tires me for days at a time, so even one outing a week would mean I never got to write. In order to work on my career, I am only social once a month or so.
However my literary success has been quite impressive, given the circumstances. It started with short stories and poems in anthologies, as most authors’ careers do. Then I signed an 8 book contract with Harlequin under a pen name. In May of 2013 I self published a YA novel and in the first month and a half over 2000 copies have been downloaded.
I am currently working on both my Harlequin contract and the next book in my YA series. Cheques are coming in slowly and they are still small. However they are coming. And they are paying small things like phone bills.
I have a long way to go before I reach my goals and it will be more difficult for me than most people. However the hope that I can achieve it gets me out of bed each morning. It makes me excited to start the day. And writing brings me joy—it has always brought me joy, even before I had my first story published.
Often, that hope and happiness is much more valuable to me than having clean dishes or clean clothes. Some nights I go to bed hungry because I am too tired to heat something up, but I am still pleased because I managed to write two thousand words that morning.
If you want a creative career you have to make sacrifices, and they will HURT. However if a creative career is right for you, they will be worthwhile. You might go to bed hungry, but you’ll go to bed happy all the same.
Born in 1985, Talitha Kalago lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She loves reading, video games, documentaries, horror movies and vegetable patches. She lives with an alarming collection of previously abandoned or unwanted animals that include dogs, cats, birds and snakes. She loves aquascaping and dedicates too much time to her numerous aquariums and aquatic invertebrates. You can visit her website here: http://www.traditionalevolution.com/
Talitha’s first young adult novel Lifesphere Inc: Acquisition tells the story of Eli, a thirteen year old orphan living in an immense garbage tip that rings the city. He sells trash to survive, while on the Topside, citizens live in hedonistic luxury. Eli dreams of obtaining citizenship by becoming a handler; bonded with a bio-organic life form called a meka. On the Topside, handlers are celebrities, pitting their skills in televised meka battles. But new legislation will only allow those with citizenship to become handlers and Eli can’t raise the money to buy a meka before the law is passed. A grifter named Kalex offers Eli a trade: meka of his own, if he competes in an illegal fight to the death.
You can find it FREE on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Lifesphere-INC-Acquisition-ebook/dp/B00CXGD8PS) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/318159).