Knackered by Barbara Nadel

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Having recently finished one full-length adult novel, a children’s novella and two short stories, I now find myself completely knackered. It’s all very well doing this writing thing, but trying to make money at it, takes some doing!

I think I may have actually joined the ranks of the un-dead, that or some sort of weird zombie sorority. The day before yesterday I went into Manchester to do some shopping and had to really push myself not to just sit down on the nearest bench and go to sleep. In Marks and Spencers I had the fright of my un-life when I looked at myself in a mirror and saw a character from a Dario Argento horror movie. But then is this atypical or unusual for me in any way?

No. I always overdo things. I think that somewhere deep inside I actually enjoy running around like a hamster in a wheel and staying awake all night knotting and un-knotting plots. I don’t know why. It’s most unhealthy and can be frustrating and depressing. But I persist, or rather I have persisted. Now, maybe, I am about to at least consider some sort of change. Why?

Well let me tell you that this particular bout of knackeredness is different and, to me, very, very scary. Because not only am I knackered, I am also totally empty too. The usual legion of things to do remain, but I don’t have a thought in my head. I am, theoretically, working on several things at the moment – or rather I would be if my brain was working.

This isn’t so called writer’s block. I’ve had that before and I’ve always managed to work through it. No, this is the real deal, exhaustion both physical and mental. Scary.

I got into this situation via several different routes, none of which I will bore you with. Suffice to say that working almost as soon as I came round from the anaesthetic after I broke my leg back in December probably didn’t help. Last time I even attempted a day off to go and do something nice, I came down with the flu. How many more stress indicators do I want?

But this isn’t a ‘poor me’, cry for sympathy thing. I don’t really do those. I’ll lay down for a day or so and maybe even read something light and entertaining and I will get my brain and my body working properly again. Perhaps I may even be a bit easier on myself in the future. After all I don’t like feeling empty. It’s never happened before and pleasant it is not.

Now here’s the lecture-y bit.

Don’t do as I do, do as I say and DON’T drain yourselves dry by working in crazy ways. It’s wrong, it makes you’re brain come to a standstill and your body feel like a sack of spuds. Whatever the Goths, the Emos and all the other black, clad morbid kids may say, the ill look is a very bad one. I hope to be able to get rid of mine very soon.

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