Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Outlining ~ Finding the Method Which Works for You

There is a bunch of conjecture out in the writer world about how to plan out a story whether it's nonfiction or fiction. Whether to do a standard outline like you learned in grade school, spread sheeting, cataloging, mind mapping, piece work, or pantstering (just write without any plan) and a lot of others. I've actually done all of these for one book or another or combined variations.

I like the combination method best and I'll tell you why.

The first one like we all did in basic writing class to me is the least creative process of them all, but it's one we learned first. It's basic numbers and letters, and indents. I may write linear but this it too basic and doesn't allow much wiggle room. It's point A to the end. It can be set up with your kernel idea, laid out by chapters to the end, or any way you want to lay it out. This helps you stay on task and know what to write next.

For me, I'll update it this constantly. Why you may wonder. I hear you "that's double the work!"
"Yep!" I don't know about you, but my characters are alive in my head telling what they will or will not do or say. It drives almost insane when they wake me up in the middle of the night!  My novels evolve as I write them. That's okay if they don't do that to you. I'm the queen of Abby Normal, all hail the queen!

It also helps me write the dreaded synopsis when I'm searching for an agent or publisher later. Why multiple agents and/ or publishers? They have specialized markets. At one time I had four different publishers and two agents. It will also help me write the blurb for the back of the book if I self publish.

Some people use spreadsheets to write a story. It's a basic question-answer type thing. I'll use this method for character studies. That's a psychology test for my characters: race, hair color, fears, wants, favorites song, etc for more on this click the tab on the left "Lesson-Know your character."

By this little jewel of a method, I can keep consistency in my writing. Greg's eyes don't change from blue in chapter 1 to brown in chapter 26. If the character is known to have an Irish lilt in his voice in chapter 16 and switch to a Scottish brogue by chapter 30.

 Cataloging comes in pictures, quotes and sources of: people I base my characters' looks are concerned, tattoos, the houses they live in, a floor plan of the house, the cars they drive, maps, etc. It's full of all the little details like going up stairs and turning right to the bathroom or left. I will find a picture of the outside of a house that's appropriate and a floor plan, and even build them with Sims2 & Sims 3. Okay so building a house in Sims is a bit extreme but is also playtime for me. It's like scrapbooking details visually. Some authors can use several pictures to write a whole story. Visuals are helpful for detail work and writing is detailed work. You are painting a picture in the reader's mind.

I've done TONS of mind maps for stories before I write. Some fall by the wayside never fully thought out, or bumped by newer stories, or used as a rough draft of stories in the future. They get filed away in a file folder on my thumb drive. Although the picture depicts how to write a story, I got smart and eventually used Word to mind map.  It's the plot, arcs, and a few sequencing things similar to a flowchart.

The first story I drew several large printer paper sheets for the whole story. While I love to brainstorm story ideas with mind mapping, I'll never do a full book that way again. I could use it for a dining room tablecloth. I might insert here that my dining table seats 12.

Piece work is writing scenes and the and sewing them all together at the end. I admit to not having done a whole whole like this although I know authors that do. Some writers even use large card Roll-a-dexes. Now I love to do quilting and turning all those scraps into a beautiful quilt like I said, I'm a linear writer. That being said, I'm writing my new nonfiction this way. I'll eventually go back to an outline. It seems to be a jumbled mess.

Pantstering is writing without an outline. Flying by the seat of your pants writing style. This word drives my spelling checker crazy. I couldn't keep all the characters straight unless it was a children's book. The only panstering I've done was short stories because rarely do they have much details. Over in Compuserve's writer's forum there are writing shorts monthly. Usually there is a theme given that lends itself to pantstering. I'm not brave enough to try a 50K word book this way, but I do know many successful authors that write this way.

What works best for you is the way you should write. What's your method?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You May Have Noticed...

Since I'm trying to get my life into an Abby Normal schedule again, I've started posting twice a week again and hopefully back to three times a week by the end of the year. The proposed schedule will be Wednesday for writer's writing and Sunday on challenges in writing after a stroke with some more excerpts. Eventually I will do a Friday blog (promotion & marketing) with interviews with other authors and reviews of movies and books I have read and/or watched. I will not do a star system but tell a brief summary, what I liked and didn't like about said book or movie. It will only be my opinion. It won't be a single category type thing because I am eclectic in all things.

I started writing again this week. So far I've added another 1,000 words bringing the total to over 17K of 75K. I've still got a long way to go, but I keep remembering the tortoise and the hare story. Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad will be completed... I just have no idea as to when. But it's a slow and steady progress thing. There is so much difference in my writing now compared to before the stroke.

 In some ways, it's learning how to write again from scratch. It is definitely a work in progress. It will be my sole effort until my neurons steadily fire around the damaged areas in my brain. Once I can master writing in a way I'm used to I'll go back to my fiction writing. Although it probably won't ever be up to ten to twenty projects at a time as before. The genius, multitasking, master juggler is gone.
Maybe a ghost writer would be a better option, but I'm stubborn. I've ghosted manuscripts in the past for others and I still have other books and novels yet to be published. One of my daughters offered to help me reedit and reformat my novels for Kindle. Which would be great except she has no idea how to do it without me standing behind her as we go from line to line. I helped her pass her college level English courses. It would takes forever. Of course I could just go back to the original manuscript and make the changes, but I realize it is beyond me right now. 

Escape from Second Eden was originally saved to a 5 1/4 floppy, 3.5 floppy, CD and finally a thumb drive. The files corruption when I downloaded my novels from Kindle are unusable. I have to go back to square one and re-release the titles under a new cover and new edition. That's the only option I see.

My daughter mentioned that she can type faster than 100WPM if I recorded the story on a tape player she could type it. The major problem is that's not how I write or tell a story. There won't be that flash of inspiration that stems from writing it yourself. Some of my greatest scenes happened while typing the basics out on the keyboard. While I've ghosted by dictation before, it's the flair of creativity has to be added. It is an option though.

That's the beauty of being an indie author. You can do what you want when you want. It can't be any worse than getting poor reviews because of a screwed up format. It's the learning curve that's tripping me up right now. By my calculation I've lost five to ten years of memory and how-to with the stroke. Even things like languages I spoke for decades is a part of my forgotten history. So the relearning process continues on. But memory is flexible and evolving constantly.

I tested my typing speed. I do it with the Mavis Beacon Typing program. I do this every Saturday to see if I'm improving. I take big and small victories where I can.While I'm still using one hand instead of two and there is improvement. I still have to look at the keys though. My corrected speed is up to 18WPM. Yeah me!

I'm still doing my exercise workouts and e-stim twice a day. I have two therapists I married last year coming in once a week and measuring progress until the new year rolls around. I'm truly blessed because I didn't know they were therapists when I married them. Only one did I know worked with my daughter at Hospice. The other one showed pictures of her wedding to my daughter. That's when the connection was made. Both volunteered their services to me. An added blessing. It's funny when you think about it. A couple talking sessions about their weddings, me officiating and paid, and usually that's it. I rarely keep extended contact with people after the ceremony.It just goes to show how things come full circle in life. The little things that you do in this life which impact others.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why I Didn't Give Up my Day Job to be a Writer

Some writers desire staying at home and just writing. I never did. I kept my "day job" for several reasons even though I was writing for cold, hard cash....

1) Even though my writing paid me well-getting royalty checks after the advance earned out was fluctuating. Even when you added in the money I made doing free-lance work. I had a marriage, bills and four children. There is nothing like financial security.

2) While I've lived in large cities to small towns, competition is steep. Small towns can't afford you and in cities writers are a dime a dozen. Unless you've made a name for yourself somewhere else. Who really has that as a writer just starting out? Now keep in mind I've been writing for over 30 years under a number of different pen names or no mention of my name at all because I ghosted.

3) Deadlines. While I have no real issues with deadlines, they can be a challenge on a weekly or daily basis. I did not need it with everything else I was juggling. Between a full time job, a part-time job, college and home life, even I have my limits on how much I can juggle. That included with my writing time. I just don't or didn't need another timeline in my head.

Once my husband became ill, plus the added care of elderly in laws it was a master juggling feat at best with my teaching position, ministry work, and writing. Even traditional publishing was a closed door with the hospitalizations, day-to-day care, and deaths.

4) Bias. I have my own thoughts on what I should write and when. I think I've mentioned  few times on this blog that I'm a Taurus and bull headed, or maybe I used the words stubborn and hard headed. While this works in some careers, it doesn't always translate well with publishers, editors, line editors, copy editors, etc. They want what they  want, and that's it. It also brought in more deadlines.

5) The outside world is more enjoyable than writing strictly from one's head. I enjoy sitting in waiting rooms or parks. I'm a people watcher and a people person. Sitting in your of office all day long writing, you become detached from life. I'd jot down mannerisms, accents, reactions of those around me so every character has their own ticks.

6) I sat on the fence and watched and studied the indie movement in fiction before I jumped on the band wagon in fiction and some nonfiction. I decided I wanted to try POD (print on demand) and the e-marketplace rather than a vanity press. It has been a year and a half, and I make enough to provide some comfort, but not a  stable dependable income like some other authors. Especially with me not doing my clergy work for almost five months because of my stroke...but still the money trickles in because I haven't been active no the social media front. BUT honestly what other full time or even part time job would allow me that much time off and still pay me?

7) In the different phases in my life, writing has been something I enjoyed. My youngest used to bring friends home from school and I'd be writing on a day off. "Don't mind her she's lost in (Russia, Ceylon, Belize, Germany...)," she'd explain and then they'd be off talking about some boy or homework. Even now, with the struggles I go through doing it, I still enjoy it. It's my escape. It's a vacation away from my real life. Of course that's not exactly true with my new book, because it's about my life.

That's my two cents and with inflation a quarter.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

To Write or Not Right Now

I've spent the last two weeks not writing a single word except for this blog. What's behind this stoppage of work? Exhaustion? Family? Uninspired? Laziness? Mental issues? Depression? How about all of the above!

Whichever one I want to blame that's the cause. This month is more than halfway over and I haven't written a single new word to my book, Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad. In fact, I haven't even opened my rough draft this month.<shaking my head> I'm ashamed to call myself an writer, because I'm not writing.

This month I'm exhausted. I stay that way no matter how much sleep I get. I'll drag in from my PT/OT sessions and crawl into bed. In a two-hour session, I'll peddle mountains for three miles on a bike, 1,000+ steps, biofeedback/e-stem exercises for 20 minutes, range of motion exercises for my arm, computerized reactions, and stretches for an hour. After a two-hour nap, I'll do more of the at home exercises and another round of electrical stimulation (e-stim). I'll lay down for another half hour, not really sleeping just doing some light bed exercises and stretches while watching the idiot box. Then I'll nuke something for supper eating it with no appetite but because I have to eat before night meds and 8 & 10 PM.

On the family front, so far this month there has been one grandchild's birthday, a day at the beach,  my anniversary, my nephew's birthday, my niece's wedding, homecoming at my home church, two baby showers, and my husband's birthday. Never a dull moment which the reason this blog is titled The Murphey Saga instead of some clever writerly name. It's the never ending story of the Jo Murphey, the writer. It's comparable to a bad soap opera.  Kind of like that night time soap opera a dozen and a half years ago with Billy Crystal "Soap."

Uninspired and laziness (see above) It seems there are more things taking away my energy spoons faster than I can replace them. So just what am I doing with my time? I find myself on POGO in between times trying to increase my speed of various games, rebuilding my vocabulary with Scrabble  and QWERTY, matching skills with Mahjong, Sequencing abilities with card games, Bingo, and Boggle. I used to find these things relaxing but now they task my brain and can get's work. But I'm also building my clicking speed with my mouse. If only I could draw left handed, but that's a superfine motor writing. On the hand writing front, I can write where others can actually read what I wrote. I've progressed from that large kindergarten paper to wide ruled although I still have trouble staying on the line. Maybe I'll try coloring.

The mental stress is caused from the stroke and I realize this. Having to backspace over misspelled words, seeing all the green and red squiggly lines is down right depressing. My depression stems from my not being able to write/type the way I'm used to and a whole lot of other things since the stroke. I long for the days of just 4 1/2 months ago when I could  plug away at my keyboard and finish a rough draft of 50K words in a matter of weeks. I started this book two months ago and typed 16K words and it's a mess worthy of a grade-schooler and I'm having doubts big time. You think I'm joking? You know that grade reading level thingie in the spell checker? Up until last week it tallied 5.2. But the last addition brought it up to 8.0 which is about standard although my usual for nonfiction is about 10th grade level. I keep reminding myself that I had a stroke less than five months ago, but that is getting old even to me. If you are following my other blogspot blog PastorJoSays, it goes into more detail about my rationale for my stroke. 

This is my pity pot thinking when it takes me 45 minutes to shower and wash my short hair, and another 5 to brush my teeth and hair, 20 minutes to put on clothes so they are not skewed or twisted. Forget about make-up! I've never been one of those fru-fru type of gals. Maybe some lipstick or blush on occasion, thank goodness. I've never been gorgeous and no amount of war paint will improve it. Normal was shower, dress, makeup and out the door in under fifteen minutes. Being able to cut my own finger and toe nails...maybe even polish them or buff them. Growing your own fresh vegetables. Being able to wash dishes in the sink. Fast chopping ingredients and preparing gourmet, home cooked meals. The little things in life that most people take for granted or at least I did until my stroke. Time's up! Off the pity pot.

On a lighter note, I'd forgotten I'd signed up for the annual Zombie Walk in Savannah next month until the email arrived last week. I'd planned to participate in full zombie regalia, do a book signing, and offer PDF CD versions of Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption and what should have been Zombie Apocalypse: Travelers. Travelers still sits on my hard drive, and since the stroke, it still needs a major rewrite. I e-mailed the sponsor back with my regrets, explaining my stroke, and although I would make an excellent zombie with a dragging arm, droop my face a bit, and twisted foot...I just couldn't sign books. Oh well, maybe by March in Jacksonville. Or next year in Savannah. It seems like I'm saying that a lot these days...maybe next year. It's not just is. My insurance is done for physical therapy. I'm still fighting with Social Security Disability with the help of a lawyer. But if it takes as long as with my husband's case...I won't need it. I plan to be fully recovered by then.

In the meantime, I plan to start writing again in on Monday...wish me luck.
Keep writing and loving the Lord

How do handle real life intrusions to your writing?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Survialist or a Prepper After the Stroke

I recently wrote a nonfiction, Are You a Survivalist or a Prepper? Since my stroke in May not many things apply  that I once could do, obviously! Since I can barely walk, use only one arm, and am speech impaired.

But some things remain constant through adaption. I can peddle my bicycle powered washing machine. It's also therapy for my weakened leg. I'm using my electric dryer because carrying an armload of clothes outside to hang up to dry impossible. Well not impossible just awkward with a cane. My solar oven and homemade Rocket stove remain unused and I bought another electric stove. It's just easier than trying to lift a pot off the stove without having to walk outside to do the task. When walking is difficult, you tend to do what is quicker and easier to conserve my waning energy levels.

While I shot expert with my 9 mm with my right hand, I'm a lousy shot with my left. I'm practicing the slide action and target practice. The rifle is a bit trickier. I've found my .38 easier to handle. By the time I get my right hand back I'll be deadly with both hands which is a plus.

My garden died while I was in the hospital and I cannot operate my tiller with one hand. But I have figured out how to grow certain things in pots, is there any thing better than a fresh, garden grown tomato? I can eat them like an apple with the juices running down my chin. Although there is not the bountiful harvest to preserve for the long term.

I find myself growing attached to items such as my mechanical chopper and food processor, a gift from one of my children. While I'm still a prepper and avid couponer, my husband now clips them. Me and scissors is like molasses in winter. For my big haul items my daughter goes shopping with me because I can carry only two light weight bags at a time. I'm thankful for my foresight in stored items. They carried us through the time I was in the hospital and beyond. I still maintain a careful inventory of what's available at home, but life has changed. I am where I was ten years ago, dependent instead of self-sufficient for the time being.

My hope of building my home on the new site and further renovation efforts on my present home have been put on hold, but the planning goes on. You see,  I still believe in the principle of being a survivalist and a prepper. I'm watching the economy, gas prices rising, the mail system on the verge of bankruptcy, taxes going up, crop failures, and everything else. With political elections next month, it's anybody's guess what the next few years will bring. I'm not worried. I'm prepared although not as prepared as I thought I'd be a few short months ago. Still I keep at it. My family is important to me.

While I may not be as able as I once was, the knowledge gained and passed on is invaluable. I've provided a storage space for my children to be able to store their supplies while adding to my own. Where they had little space to store anything before, now they have space. They now help me with items gotten cheap and preserving them for further use. They lack for nothing in the way of food or paper goods. They are learning how to prepare delicious meals from dehydrated foods with their own personal touches. I've seen growth in their own personal knowledge base towards survival.

So what's in a book? Everything.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Second Shot and No Progress on the Book

This week has been hectic with occupational therapies, doctor appointments, games, and a day at the beach.Well to start with I started occupational therapy again. I've gained some of the passive and active movement in my arm and wrist. That's the good news.It has been a struggle to gain back what I've lost over the past two months. There is now some extension in my wrist (that's being able to bend it upwards).  That's progress sort of. I had full extension when I came home from the rehab hospital ( able the lay hand flat on a surface and with elbow supported could place weight through the whole arm), that was before the fall, tone, and spascity set in.  Talk about frustration.

My husband had two doctor appointments and I had one. Have you ever noticed a sign in your doctor's office that basically says, "If you are fifteen minutes late for your appointment you need to reschedule your appointment." I've definitely seen it more often. These are the same doctors who keep you in the office waiting room for 45 minutes or an hour, in the exam room 15-45 minutes in the exam room, breeze in for 10-15 minutes and are gone. Now not all of our doctors are like this. Some genuinely care about their patients and listen...these kind of physicians I don't care about waiting for...they are giving individualized care to each patient...I have several who fall into this category. Which I don't mind waiting for.This week. I spent three hours in the orthopedist's office to have all my concerns brushed aside and told I needed another steroid injection in the shoulder. When I asked about the recent meningitis scare with steroid injection (now in 22 states)...answer- he was dealing with my shoulder not my back.

Now I have previous injections in my spine and other places over the years. I know initially  it can take a week to work and it may not be injected in the right place, but when the pain increases after that...there is something wrong. Besides the fact I was practicing medicine since before this guy was out of high school. I had my first spinal fusion and joint reconstruction while he was probably in med school. I'm not the type of person you can brush off. I made him listen! Not only about options, answer my questions, and I him realize I was more than a case number in some computer. I've had to remind quite a few nurses, physician's assistants, and doctors over the years about me or my family are people. Remind them that a major part of their job is people skills. He listened and injected the proper spots as well as the one he needed to...I can't tell you there was instant relief because steroid shots feel like you've been hit in the joint injected like a sledge hammer! But now 48 hours later there is improvement.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours with most of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren at the beach. It was the most sunlight I've had in months! We had so much fun! I think it's the first fun, relaxing day I've had since my stroke. Even my husband took off his oxygen and waded in the ocean looking for seashells for my #4 grandson. We had a blast. This is us with five out of  eight grandchildren. Missing was Savannah (who was busy building a sandcastle), Sabrina and Skylar whose family couldn't make it. While I know it's a long trip with children from Savannah, Ga down to Jekyll Island, my other daughter made the same trip with my youngest grandson and their daughter. Plenty of pictures were taken of the event. With a terminally ill husband and me post stroke about 4 1/2 months ago, it is probably one of the last events we can have like this. At least with my husband around that is.

 So basically this week I've played hooky from writing. While I used to carry printed off sheets of manuscripts to the doctors appointments for editing, I haven't been able to do that juggling acts yet with writing left handed. But as you all know I'm the master juggler. It will just take more practice before I perfect my technique.

Practice makes perfect after all. Well, maybe not perfect but more proficient. The more you blog or write the better you do it. Even writing a journal is practice for a wanna-be writer. I'm taking it slow, because I have too.  Everyone after this picture was shot rushed in to help me up from the sand dune we were sitting on. I simply said, "I'll do it." With three children, their burly spouses, six grandchildren waiting to catch me if I fell. I dug my braced foot until it was level in the sand, kneeled, and stood without any assistance. Of course my eldest grandson was standing by with my cane. I walked over to the paved area where my wheelchair waited and sank gratefully down in it with a sigh of pride and relief. He wheeled me back to the picnic area. See practice does worked.

Nothing is impossible with learned or relearned skills. Back in the picnic area I watched my youngest grandson do the same thing before he took off runny after his sister and older cousins....we've come full circle as a family unit. Keep practicing new skills until you become proficient at them.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well It's Wednesday Already~Writing Real Life

Well it's Wednesday instead of my new usual Sunday post. The days simply got away from me. Mainly I was down with pain. I finally got a call back from the orthopedist who is treating my shoulder. It wasn't conclusive, encouraging, or much of anything. It was a cop-out answer. Now, I'm due back in his office this Friday. The corticosteroid shot didn't work in fact it made the pain worse further limiting my mobility in my arm and shoulder. I can't bend forward to pick anything up because the pain jumps to fifteen on a ten scale. The only thing that temporarily relives the pain is light massage and Biofreeze. I try to limit my time in the sling because it impedes my progress in elbow stretches. I am limited to times my husband is awake for massage...there are long stretches in between times. My other option for relief and a bit more relief is getting into the shower and putting the water as hot as I can stand with the massage sprayer going. That at least alleviates  the pain long enough to get my over the shoulder boulder holder on. I really miss my masseuse who moved to Tampa. No, there is nothing humorous about it. It's just pain. Nothing stymies creative juices more than pain. In a previous blog I mentioned three main reasons people who don't write and what's holding them back, but for a writer not much holds them back, but for me this does!

On the book front...Don't get Your Panties in a Wad is officially at 16,000 words. Still disjointed in parts and in serious need of editing. But the words are flowing from my mind to the keyboard...not to mention the zillion back spaces and spell checks. It it easier to write real life than fiction for me. Not because I lack the imagination, but it is concrete and I started off as a nonfiction writer. I guess I'm a nonfiction writer that dabbles in fiction especially of late.

I'm actually farther along than what I expected to be. I feel I'm accomplishing something I did in my pre-stroke life which is satisfying although a s l o w process. Frustration has it's moments on the pity pot session, but that aside, it is a work in progress. Ready for another exceprt?

Don't get Your Panties in a Wad by J. L. Mefford (c) 2012 all rights reserved
"Realities and the Oops Factor"

 Excerpt begins

While I call my physical therapists terrorists even to their faces, I know they are only pushing me for my own good. Yes, I asked for this. I wanted to recover what I had lost with the stroke. In my previous experiences with therapy, I coined the phrase physical terrorists because of the torture they can put unyielding joints and muscles through. They work hard for you and often do not get much gratitude for the work they do. They are miracle workers. If I had any chance to return to a life I once knew these people would be responsible for it. Not to mention my positive attitude and hard work beside of them. Every day they taught me new exercises that I could do on my own and I could repeat in my room. My hamstring and peroneal nerve were where most the deficits were centered. This was compounded by previous back, knee and hip surgeries on the same side which the stroke affected. I hear many stroke survivors say they don't want to have joint replacement because of putting undue stress on their knee and hip.

 I did this in reverse. I empathized and encouraged every joint replacement in the place, I'd been there and done that twenty plus years earlier. By the way my replacements are old and worn out. Average life of replacement joints is fifteen years before it needs to be done again and I'm way overdue. I have put up with the joints slipping and sliding in and out of place for the last ten years because I was basically able to function still with minor modifications.

During the physical therapy part of this intensive rehab, I learned to walk using an AFO and walker. Although in the hospital for liability reasons I was not allowed mobility with these items unsupervised, I made good use of my wheelchair and foot power doing laps around the nurse's stations. I even went down to floor's dining room for most of my meals after the first week. Sadly, it wasn't until my last few days there was another stroke patient other than me...mostly joint replacement. I take that back. There was elderly woman who was noncompliant with the program and went to a nursing home. I had the therapists at the TCU unit wishing all their patients were as gung-ho as I was. But all this bravado came at a price of sheer and total exhaustion, and increased tone issues. I only missed one session of PT and speech therapy in the three weeks I was there. The spirit was willing but the body shut down with the increased dose of muscle tone relieving meds. It totally threw me for a loop and in bed.

I've been through physical therapy with some of the best in the business. I learned what not to do and what works. Times have changed. Technological advances with all their bells and whistles have been added, but the basics are still the basics. But each new therapist brings in new ideas even students teaching old timers of new techniques. What may not work for someone else may just work for you. If you have a problem with a therapist talk to them. Make your point of view count. You are paying their salary. Would you have an employee tell you its their way or the highway? Of course not. You are the boss. It is your body. It is your choice. If you don't understand make them explain it to you in a way you understand. If you have a conflict with one therapist, use your voice and demand another one. I personally interview mine like I would do with any employee. What are they doing and why? How will this help? What will be the outcome or hopefully be the outcome? What are their beliefs  about alternative forms of therapy? E-stem, computer generated responses, experimental treatments such as massage or herbs, or acupuncture? At least get a basic idea of their experience level. Ask questions and demand answers. Yes you might have a damaged brain because of your stroke, but your recovery depends on it. I believe in informed consent. I had one therapist ask me once if they were hired. Yes, they were and they were paid.

Did I mention I was an overachiever and stubborn? This bump in the road in my life wasn't going to beat me. I had survived cancer not once but three times. I had survived vehicle crashes where the doctors professed I'd never walk again. I survived the "oops factors" during surgery. Don't know what the "oops factor" is? It happens when the surgeon says "oops" during surgery when he cuts a nerve or artery he wasn't supposed to. Or in my mother's case...the surgeon who had been treating her for a thyroid goiter for six month operated and found a spreading cancer. She wasn't as lucky as I was. I survived my "oops factors." Doctors and surgeons, although they think they're God, are just human beings. For me this time was a doctor which pulled me off of Plavix to prescribe a medicine for an upper G.I. problem. My stent formed and released a clot into my brain, but I survived. Isn't it funny when you have multiple specialists treating various health conditions...there always a possibility of an "oops." The more that are in the mix the more complicated it gets and the more possible of the "oops factor."
End of excerpt

 While Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad is supposed be be a humorous look at stroke recovery there are certain passages like the above that must be stressed. So many people don't use their God given voice or feel the person working on them knows it all...they don't!

Keep writing and loving the Lord.