I have been wanting to pick our Maven Monday series back up for months, but I’ve been stalled. Thanks to flares, business shifts, and life with toddlers. Today, though, we’re back.
And, I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging emails and messages with an Author Mentor Match Mentee named Lindsay Puckett. Those who have been around for a while know that when I was first going through my biggest flare ups and new diagnoses, hers was one of the YouTube channels that really connected with me.
For those who weren’t around then or need a refresher, allow me to tell you a bit about my experiences with her content before we dive into the interview.
Lindsay is an author who has recently secured an agent for her middle grade work. When I discovered her YouTube channel, I was watching a lot of other authors on the platform. Her spunky spirit, willingness to be open about her struggles, and her overall quirkiness were the biggest things that spoke to me.
As a fellow author who also dealt with chronic illness and disability, it felt refreshing to see someone with such hope who reflected my creative spirit. I recently reached out to her to interview her, and she accepted.
I hope that through her words, this overall blog, and seeing others like you out there, it gives hope to others living with chronic illness and still desiring that creatively fulfilled life.
The more those of us in the community are willing to speak out, and share our experiences, the more open the world will be to ensuring we don’t get left behind.
Without further ado, let’s get into the questions I was able to ask & her responses.
*Hi Lindsay. Tell us a little about you. What would you like others to know about you?
“Hello, everyone! I’m Lindsay, an Author Mentor Match Mentee, disabled writer—and hopefully—a soon to be published author since I’m on submission with my middle-grade novel, THE GLASS WITCH! I also have a fast-growing authortube channel where I divulge my writing process, share tips and tricks, and detail my journey to publication. I live in Ohio with my husband, our furbabies, and way too many plants.”
Side note: It’s so fun to see others who keep plants alive. I have zero ability to care for greenery. I’m great with the fur babies and my tiny humans, but plants? I’m not even sure a succulent could survive me as it’s career.
*How did you get started writing? How did you settle on Middle Grade fiction?
”I started writing when I was twelve with a terrible Young Adult “thriller” that clocked in at 48 pages and about 3,094 problems lol I’ve been writing ever since, but I got “serious” about writing—like, wanting to be published—in 2017. I wrote the Young Adult fantasy novel that got me into Author Mentor Match in 2018, but it died in the query trenches in 2019.
While I was drowning from all the rejection, I decided I needed a distraction, so I started writing THE GLASS WITCH. I’ve always been a Middle-Grade stan, and I wanted to try my hand at something completely different from my last book. Thus, TGW was born!”
*As much as you’re comfortable sharing, how has chronic illness impacted your life, family, and work?
“Oh boy. In what ways chronic illness has NOT impacted me might be a better question! Haha instead of answering simply “ALLCONSUMINGLY,” I’ll bullet point the top three Negative Nancy’s below.
• I can’t hold a job since my flares happen at a moment’s notice, last 3-5 days, and are completely debilitating. Like, the-only-way-I’m-leaving-the-house-is-to-go-to-the-hospital type debilitating (even though the US government doesn’t consider those with Chronic Migraines, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and Occipital Neuralgia as “disabled” so I am not eligible for aid **insert upsidedownsmileyface**but that’s a topic for another time LOL)
• Because of above, and all my super totally NOT expensive medical bills, it puts strain on my loved ones to hoist all the financial burden. Which makes me feel like a burden. Which sucks. It used to be incredibly guilt-inducing, but I’ve been working through those toxic thoughts for a while now and am in a much better mindset.
• Making weekend plans? Vacations? Scheduling appointments? It’s all at the mercy of my flares, and let me tell you—every vacation I’ve been on in the past 3 years has included a flare, and it’s miserable.”
Another side note: I relate to this all so well. My husband and I have been having conversations about disability, what qualifies, and what doesn’t. As well as how the flares have impacted our vacations and weekend plans so often. And, I know Lindsay & I aren’t the only ones out there who experience this. So, for those that are still feeling like a burden, I think we can all take a cue from Lindsay & learn to offer ourselves a ton of grace in this area.
*How do you, personally, work around flare-ups and hard days?
“I think that’s the thing—I work around them. I used to try to get as much done as I could when I felt a flare coming on, which usually made the flare longer and more severe. Now I only do what I can on the day I feel like I can. It’s been a lesson in patience, boundaries, and self-respect, but I deserve to let myself rest when my body needs it.”
*How do you explain to others – especially in the publishing world – about your need for possible adjustments or understanding?
“I’ve been very upfront with my agent and all the editors we’ve sent the book to so far. I mention in my query I’m a disabled author, and my agent knows I may need deadline adjustments depending on my flares. Everyone has been super accommodating so far!”
*Have there been any good things that have come out of your health journey and struggles?
“I think I’ve learned to appreciate and know my body better than ever before. I know exactly what it needs and when it needs it, along with having an increased respect for all the functions my body does correctly!
I’ve also found amazing support from other disabled authors in the authortube sphere. It truly makes a difference to know you aren’t alone.”
*What advice would you give to others who have been newly diagnosed or are facing new symptoms, but who don’t want to give up on their interests/hobbies, such as writing, art, music, work, etc? How would you encourage them?
“I would say to find ways to continue your hobby around your body’s needs! Your health (mental and physical!) needs to be a top priority to do anything well, so only do what you can do when you can do it.
I also have to remind myself how toxic it is to play the “what-if” game. Many times a week, I find myself thinking, “wow, I could get so much more writing time if I wasn’t disabled.”
How is that helpful?
The answer is it’s not. It’s super discouraging.
I tend to try to focus on the positive, and if that’s too difficult, I focus on the truths. Being able-bodied is not my truth, therefore it’s not worth my time to stress myself out over how much writing I could be getting done if I was.”
There are many stigmas around different conditions and just chronic illness in general. What would you want the world to know to understand our community better?
“I guess just that we are whole complete people and deserve to be treated as such. Full stop.”
I 100% agree with this.
*What are your favorite forms of self-care? How do you rest/relax on those days when you have to? How do you rest/relax on the days you choose to?
“Self-care for me is stretching on the back porch, a cup of chamomile tea, a long walk with the dog (on the no-pain days!), an audiobook, or a ridiculously long stint of Animal Crossing on the Switch haha.”
Final words from Lindsay: “Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Candice (fun fact—in THE GLASS WITCH, my main character’s mom is named Candice and she’s one of my favorite characters!)! It’s just an honor to be part of this community and I appreciate you reaching out so much <3”
I appreciate her self-care answer so much as a fellow animal crossing fan. I’m even turning my new island (I started all the way over) into a some what reflective island as the setting for my newest novels (more on that later).
I hope this conversation with Lindsay will give you all encouragement, and maybe a glimpse that we aren’t alone.
If you are a fan of what you’ve read here, like others talking about their creativity and creative projects, or enjoy infections smiles, go check out Lindsay’s YouTube. Over there, you can also follow along as she submits The Glass Witch for editing & publication. She really does offer such great content and encouragement over on her channel. Don’t miss out.
Share with us below. How has chronic illness impacted your life? What do you do to stay creative & feel fulfilled?