I’ve caught a bug of some sort. This is my punishment for coming out of the woods and being in public.
I hate being sick. That’s probably cliché, but I REALLY hate it. The headaches, the weird anomalous ear pressure things, sniffling and stifling coughs and sneezes. But the most frustrating part, for me, is the motivational buzz-kill that comes with being sick.
I’m usually pretty good about brushing anything off, and focusing on my writing tasks, but this morning is killing me. I have one more chapter edited on my monster book (it’s on revision 6 or 7 I think), and I am writing a blog post, so, words are good. But my head is anywhere other than my work, or what I need to accomplish. It’s focused on laying down somewhere like a slug.
The voices of procrastination are loudest when I’m sick. My muscles hurt, and I feel tired all day, so sitting up and doing something productive simply isn’t on my agenda. Even boosting my motivation through the normal methods raises questions of whether it will make me sicker. How long I have to endure this nonsense? I’m never sure, but I’m trying to surge through it.
I mean, I’ve rigged up equipment on oil rigs while sick, and carrying hundreds of pounds of cables here and there is tough work. All I have to do at the moment is sit here and write. But writing is a mental thing, and sickness definitely affects the head first.
Fight Through It
The thing is, being sick isn’t really different from any other type of block. If anything, this could be treated like a drill in self-motivation practice. I’m not going to get out and run ten miles, I just have to write. I have my notebooks handy, and my laptop can be used even when I’m laying on my back. These are the best times for me to reinforce my stamina at combating writers block. After all, if I can get x amount of work done when I feel like absolute garbage, imagine what I’m capable of when I’m feeling better. These are my recommendations for writing when you’re feeling under the weather:
Sick days are also great for brainstorming. Your head isn’t quite in the right place, and the distracted mind picks up odd thought combinations easier. Even if you end up in bed with sickness, keep a notebook handy, and jot down those lovely ideas as they come. You might need them later when you are feeling better.
Do everything in little chunks. Don’t focus on the whole wet burrito, just the next bite. Scratch out a couple of sentences on your draft, and then relax. When it’s all over, you might find yourself to have become really productive and imaginative. Plotting fast doesn’t always involve a steady stream of keystrokes. Taking time to think between paragraphs can organize the thoughts better in your head.
Prop yourself up. Sinus drains love clogging everything up if you are lying flat. I prefer, even when I’m resting, to keep my heat vertical. This also makes it easy to prop the lappy up on my thighs. It’s not the most comfortable writing position in the world, but it works.
Read. This is your time. Even if you can’t stand to crank out your own sentences, you can gain experience from reading other authors. Since this spell of stupid virus hit me, I’ve been reading more in the afternoons. When my energy is depleted, and I can’t do the writing and promoting thing any longer, I flip open the Kindle. I’ve been working on Madeline D’Este’s novellas in between spurts of energy where I can get work done.
Don’t let yourself quit. Do something, anything. You need to get better, but at the same time, you don’t want to drop into a downward spiral. Scratch out some prose or poetry, work on a puzzle or hobby, or just do some of that boring promotion and social media stuff. For me, going through a whole day without accomplishing a single thing can be traumatic, and negativity forms that will carry over to tomorrow. Don’t wear yourself out, but don’t submit 100% either. Take a short walk outside, or cook yourself something. Whatever you can do safely. Then return to resting.
Don’t overdue it. There’s no need to pump yourself full of caffeine and cold medicine. You don’t have to break any records today. Just do what you can, and allow yourself some time to rest. I’m probably the worst at this part, but I spent several hours yesterday resting, and doing nothing else. In fact, I’m probably up for another short break after I finish this post.
With that, I’m going to lie down for a bit. I’ll try and edit a chapter here or there as the day goes on, but I have one done, and that’s something. I can live with that. I also got a blog post written, bonus. I don’t plan on killing myself today, but as I have energy to work, I intend to use it.