Monday, March 3, 2014

Writers Don't Take Sick Days

I write 1000 words a day. This is my daily writing goal. Usually, it takes me an hour in the morning. So, if for some reason I don't get back to my writing for the rest of the day, I feel satisfied that I've accomplished something.

And then I got the flu.

It. Was. Awful.

My entire body ached. I could barely sit on the sofa. Not to mention the dizziness, the nausea, and all the other unpleasantness that the flu brings. I couldn't even concentrate on watching mind-numbing television to ease my woes, so my writing was completely dropped from my daily plans. All my energy went into sleeping and caring for my 2 children and my husband who were each afflicted with the same bug. At the same time. Yeah, I told you it was awful! My only saving grace was my oldest son. By some miracle (or extremely strong and efficient immune system), he didn't get sick. So while he was home, he helped tremendously with taking care of us.

It was a 24-hour flu, but we were down for the count for about 3 days. Later, everybody sprang back to health. For the next 4 days all was well. I went back to my normal routine of writing as if I had never stopped. Then one morning I woke up with a sore throat. Later, came the cough. Soon a similar cough was heard from each of my children and my husband. Even my son with the miraculous immune system couldn’t fight this one!

It was a virus. A nasty one. One that clung to your lungs and didn't let go. For weeks! My 6 year-old son barely got any sleep for days and days because he was up all night coughing. And it was a horrible sounding cough, too. Then there was my husband. He ended up with pneumonia. I didn’t sleep much, at all.   

After several trips to the doctor, a few variations of medication, now everyone is on the mend. 
So ends February and our entire month of being sick.

And, I'm sad to say, I barely got any writing in. At first, I was angry with myself over letting those days pass without a word count. I didn't like taking so many days off. Of course, my family comes first and during those many nights of staying up with sick kids, I was not in any frame of mind to string together a single cohesive sentence.

So I took a break.

Only from writing. That doesn't mean I stopped creating stories altogether. I did a lot of brainstorming. In fact, I'm constantly thinking about my stories, so I managed to work out some details to a few of my WIP's while taking a break from the actual writing process. I also took advantage of this time to get in some reading. For a writer, reading is essential. I read several interesting books on writing craft, marketing and history. I continued reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. I caught up on reading some blogs, as well as some online research for historical details for one of my stories. 

And, writers never go without research. Life is research. The next time I have a scene that involves a character who has the flu or maybe a nasty virus that just won't let go, and has to care for her 3 children and husband at the same time…well, I've experienced that!

I'll be able to describe that scene perfectly.

So really, a writer never takes a day off. Even sick days. We’re always working in one way or another.    

I'm not the only one. Here's a helpful blog post I've read recently:

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