Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guilty as Charged, I'm sick!

Ever felt this way when you aren't writing and you feel terrible? Well, stop the guilt trip. I've been sick, with a kidney infection. So that's why I've decided to talk about it. No, not the kidney infection, what I do when I'm sick about writing. Nobody talks about what writers do when they are sick. I thought I would give you some insight into what I do and I'm sure some of you do too. When I am feeling poorly and I have a manuscript I'm working on my mind still functions except when I'm sleeping, so although I might not sit at the computer, my mind is spinning on what I should be doing. Sometimes I even feel guilty that I'm not sitting at the computer. Until I realize that this time is the best time to do other little things to my manuscript.

It's a wonderful time to do research, because you don't have to spend all that time working on it. You can look things up quickly, read about it and decide how you will use it on your manuscript. You jot down notes for later. You can check on things that you really aren't sure about. In other words, you can use this time as patching all the holes in the manuscript that you tell yourself you will check on later.

You can also spend your time in bed thinking about your plot and why it is or isn't working. How you can make a character more colorful. How you can dress up a setting to make it irresistible. Sometimes thinking out the plot and reworking it in your mind can deliver the answer to things that have been blocking you from finishing the manuscript.

You can edit what you have already written and fill in places that need more or less.

So just because we are are sick doesn't mean that we are not being productive. It means it gives you some time to really look at your manuscript and work on things that you always feel like putting off until later.

Also, it is a great time to read other works by other authors. Or watch a TV program that you feel is well written and would like to learn from.

Just wanted to share some of the things I tend to do when I'm under par. It also has another positive effect or is that affect on the author, it gets you to thinking of something other than being sick. So sick time can be reflective time for your manuscript. Actually it can be just as productive as your active time.

Don't feel guilty any more about taking your medicine and not writing, because this can be one of the best times for your creative spirit to come out. You can find ways to write a new sentence for one that lacks luster, or research a setting for the next book.

So the next time you are sick, don't feel too bad about not staying at the computer. Allow yourself some thinking time, allow yourself some research time to better clarify your manuscript.

Invent new ideas for tidbits of work that make you feel productive.

And by all means get well.


Renee Vincent said...

Great use of your time, Rita, even when you don't feel well. And it was a great suggestion. Will keep that in mind if I ever get sick (ahem...knocking on wood here)

So sorry to hear that you've been battling a kidney infection. NO FUN!

Hope you feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Renee. I really don't believe most writers totally give in to their sick days and I'm encouraging you all to think about it. There a lot of ways you can be productive without sitting at the computer all day. And I wish I could say I'm never sick, but sometimes I get down. However, I've learned that no matter how I feel the writing goes on in one way or another. I'm sure our readers are interested in how we handle days like this, as our is not an occupation that is easily escaped. LOL

Love and blessings

Tara Manderino said...

You're always uber productive, Rita. But you are so right-- not being at the computer or not actually spewing out new words doesn't mean we aren't working. Sometimes grabbing pen and paper and jotting down things to do, or plot directions is freeing and productive.

Hope the kidney infection clears up soon.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Good ideas all, Rita. In the Heiarchy of Needs, illness and pain come way before creativity so doing research is a great idea.
The best thing, of course, when you're not feeling well, is to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to rest and allow your body to heal. Writers are creative beings driven by that right brain to obey our passion...so do what is comfortable for you without taxing your physical self.
I hope you feel better soon, Rita girl.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I got rid of one problem and seemed to have traded for another, but it is interesting what writers do while they are sick. I think I get a lot done when I'm sick. I'm forced to put one thing away, but I bring out other things that I suddenly HAVE the time for. When I am sick, my mind is still clicking away are characters, plote, scene. But I don't always feel like sitting down and actually writing the story, so I find other ways to make my time useful. I'd love to hear what others do. Unfortunately I rarely just allow for the sickness itself. This time however I was on pain medicine too and it knocked me out. However, my up time seemed more fruitful. I think sometimes we work too hard and find it's God's way of slowing us down a bit to smell the roses so to speak. I'd love to hear from you guys. HOw do you cope with being sick?
Love and blessings

jean hart stewart said...

A useful column. My mind never stops working, even when I can't be sure what I'm writing makes sense. I make a lot of notes and I think you're sometimes meant to slow down and let your mind take over.

Tina Donahue said...

Poor Rita - hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Well, after taking ten days of anti-bodiotics for a kidney infection I now have an abcessed tooth. I nearly died of this misdomeaner a few years back, so I'm headed back to the doctor. Dad gummed dentist won't pull good teeth but when those teeth are cnstantly abcessed by sinus infection you would think they would, wouldn't you? Oh well.
Back to doctor tomorrow. And yes, I'll keep working as much as I can on my manuscript despite all of this. When it rains it pours. LOL

Adele Dubois said...

Get well soon, Rita! I wish you all the best with your health and your writing.