Writerly Things 9/16/19: Keeping Steady Despite Illness


Writerly Things…9/9/19: Keeping Steady Despite Illness

Traci Kenworth

Many people suffer illnesses that can keep them from doing something they love such as writing. What we’re going to consider today are ways to stay in the game despite this.

How I Cope:

First of all, I don’t hold to a word count. That just puts too much pressure on you, especially when dealing with an illness. Instead, I concentrate on writing the “threes” as I call them. Three paragraphs for each story. I rotate my days between short stories and poems and guest blogs and my own blogs. I do edits in the afternoon. I work on building characters on OneStopforWriters with their character builder in the mornings. I research agents on tweetdeck around lunchtime. I read in the afternoon and work on my blog links at night. On weekends, I listen to craft podcasts, study craft books along with other nonfiction, and schedule blogs. With them written, it’s easier to get things done.

If You Can’t do Three Paragraphs, Start Smaller.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking them down into bite-size chunks. Do two paragraphs, or even one if that’s what you can manage. Sometimes one sentence works to pull you along. Don’t be in a hurry. Yes, books do have deadlines in the publishing world, but you’ll get there and find a way to deal with that. For now, concentrate on making progress. Don’t worry either about doing what I do. You don’t have to force yourself to write short stories and poems along with you WIP. If it doesn’t fit, let it go. This is about what’s comfortable for you!

Don’t Worry About Writing Every Day Either.

It’s a nice idea but let’s face it, illness can steal your breath, force you to work less. Writing every day can be exhausting and lead to depression if you push yourself beyond your endurance. Quality is what’s most important. Who cares if you got five thousand in word count if you have to throw away half or more of those? Better to write small and have the words matter. I take the weekends off writing. This leaves me refreshed for Mon. morning and ready to tackle things again.

So, in short, take your time, schedule smaller sections, your production will increase. After all, if you do nothing, there’s no progress. When you work on smaller segments, you’ll keep moving steadily.

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