This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

Since it seems to be flu season once again, I thought I’d try talking about ways to keep working, even when you feel like crap. Not that I might have been feeling under the weather for the past week and a half myself, you understand.

Granted, some of this will depend on what kind of illness you’re dealing with. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to make the assumption that it’s something that might only keep you down for a few days and not something long term. Some of these suggestions might work there, but since I have no first-hand experience of long-term injury or illness I won’t presume to lecture.

Anyways there you are; bundled up to keep warm, head throbbing, nose and ears stuffed up, throat thick and voice croaking, downing your preferred cold/flu medicine by the handful. And the last thing you want to do is look at a blank page and try to write.

There are still some things you can do so that you can still make use of the time even if you aren’t writing. I have a few suggestions on how to make sick time still productive time.

1. Write if you can.  You may not feel like it but if you can, you should. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a single solid session during a clearer phase, or in short sprints with rests in between. And, if being sick is clouding your ideas, there are always plenty of prompts to help get something going.

2. Read over what you’ve already written. If you can’t get going with new stuff, then have a look at some of your previous work. You can either edit what you already have or you can make some notes about things that you want to develop when you can move forward.

3. Plot. If like me, you’re not a great planner, you could use your downtime to think about where you want your story to go. Combining this with the previous suggestion can help, either working backwards or forwards.

4Organise and/or type up your work. Depending on your preferred writing method you might have multiple files for your current work and trying to keep up with your writing schedule means you still haven’t sorted them out. Or maybe, as I’ve been known to do, you have some handwritten work that you haven’t typed up yet. If you have something like this you need doing, then why not get it done now?

5. Back up your work. As important as backing up your work is, maybe you’re the type of person that keeps putting off. Well, now would be a good time to take care of that.

6. Read a book. You can always read and reading never hurt a writer.

I have one last suggestion for you if you’re feeling sick.

Be compassionate with yourself.

No-one likes being sick and stressing about losing writing time, probably won’t help. So take it easy on yourself, ok?


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  1. So sorry to hear you may not be feeling well. Speedy recovery, my dear. The tips you offer are concrete and helpful. I truly need to remember them and not push myself beyond my capacity during sickness. I wish you a healthy year of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s summer Down Under, which means allergy season rather than flu season. The net result is the same—days where it’s hard to get the brain into action to write. Thanks for the tips (and for permission to read!). I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you feel better soon 🙂 Creating to-do lists — making manageable tasks that can be easily done and ticked off — is a great way to boost yourself during times of illness. E.g. read a book, write a review, post review on Goodreads (and your blog if you like), like and comment the reviews of others about the same book, etc. are great ways to feel like you’re actually working (which you are) without having to write/rewrite/edit your novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All very good suggestions! Especially, agree with reading when the brain and body cannot serve for anything else. And reading one’s own work can always be source of renewed inspirations and, thus, energy. Thank you for sharing and I hope you feel better 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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