of novels) knows that writers are self-employed and don’t get holidays or
vacation leave. That’s why, when everyone else is posting photos of their
holiday fun at the pool and the park on Memorial Day or Labor Day, writers are
posting their first-draft word counts or hours of revision/copy edits/page
a writer is ill, s/he has to decide between going to bed like a normal person
when sick or trying to soldier on to finish the current book. Still, it’s not
the same as working on a holiday or during the time everyone else is on
vacation. Whether we can actually work depends on the type of work we try to do
and the type of illness we’re suffering.
writing tasks, though the creative flow for first-draft work can be very hard
to achieve. If it’s been bad flu or some other more serious illness and we’re
in that stage of the worst is over but we’re weak and spacy, it’s even a good
fit for first-draft writing. We’re located much more in the right brain than we
usually are. However, it’s not at all easy to gain the sharp focus required for
revision, editing, dealing with copy edits, or proofreading.
be able to write a short blog post—or perhaps not even that. In those cases, we
have no choice but to give up the work until our strength returns at least
somewhat. Those times, though we can hardly afford them if our writing is
paying the bills, can often hold a hidden benefit as we drift in fever or
weakness and dream often bizarre new characters and stories.
the straw of daily existence into the gold of story. How does illness affect
your writing? How does it affect your reading? I know when I’m super ill, I
want to read Agatha Christie and other comfort novels that I’ve read many times
before. What’s your favorite illness reading?