I’m lying in bed with my laptop having yet another recovery day thanks to an unfortunate incident with the sun that’s left me feeling, quite literally, burnt out. On top of that I’m battling a throat infection after just recovering from a stomach bug which is possibly the longest series of ailments I’ve had to deal with in years. I think it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been my luckiest month so far.
On days like these, it can be very easy to lie around doing nothing. If there’s ever a time to justify spending your day in pyjamas (or less) and watch bad TV, play computer games or just scratch your sensitive spots then it’s probably now. Whether it’s sickness, fatigue, laziness, grief or the dreaded writer’s block, how can you possibly hope to produce content that matches your usual standard?
You certainly won’t bring out your best if you’re not feeling your best but that’s not to say you can’t still use that time being productive. When working on larger projects over a long period of time, it’s pretty common for us to pressure ourselves into maintaining a certain standard. All writing revolves around that one project and it begins to feel more like a duty than an expression of our creativity. It’s easy to forget sometimes that writing is something we love, not just something we do.
That mentality is damaging and counter-productive but it’s hard to define the methods that can help you “switch off” without completely abandoning writing for the duration of your recovery…but if you look at things from a different perspective, you may find that this is actually the PERFECT time to unwind as you write.
This isn’t a nonsense piece about “exerting your willpower” or “going above and beyond to achieve your dream.” Maybe I’m just too laid back but I don’t think you’re going to be able to write a heart-wrenching chapter in your upcoming novel if you have to force every word. The writing I’m talking about here is much simpler.
Practising your writing is always beneficial so treat these unfortunate days as potential training days.Lay in bed with your laptop or notepad just like I’m doing now and write whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t particularly make sense. Whether you’re writing an improvised short story, a series of new story pitches that might never get put to use or just your thoughts and feelings, all that matters is that you’re spending some of your day writing.
It might seem like a waste of the downtime that’s been forced upon you but you’ll feel more positive knowing you’ve at least been partially productive with your day. 100 words can feel just as valuable as 1000 words (even if you’re writing completely random nonsense) and doing this daily while you recover eases the pressure a little for when you go back to your professional project. Your health will improve much quicker without all that self inflicted stress too.
Of course, this kind of exercise isn’t for everybody. If you want to do nothing for a day or two then you’re perfectly welcome to it and in most cases, you’ve probably earned it…but if you’re a passionate writer then it can be frustrating and stressful when you struggle to focus on your writing. This exercise should hopefully help you to relieve that stress and come out feeling readier than ever to bring out your best work!
Then again, there’s certain exceptions where this doesn’t apply. If a piano crushed both your hands then you’re totally off the hook.
That being said, how did you click this post? How are you using a computer right now, I don’t underst-