1K a Day – “But I Got Sick”

Second in the 1K a Day Motivational Series, in which I talk about something that happened in the previous week that could have or did prevent me from writing a minimum of 1,000 words on a given day.

This past week, I came down with what I have to assume was the Hantavirus. The flu-like symptoms started last Wednesday during the workday with general fever, myalgia, fatigue, and an inability to focus. By Thursday afternoon I was ready to go curl up in a ball and never move again, and by Friday morning it hurt just to breathe. As I was contemplating the possibility of a doctor’s visit, I spent a lot of time resting and not very much time doing anything else. I left work early on Thursday and didn’t go in at all on Friday, but those things did not lead to greater productivity as regards my publishing as I spent all that time in bed being miserable and hating life. And possibly rats.

But! I had a priority to fulfill. I had sick leave for work and if I’d had to I could have worked from home for any kind of emergency. But instead it was “How do I get myself out of bed long enough to write my thousand words when all I want to do is chug some cough syrup and go comatose for a few hours?”

The answer was to put it off as long as humanly possible and keep myself as absolutely rested as I could.

Wednesday evening I wrote my words and went to sleep early. Thursday I rested for half the day and got up after dark to do the words. This day was especially difficult because I was at a weird place in the writing and didn’t even have a good idea how to get the scene down, so I plugged away on a fugue of caffeine, Aleve, and Dayquil just long enough to get the words in, and then went back to rest. I got up shortly before midnight and worked a little longer because even though I was having trouble concentrating I knew how to finish the scene I’d been working.

Friday was a different story. I basically slept the entire day away until like 7 p.m. at which point I woke up feeling quite a bit better. In the next four hours I wrote a ludicrous amount, high on too much medication and not enough brain activity, and then I crashed for another twelve hours. By Saturday afternoon I felt better, at least good enough to leave the house and be a person.

The point of all of this is that I actually made some poor choices with regards to my health. You shouldn’t do this. Sure, I got the words in, but in order to do that I had to prioritize my writing over my health, and my health over my day job.

If you have the luxury of doing that, then it’s not so bad, but if you don’t have that luxury, do yourself a favor. Miss a day of writing so you can devote your mental and physical self to getting better. “But I got sick” isn’t an excuse, it’s a condition, and your health is more important than your fiction.

So write the hell on, writers. Just don’t write yourself to hell.

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