Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Writerly Wednesday: Under the Weather Writing–Er, Sleeping

First off, I do apologize for not having a Writing Lessons from the Movies post together and ready for today.  I spent most of the past weekend asleep in bed due to the crud finally managing to knock me down.  And that’s exactly what I’d like to talk about today:

What do you do when you’re feeling under the weather?!?

If you’re like me – a perfectionist – you can’t even fathom the idea of spending an entire Saturday and Sunday in bed (not to mention the Friday before) under the haze the meds tend to give you.  Let’s paint a picture of how three sick days can normally look:

Friday: Wake up at 7:15am, tell hubby good-bye, take medicine, fall back asleep. Wake up again at 10am, turn on computer, respond to comments on blog, get some food, feel too worn out to do anything else, go back to bed. Wake up again at 3pm, turn on computer, try to be a little active on Twitter but realize you may not be making sense, so back to bed it is. Wake up again at 7pm, eat dinner, get back on computer for a bit, make a little more sense on Twitter before attempting to look at your current WIP – in comes the overwhelming feeling of not really knowing where to begin because you’re still rather foggy from meds, so you lay back down and call it a night.

Saturday: Wake up at 10am, take meds then attempt to read a book…only to be awakened 30 minutes later by the cat who is playing with your hair because you literally fell over in the bed and landed on top of him. Play with the cat a little to satisfy his playful side before rolling back over in bed and sleeping another few hours. Wake up at 3pm and attempt to read again after taking more meds. This time, you’re a little more clear and actually don’t fall asleep mid-sentence. So after doing that for about an hour, you attempt to actually make some dinner for yourself and the husband – chicken and pastry (otherwise known as dumplings). Sit down and eat the best dinner you’ve ever had in a week at about 5:30 before thinking, ‘Hey, I think I might be able to stay awake the rest of the night.’  So you go to the grocery store – ‘cause let’s face it, you’re not going to go the following day when they’re calling for rain and snow – and you return home feeling a wee bit tired, but not too much, so you decide to watch The Princess Bride for this week’s post. Twenty minutes into the movie, you’ve fallen over and the cat is playing with your hair – once again. *sigh* So you call it a night.

Sunday: Wake up at 10am feeling more like you did before the crud found you. Make breakfast for you and husband – sausage biscuits, a Sunday morning ritual now – and sit back down to watch The Princess Bride only to realize that it takes at least 3 run throughs of the movie in order to complete your post and you’ve got laundry and dishes that absolutely have to be done, not to mention some pre-packing and one or two rooms that absolutely need to be cleaned. So you bite the bullet and realize that writing and watching a movie 3 times in one day just isn’t going to work, especially the weekend before you have to take a out-of-state trip for work for a few days. *sigh* So you start the laundry, take a nap, switch out the laundry and fold some, take another small cat nap, wash the dishes and fold some more clothes, take another small nap, then take shower, eat some food, read a book and go back to bed hoping that it doesn’t snow too much overnight so you can at least get into the office the following morning.

Does this sicky-type schedule look familiar to you??  Good – I was hoping that I was not alone in this one.

Here’s the deal, when you’re sick and down for the count like this, your body is clearly telling you something: it needs a break! Whether you’ve been up late for too many nights in a row, stressing too much over a plot or the day job, your body just wants to break down and get some rest so it can be at 100% when it’s time to hit the ground running again.

And that’s completely OKAY!

The writing? It’ll still be there. Plotting? It’ll still be there. Blogging? It’ll still be there. The TBR pile? It’ll still be there.  ALL of these things will STILL be there when you become 100% healthy again! So it’s going to be undeniably okay for you to take the break your body’s been craving to sit back and relax a little…or practically sleep 90% of the weekend away.

Worse comes to worse, you throw your schedule out the window, take some medicine and enjoy the comfy softness of your bed and the fact that your hubby is willing to wait on you hand and foot in between long naps. *smile*

Here are some ideas of what you can do if you absolutely cannot stand to step away from writing/plotting/blogging:
  • Writing: Try and read through some of what you’ve already written in that current WIP but limit yourself to only reading and maybe making a note here and there. Once you start to dive into major revisions you’re asking for either A) trouble because you may not be thinking 100% coherently, or B) you’re only going to wear yourself out even more and you’ll end up tacking an additional hour on your sleeping time.
  • Plotting: Having time to sit around and think is something you’ll definitely have in between those long naps. If you’ll notice, I didn’t include this in my day-to-day sicky-schedule above, but I did do a bit of plotting here and there, especially while I was waiting for Saturday night’s dinner to be ready. So not all hope was lost, eh?
  • Blogging: Right now it’s Monday night and I’m in the middle of making dinner before I start packing for my work trip to Atlanta. So I’ve squeezed in the creation of this post into wherever I could. If I didn’t think I could’ve done this, I might’ve reached out to my online writing family on Sunday and asked if anyone could possibly do a guest post on my blog for Wednesday instead. There may not have been a lot of notice but from what I’ve seen and learned from the writing community, it’s that we’re there for each other – even if it’s 3 days before a deadline. So I’m sure someone would’ve been able to help me out this week if I needed it. If not, then I would’ve missed the one blog post…and heaven, earth, and hell would still remain where they are.

As you might have guessed, next week we will be visiting writing lessons from The Princess Bride, which is a request from a blog reader and friend, Jennifer.  I’m really enjoying having these movies picked out for me, so keep the requests coming! In two weeks we’ll be visiting Across the Universe and that particular post will come with a challenge to blog readers – and a giveaway to the best creation from that challenge! 

What about you? How does your schedule normally look when you’re pretty much down for the count thanks to the crud? Are the suggestions above on how to handle your writing life during that time a little helpful? What other ideas do you have for those of us who may find ourselves in mini-hibernation for a few days?
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