How to Write When You’re Ill

Now that it’s autumn, we are in the thick of lurgy/infection/every flaming fever season.

Always at the forefront of the most pointless things, I’ve been nursing a particularly horrible bout of badness for over a month. Therefore I will share with you my tips for writing when ill. I am the snotty, fatigued gift that keeps on giving.

Note: I am not medically trained. Don’t sue me if you’re foolish enough to try any of these.

Another Note: this post is not for those who have chronic illnesses and in no way is mocking that.

Final Note: Don’t sue me, please. I’m poorly.

How to Write When You’re Ill

How to Write When You're Ill - meds1.Don’t.

2. You can’t bear not to write? Shove tissues up your nostrils, stem the flow, and remember to breathe through your mouth, otherwise you’ll be dead rather than ill.

3. Keep a bucket next to your laptop. Perfect the momentum of spew and write, spew and write…

4. Have a bowl under your chin to catch the fever sweats.

5. Set up a pillow fort in bed that elevates you to a semi-sitting position. Write while resisting the urge not to fall asleep. If you crack this one, I salute you.

6. Use text to speech software to cut down laborious typing. Do not do this if you have a cough, unless your novel is all about barking like a hound who smokes sixty a day.

7. Set up your writing station in the bathroom if you have a bout of the squits.

8. Line up lozenges on your desk and inhale them at regular intervals.

How to Write When You're Ill - being awesome9. Mainline chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. Possibly not if you’re lactose intolerant or a weirdo who doesn’t like chocolate.

10. Get servants in so you don’t have to do anything else but write. This one only works if you’re rich and a snob.

11. If you have a migraine, write with your eyes closed. You may be surprised with the results being better than your usual output.

12. Have all the caffeine in the world. Bounce off the walls if you must but remember to write when you land.

13. Place a tray across your ice bath for your laptop. Then you can write while dealing with a fever. Try to keep your shivering limbs steady as you type.

14. Get a truck load of ice cream in for your sore throat, or even if you don’t have a sore throat.

15. Write a sick note to yourself. Check it carefully for typos and grammatical errors before sending. Your boss is a tough nut.

16. Write one word every hour. Your novel may take forever but they’ll be the best words you’ve ever put together, having so much time to think about them.

How to Write When You're Ill - real illness17. Do writing research. Research your characters in such detail that you know what they ate for dinner on a specific date in 1987.

18. Cane box sets and get plot ideas. Try not to write a novel that is basically Breaking Bad or Doctor Who though.

19. Read. Reading is homework for writers. We have the best job ever.

20. Don’t. Just don’t if you’re really ill. Writing will be there when you’ve recovered. Don’t die for the sake of your art. Only hippy whimsical tossers do that.

Over to You

Do you write when you’re ill or do you give yourself a rest?

Are you ill right now? Get to bed and stop writing!

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer and blogger. When not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, the cat, and the Husband. Not particularly in that order.

4 comments on “How to Write When You’re Ill

  1. I hope you’re feeling better soon! And don’t forget to disinfect the laptop, in case you re-catch your own lurgy. Twice around is not recommended.

    Do I write when sick? It depends. Sometimes I get really good ideas when in the depths of a fever. Well – they seem like good ideas at the time. Later on the re-read can be quite interesting…

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