This past week I had a conference to attend. I fully intended on sticking to my 500 word per story, per day goal while I was there. Since I’m writing directly in Scrivener and I don’t have that on my work computer, I even printed out the last place I wrote in the program so I could have some kind of reference for when I started writing.
I landed on Monday and grossly overestimated how much energy I would have since being up from 4:30 am AZT and not getting to the hotel until 6 pm EST and my plans to exercise and write pretty much went out the window. I’ll make it up on Tuesday, I told myself. 2,000 words in an evening is pretty light. Not an issue.
Then I got sick. Like snot-drippingly, wake up in the middle of the night and driving around an unknown area looking for a 24-hour pharmacy so I could get the good drugs, sick. And I still had the conference to attend. Maybe if I could have done it in pajamas it would have been a little better. But I had to get dressed. I had to function in society like a professional. Meanwhile I literally could not keep the snot in my nose. I lost count of how many times I had to leave the lectures because I was fucking gross.
Because adjusting to a new time zone wasn’t bad enough as I lie in bed wide awake at midnight because my body’s really only on 10 pm. Add in not being able to breathe and I’m up every couple of hours choking on my own mucus while my sinuses were so clogged I couldn’t blink without the back of my head hurting. Fantastic.
So no. I didn’t write. I watched way too much Law & Order: SVU for my own good, ate a bunch of soup, and slept. I didn’t have the energy to do much else. Then I had to fly back home with all that crap. I thought my teeth were going to explode out of my head when we were landing back in Phoenix.
Nope. No writing. I stayed home from work on Friday because I’d already exposed enough people to my germs and the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. Didn’t write then either.
Get to yesterday and I’m looking at make up writing of 6,000 words total to get back in line. NOPE. I’m just going to call the week a wash. Instead I punched out a load more review requests because I’ve been sorely slacking on those. I’m nearly done with that list. Then I’m going to move on to booklr (book blogging on tumblr) and try tapping into that market. I’m trying to work my way through Adobe’s InDesign so I can upload a viable manuscript to IngramSpark that won’t look all screwed up. The book isn’t going to be in pre-order anymore by the time it’s done. I also started getting a little more social on Goodreads. I joined a group for indie authors. It’s a bit larger than what I originally intended (something like 7,700 members), but it’s a place to start. I made a few posts. Spread my reach out a little. It’s a start.
My point is don’t feel bad when you don’t write. Shit happens. If you need to take the time, take the time. Or do something else that’s writing-related, even if it’s not actually writing. Hell, even thinking about writing would be good. Can’t muster the energy to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)? Then just close your eyes and imagine what’s going to happen next. Where’s the story going? What’s going on with that character? And when you can get back to plugging away, put all that stuff you thought of down and plow forward.
I’m a big fan of not burning out. Even with something you love you can burn out on it. I’m also not a fan of forcing myself to do anything when I’m otherwise miserable. And why should I? What I put out will more than likely be total crap anyway (or it’ll be the best stuff ever thanks to the cold medicine cocktail I’m taking), if it’s even comprehensible. The people who can work through this kind of stuff? Good for them. I’m not one of them. And I’m okay with it. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not writing when life happens. Let it happen and then come back to it. It’ll be waiting there for you when you return.