So, I have a cold. Having a cold means it’s hard for me to focus, but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. A lot of people feel that a cold is the perfect excuse to curl up in bed with a pen and paper (or a laptop) and to start, continue, or finish a writing project they are working on.
I fall into none of those categories of people.
When I’m ill, I lay in bed, suffer, and watch things on Netflix (right now I’m about 3 seasons into a Mad Men marathon). I know I should be better–I know I have the time to sit there and write, since I’m pretty much useless when it comes to moving or coordination or breathing at this point in time, but I still don’t write.
I just can’t gain clarity. I know I’m writing now, but this is a rant. Rants are different. I don’t have to plan a rant, research names for a rant, or ponder words and all their meanings for a rant.
Ranting is so much easier than writing.
But there are lots of tips out there to help people get through a cold and to write while recovering. A quick search on Google mustered up the following tips:
1. Don’t take cold meds and just power through it.
If you are a person of stronger constitution than I, feel free to try this method. I would be too sleepy and sore to keep this up for longer than a haiku.
2. Take meds, take lots and lots of meds. Too many meds. ALL THE MEDS.
I feel like this kind of falls in with my same attitude with drinking and writing, which is that I don’t think it’s really a good idea. I like my writing to be intelligent, and for that I need a brain that’s in thinking mode. I would happily take a decongestant or two to clear my nose, but I wouldn’t take an overabundance of meds to help my writing process along while sick.
I’m actually trying to quit. I know many-a-writer who are dependent upon caffeinated beverages. I don’t want to be one of those, mostly because I’d like to know what sleep feels like in some point in my life, but I can see how useful caffeine can be while ill and it’s WAY better than over-medicating on purpose.
4. Give into the sick and go crazy with it. Rant. Rave. Free writer. Read it when you’re better and see what kooky shenanigans came out of you along with those coughs and boogers.
This, to me, kind of sounds like un-medicated writing, but I can also see how it’s different. Writing while just sick, without any assistance, can mean just putting up with the cold and doing the usual. This suggestion is the let the germ madness take over and to write whatever comes out. I don’t have a fever, so this doesn’t work for me really. Also, if you have a fever, go to the doctors–don’t write.
5. Make writing into a challenging game, whether you love the work or not.
Hell, not everything a writer puts out is a masterpiece, so don’t be discouraged if your writing while ill isn’t masterful and awe inspiring–it’s sill great practice, and great writers practice all the time! If you get stuck on something and want to quit writing, just switch to something new. Challenge yourself to finish a dozen Haiku’s during your illness or to write a Sonnet with perfect iambic pentameter (which is not easy to do). Even if the poems don’t make much sense, you are still working on valuable writing skills that you’ll benefit from while feeling better down the road.
So, now that I’ve found these tips (thanks Google!), I might get myself a cup of coffee, practice my Haiku’s, and let the crazy come out (when I’m unable to sleep in the middle of the night because of the coughing and caffeine) on paper.
– Amanda Riggle