what I do when I’m sick…

Kids are sick. Baby is sick. I’m sick. Just a cold, but it’s a bad one. I’m sitting outside in the sun, escaped with the few minutes of freedom my mom came to give me. I should run upstairs and try to sleep but this is better for the soul.

I read in the last day or so on Cynthia’s site this post, and have been thinking about my hesitancy to leave my work frame of mind since. I am always unhappy about the amount of time I get to live in my creative space, always. Even when I manage to get in full days (pre-baby of course). It’s as if it’s impossible for me to get it all out. Be finished. I wonder if when (yes, I say when) I have a novel published I will feel satisfied, done, be able to step away from the creation in writing for a time and just enjoy accomplishment. I don’t think so, though. Publication is not the cure.

So here I am, sick and thinking that I really have to learn to let go of not being able to write. How much energy I waste on this, futile. I need to just appreciate the moments as they come…..and they have been coming, more than I would have thought given where I am in life. I am seeing progress, moving along. Writing is supposed to being me joy – and it does, but the stress I carry with not being able to do it enough….ridiculous!

So, this is my pact to myself. I will not waste any more time being upset that I am unable to write as much as I want. I will leave it behind, satisfied, content, and know I will enter it again soon, very soon.

How about you, do you come and go from your creative space with satisfaction?

18 thoughts on “what I do when I’m sick…

  1. Yuck, I hate colds. The sun should help, feel better soon.

    I think I feel satisfied when I accomplish what I’d planned for any session. Especially when I feel I’ve moved it forward whether with new scenes or narrative or edits. However, often I don’t and then I long for more time.

    Your pact with yourself is inspiring … to not waste the valuable time (and energy) you do have with fruitless thoughts.

    1. thanks, Cathryn! I know it can be frustrating not to finish what you intend for a session. I’m very bad at planning -things take longer usually, but occasionally it takes less, which is such a nice treat!

  2. I hope everyone is feeling better soon! It’s one thing to care for a family when you’re not sick, but so much harder when you are sick as well *hugs*

    It’s only very recently that I’ve come to terms with not being able to write as much as I would like. It feels really good though, so I hope you can get there! I am actually finding that now that I have let go of hunting for any spare minutes I can, more time has opened up for me – and when I do get to write, I really feel good about it, rather than not enjoying it as much because it wasn’t for long enough.

    This is just how things are for now, and will be for the next few years. I’m really at peace with that now, and enjoying all aspects of my life more than I was a week ago. I’ve got bright shiny hopes for the future, even if it means waiting until Natalie is ins kindergarten before I can have larger spans of writing time.

    1. Thanks JC. It’s a long brutal one with not much sleep but seems to be easing a bit. I think all the sickness is so far the hardest thing about being a mom…
      Wonderful how you describe yourself – so calm, accepting. I am not certain that this frame of mind for me has anything to do with being a mom for me. I only began writing after I had kids, so I suppose I’ll never know. But I know that even pre-baby when I would get in a good 3 hours a day with kids at preschool I was always in that zone. I find it hard to pull away, to stop thinking about my work, and I don’t think this is a good thing at all. Well, I’m working at it….been better the last few days…it’ll be cyclical I suppose, as most things! thnks for encouragement.

  3. Sorry to hear you’re sick.

    I read that post at Cynthia’s blog and thought (once again) how I would like to have a special place just dedicated to fiction writing. A dedicated work place. Right now I write mostly in the office/arts and crafts room, which isn’t totally mine, or else where ever I settle with the laptop. So I never really leave my work space.

    I’m afraid I get a bit grumpy when I’ve planned to write and something or someone interferes with that, so I guess I have to say I don’t do well with letting go of not being able to write. That said, I’m know I have loads more time for it than you do, so I’m being greedy.

    1. Not greedy at all, Linda. Different life stages, can’t compare. The author of Cynthia’s blog plot responded to me about how she sits and writes until she feels it is time to get up – I’ve never experienced that. Have you? I wonder if that’s something all writers can experience.

      1. Hmmm, I need that habit, Jennifer. I think I’m more likely to keep setting there trying to force the words, which is bad because I either write junk I’ll later delete, or I get frustrated that the words aren’t coming. It sounds refreshing to imagine sensing that “I’m done” feeling and walking away.

      2. It certainly does, Linda!
        What I do normally when things aren’t going the way I had hoped I turn to another project, even if it’s just free writing and sometimes that helps me focus and return to what I was struggling with.

  4. I decided a long time ago that I don’t do colds. It’s been years since I’ve had one. Hope you’re soon on the mend. Your pact sounds sensible. Goodness knows there is enough stress in our lives without us adding to it.

    1. please share your secret, Laura. I would really love to know how to reduce the amount of colds in this house. I suppose filling it with a bunch of youngens isn’t quite the answer!

  5. Get well soon, Jennifer!

    If you figure out how to not feel upset if you are unable to write as much as you want, let us know. You’re right that being upset about it is a waste of time, but it’s very hard not to feel depressed or anxious about writing being left unwritten.

    I’ve read that making timelines detailing your writing progress over the previous weeks, months and years helps because you can focus on how much you have achieved, as well as see how much work you still have to go to reach your writing goals.

    I haven’t tried making a timeline yet, but I’ll give it a go at some point.

    1. I think it’s all about awareness, Helen. When I feel myself getting upset because my writing is interrupted or because I just couldn’t get there, well I turn my thoughts away. Mostly though I struggle with thinking about writing all the time – so I’ve been working on that – when I step away and my thoughts constantly return to it I focus on what’s happening now. Similar to a timeline but less formal is recognizing how much all these little bits ad up.

  6. I don’t think it matters who you are or where you are in your writing life–struggling to find enough time to be satisfied with the amount of creative time you have is really, really hard. My kids are much older than yours now, but I find that I still want to spend as much time with them and I recently took a day job–only part-time, but it seems to like to try to become more than that . . .

    Whenever I get too down about it, however, I just remind myself that ideas–Art–come from life, so having one–even one that feels too busy sometimes–is a good thing. (Of course, that bit of self-talk doesn’t always work, so every once in awhile I splurge and have a writing retreat just for me. ;-)). I also, depending on my life’s demands, get up earlier or go to bed later . . . something hard with little ones, but doable, maybe, when your babe’s a bit older and you’re feeling better!

    Hope you’re all recovered soon.


    1. LIfe changes for you right now, Ev. Hope you are all settling well into them.

      I think you are right, it is something all artists struggle with at times. Unless we become hermits and retreat from the world. I’ll get there eventually where I can squeeze some more moments in. I am not getting much sleep, so it’s still too precious to part with even more. But, having my older two kids I know how quickly the time passes. I tend to get most writing time in with baby on me. it’s ok, it’s satisfying for the time being. Thanks for the confidence.

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