In a perfect world, I begin my writing day after eight hours of sleep, a large cup of my favorite coffee, a clear idea of my story, a perfect outline, and an uninterrupted day.
It’s not a perfect world, but you already knew that. The overwhelming reason why my perfect writing day went out the window (or down the toilet) had everything to do with being sick.
It’s been a difficult season here in the Northeast. One day you’re romping around in the park in spring-like weather and the next you’re plodding through your driveway knee-deep in snow!
According to Medical News Today, “many people associate cold weather with the common cold. While the weather is not directly responsible for making people sick, the viruses that cause colds may spread more easily in lower temperatures, and exposure to cold and dry air may adversely impact the body's immune system.” In addition, we’re confined in spaces with air heating system which recirculate the air from those who have the virus which, in essence spreads the virus around.
I was prepared for this cold season and did everything right. I got my flu shot. I ate right and exercised. I kept myself hydrated. Washed my hands. I even made sure I slept seven to eight hours every night. I still got sick. The kind of achy, sneezy, restless, lack of attention, all-you-want-to-do-is veg sick.
My cold settled in my chest. Bouts of coughing and wheezing kept me up at night. Our new cold water humidifier helped some, but not enough. Cold medicine, cough medicine and even an inhaler got my symptoms under control by mid-week, but ‘rust’ was settling on my writing gears.
Book blogs and writing seminars stress that writing every day is key to sharpening your craft. I understand the rationale. Every day you don’t write your writing skills dull. To be honest, they seem to dull faster than they sharpen, but I digress. My point is I tried to write, but the more I tried, the more difficult it was to maintain my attention. My mind wondered, I got caught up on social media, or I just nodded off. There was no sense sitting at my desk. I wasn’t accomplishing anything but watching my deadline loom closer without any progress on the work-in-progress.
I needed to figure out how I could help myself. I was still tired, congested andof cough medicine. Determined, I made a large cup of tea with honey and lemon then sat down determined to get back to my writing. I came up with 5 action items and found that each one helped me get back to my writing.
After a few days of not writing I found the intimacy I had with my story and characters was gone. I decided to read my work from the beginning and get back into my character’s head. In truth, after I finish a first draft I usually step away from the story for a few days to get some distance. That way when I edit the story it’s with a fresh eye. Here I read from the beginning to ignite the fire that made me write the story.
I write an outline with all my projects. After reading my story (#1 above) I found things to add, delete or move around. Rather than edit my draft yet. Instead I edited my outline and highlighted the new information in red. Here the excitement was in identifying new scenes or taking out ones that didn’t work. My outlines are narrative documents, almost like a synopsis. I don’t worry about ‘show and tell,’ choosing the right verbs. Sometime I even add dialogue. This gave me a quick view of what needed to be done.
Now, I was ready to write. I began by tackling the notes I made on the outline. This isn’t usually massive changes, but enough to get my writing started, back into the groove. With my head back in the story, I was ready to move the story forward. I still wrote in short spurts but I felt a sense of accomplishment. Several short spurts were better than none.
#4 WORD COUNT
I keep my daily project word count on an Excel spreadsheet. I calculate when I want the book finished and polished and estimate how long the story will be. I also decide how many days I have to write the story. I take family time and vacations into consideration. From there it is a simple math calculation, number of total words divided by the number of writing days. I enjoy working toward short goals. Being sick, I knew I couldn’t reach my daily goal so I adjusted my word count goals and made it reasonable.
As a note: Each year, New Jersey Romance Writers, my local RWA chapter has a one month 30K writing challenge. I use my spreadsheet to keep track of my progress and get excited as I reach my daily goals and move closer to the 30K target.
Sometimes, no matter how much you plan or how diligent you are, your body tells you to stop. I realized that when I found myself asleep at my desk. That was not a pretty sight. Pushing myself was not going to help me recuperate or produce a good story. I needed to let your body heal. So I scheduled a nap into my day. The short rest did wonders. I woke refreshed and eager to write.
One other thing you can do while you are sick is journal. Think of it as research for writing a sick character. Note down how you feel, record how others respond around you, and plot. Your body may be defeated but your mind is fine.
If you can’t sit at your computer or pick up a pen, think about recording your story thoughts on your cell phone. Plot out your story and when you’re ready to write, it will be there.
I hope you don’t get a cold, but if you do I hope some of these suggestions will help you.
Happily Ever After …
He was the cause of her fall from literary stardom until he became her salvation.
From a fall from literary stardom to becoming the heroine in her own romance story, Beth Holmes has turned around her career and her love life. She owes it all to one very special person.
Jarred Watson has loved Beth since he read her first novel and suspected the heroine was the embodiment of the author. But the road to romance was fraught with pitfalls. He almost lost everything because of a conniving agent and a little white lie that got out of hand. At the eleventh hour, with honesty and hard work, their book sales are off the charts and a movie deal is in negotiations.
Interfering families and changed plans take their toll. Will they go their separate ways, or will Holmes and Watson continue their literary collaboration and personal partnership in order to find their own happily ever after?
Praise for Happily Ever After …
“There were so many layers to this story that I couldn’t help but be drawn to the pages, kept on turning them as soon as I started. The flow was consistent, and nothing felt rushed or anti-climactic. This book held the right amount of surprises that kept me on my toes throughout.” ~ NKD
“I really loved the background information on the characters and the how, when, why answers! This is a really good story line and I enjoyed reading it!!” ~ LL
“This is a great romance with a amazing storyline and characters. The authors writing style keeps you reading all night “~ BALF
“Casie has a true talent for storytelling!” ~ N.N. Light, Goodreads
Happily Ever After is a Kindle Unlimited book and also available as an e-book or paperback at Amazon. http://a.co/8DGxCzf
About the Author
Storyteller | Blogger | Creative Thinker | Dreamer | Good Sport | Teammate
Hi – I’m Ruth A. Casie and I write historical and contemporary romance. You might be wondering what I’m about. Sit back and let me tell you.
I’m happiest when I’m telling stories either chatting in a group or writing them down. I love to put my hero and heroine in tough situations and dare them to work it out—together, always together. They haven’t disappointed. Oh, they complain but in the end their love and relationships are stronger than ever.
Here are five things you probably don’t know about me.
1. I filled my passport up in one year.
2. I have both historical romance and contemporary romance series. I also write stories in the connected world the Pirates of Britannia.
3. I did a rap to “How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow If a Tow Truck Could Tow Trucks.”
4. When I cook I dance.
5. My Sudoku book is in the bathroom. I’m not saying anything else about that.
My stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Their stories will keep you turning the pages until the end. I hope my stories become your favorite adventures.
I’m a USA Today bestselling author.
* counted cross stitch
* ballroom dancing - not just between the fridge and stove
* reading almost anything
* Sudoko - I'm still staying quiet about that
For more information, visit Ruth at https://ruthacasie.com/
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On Twitter, at: https://twitter.com/RuthACasie