I’ve read a lot of books on writing. I’ve gotten a lot of advice and some practical tips on structure, plotting and description. I feel as if I could write my own book (“Confessions of a Writer: I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing, Either! A Beginner’s Guide” by R. K. Clark). The first two bits of writerly advice I would put up would be some of the few bits of advice born out of experience:
- Stay Healthy! For pity’s sake…this one is easy. Try not to die before a deadline. Get plenty of sleep. Eat healthy(-ish). Stay hydrated, and by hydrated, I don’t mean watering down your bourbon. See a doctor if you get ill. Which leads into my second piece of advice…
- If You’re Sick, Rest! This is another piece of advice that sounds really common, but you’d be surprised.
The only reason why I bring this up is because I was sick recently (last weekend). Apparently, I found the one cow that, before getting a bolt through his head, stood up on his hind legs, raged against the heavens and shouted, “FROM HELL’S HEART, I STAB AT THEE!”
Because, brothers and sisters, he raged all the way through my body.
I took a day off work since I did not feel good enough to work, which people will tell you, means I am close to death. As I woke up Monday morning, I thought: ‘I can work on my novel. I won’t have any problems or interference. I can crank out a page or two. I have the will to work.’
My stomach violently objected, feeling that my work can wait a day. So, I collapsed on the couch (please extend your wishes for wellness to my couch) and watched a couple of shows I had waiting on my DVR – ghost shows so that I can say that I was researching for my novel. I rested, didn’t think about anything but convincing myself that I could eat bananas and dry toast three times a day. I felt bad because I wasn’t working. I furiously chewed on my banana snack, convinced that I could work through this misery. I tried to channel my inner Stephen King-like work ethic.
I took a nap.
I woke up thirty minutes later with a bit of a realization: I can miss a day and not feel bad about not working. Yes, I am on a bit of a deadline in that I want to have this book on the shelves by October. However, If I don’t take care of myself this book won’t get out at all. So, I rested and watched a little TV. Today, I’ll get back on the stick and write as much as I am able. I can get back onto the hardcore schedule in a few days.
Some of you may be asking why am I writing about this?
As a lot of readers know, I have a very obsessive personality. I will latch onto something and ride it to the point of self-harm. I could have written. I could have pushed myself, but I also knew that I would be erasing those words later, undoing all that work and getting madder for not putting forward my best effort that day.
So, I rested.
You should rest, too. As the song lyric says: “let the world turn without you tonight”.