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Friday, December 14, 2012

Writing with a Cold

Never write when you're sick. You'll come off sounding grumpy and annoying. Unless, of course, you have a deadline to beat and you really need to get a story done or a manuscript finished to please your editors or publisher. Then you have to write. So here's what you do...

(Note: Details apply best to those who work in a home office, are self-employed or have a great boss who understands that sick workers are not the best people to have around the office.)


- Write down (type) your thoughts in the order they come to you or, in the case of a newspaper or magazine article, the order in which you recorded them.

- Take a break to make a cup of hot tea. Blow your nose while you're waiting for the water to boil.

- Put some honey in your tea. It's good for what ails you - or so I've been told. If nothing else, it tastes good.

- Have a cookie. One won't hurt, right? You're sick. You deserve it.

- Go back to your computer and read what you've typed. Spend the next while moving the points around (as best you can, given your slightly compromised condition) to create what could most logically be a sensible story. Example - try to find the most important point(s) in your article/text/story and single those out as the beginning. Line up the other pieces from there.

- Take another break to go to the bathroom and get rid of some of the tea you've been drinking all day.

- Go back to your office and... blow your nose again - as if you haven't been doing this constantly for the last 15 hours anyway.

Stupid cold/flu/sinus infection/whatever.

Yes, take a moment to grumble. It's good for the soul. Just don't do it in your story. No one likes a whiner.

- Go for a short walk.

Not outside!

It's winter and you're sick. What were you thinking?

- Walk around your office/desk/bathroom/wherever. Just STAY INDOORS, silly.

- Okay, now that you have cleared your head a bit more, you can tackle a little more of your story.

- Re-read what you have typed and change the order of the phrases and points again if needed. (It's almost always needed.)

- Add some segues between the points and move another two or three things around. Before you know it, you'll be sooo into your work that the story will be writing itself and you'll have forgotten all about being sick and ...

and ...

... AH CHOO!

Oh, well. At least the story's done.

Now go back to bed.

Tomorrow's a new day... and hopefully you'll feel better.

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