Writing With A Chronic Illness

As some of you will know, I have a chronic illness (Ulcerative Colitis) This, amongst other symptoms, also causes fatigue, pain and joint pain. It’s an exhausting disease. I also have a full time job. So how to write when your chronic illness just makes picking up the pen a chore?

Write in ten minutes bursts. In five minutes bursts if necessary. Just two lines at a time if that’s all you can manage. Write a little bit, rest for a long bit, write a little bit. You can actually get a lot done writing in these tiny chunks of time for an entire day.

Keep your writing materials nearby. Normally I like to keep my latest notebook on a desk on other side of the room, and that’s my writing space. That’s no good if I’m ill, though. If I have to make an effort to cross the room, I’ll never manage it. So my latest notebook or laptop is kept within reach, so I can get to it when I feel the urge. I even have Word on my phone, so I can write on that if need be (and that is also very handy if I’m in a doctor’s waiting room or on the bus).

Don’t be afraid to just sit and think all day. So maybe you’re too tired today. You may not be tomorrow. And in the meantime, you have nothing to do but lie back and dream up your story. Even when I’m well, I find spending a day just thinking and daydreaming my story is invaluable.

Do some research. Watch a documentary. Read a book. If you’re too tired for all that, listen to an audio book. You can get all kinds of lectures and non-fiction books on audio now, and they can be very useful.

And don’t get disheartened. You’re ill today, you may be ill next week, but if you’re a long term sufferer of chronic illness, you know it comes in cycles. It’ll get better. Until then, just keep doing little bits, until you’re ready to do the big stuff. Don’t stop the work, just keep it turning over until you’re ready to hit the accelerator.

The ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

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One response to “Writing With A Chronic Illness

  1. I can definitely sympathize with that. I have a form of muscular dystrophy called CMT, and among other things it creates hardcore hand fatigue, which plays havoc with doing any kind of writing, either keyboard or pen/paper. I often have to long breaks to massage my hands before I can jump back onto the saddle again (so to speak).

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