Last week I was pretty sick. Sick enough that I skipped work and stared at the TV all day long without a shred of guilt. Sick enough that I tried to do some stretches on my living room floor and woke up down there two hours later from a very nice nap.
Sick enough that I didn’t write a thing.
And at the time it didn’t phase me. But since then, I’ve felt pretty guilty about letting four or five days go by without writing, so I’ve devised a list of tips for myself (and maybe for you) for the next time I don’t feel like writing: whether it’s from sickness, a bad day, or just good ol’ laziness.
1. Get Comfortable
Skip the desk routine, and go straight for the most comfortable spot in the house. Write in bed, if need be. Because being sick is already uncomfortable enough, eliminate the possible distraction of constantly having to readjust and rearrange in a less ideal spot.
2. Write in Short Spurts
If the writing feels like torture, then write in shorts increments, a couple throughout the day. If you know you don’t have to sit there for five hours and work, you may be able to relax a little and let the writing flow. Just get something on the page, so the day doesn’t feel like a total bust.
3. Allow Yourself an Indulgence
Reward yourself for your work. Allow yourself a latte, or a brownie, or a bloody mary, whatever indulgence strikes your fancy. Make writing as enjoyable and as special as you possibly can, because it is so hard to turn off the TV and get work done when you’re feeling terrible.
4. Write About Anything
Don’t try to write the climax of your screenplay, or punch up jokes in your spec if you don’t feel like it. Take it easy. Write about absolutely anything. Sometimes what works for me is to start by writing about how I’m sick and don’t feel like writing at all. Just getting some words on the page makes the whole process so much easier.
The common theme here is: go easy on yourself. Don’t expect to write the next Great American Novel when you can barely get out of bed. But do prove to yourself that you can write in any mental state.