Sat. Edition – The Flu and Other Misadventures plus Good Reads and Writing Advice

Welcome to this Saturday Edition in which I share a little of what I’m up to with my writing (when I’m not here) and what I’m reading (between the covers and around the web). I’ll also pull back the curtain a little on my version of the writing life (but not so much as to be indecent).

I hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own thoughts, posts, and picks in the comments. I LOVE hearing from you and seeing the world from your perspective.

Happy writing! Happy reading! 



tea heartAnd then my world stopped for just a bit.

One of the perils of being a self-employed writer is that when you are felled by some vicious illness, getting the rest and relaxation you need isn’t as easy as calling in sick and curling up on the couch with three seasons of Arrested Development and a bottle of NyQuil. Nope. Being sick when your a solopreneur is not nearly as fun as that.

This week I got hit by the flu. It sidled in on Sunday evening and by midday Monday the fever was shaking me so violently it made me drive erratically on the way to pick my daughter up from school (which, in retrospect, was probably a bad thing for me to be doing in such a state). It took forty-eight hours for the fever to break, but I soon realized that a high temperature was only part of the fun this particular virus had planned for me. To make a (very) long story short, I lost the entire week. I just couldn’t do a thing. Even showering was optional.

By yesterday, I had enough just energy and coherence to handle one client call, a few emails, and a couple aisles at the grocery store. Worst of all, I had to muster the courage to assess the depth of the hole I’d fallen into as far as work was concerned. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty deep one because just before I got sick I was in the process of kicking off several fairly sizable projects. Despite generous offers of assistance from a couple of compassionate colleagues, as a freelance writer, I’m pretty much on my own because my work isn’t the kind that can be delegated or outsourced.

So, on this Saturday, I am – despite still being doped up on all kinds of cold & flu meds – trying to rally my brain so I can start catching up on my lost days.

As I work-convalesce, I’d love to hear from other deadline-bound writers. What’s your plan when illness takes you out at the knees? Do you call in reinforcements, wave the white flag, try to muddle through and hope you don’t write like a blithering idiot? I’m curious … and open to suggestions.

TKS and stay healthy. Seriously. You don’t want this thing.

What I’m Writing:

snowy owlSo, obviously, I didn’t get much (any) writing done this week. I did however republish one of my recent columns – this one about a few feathered friends who have made a much-heralded appearance in the small, coastal New England town where I live. I was lucky enough to catch glimpses of both the birds featured in Winter’s Feathered Royalty, and it was quite a thrill. (Geek secret – I’ve been an amateur birder since I was about seven years-old. In fact, many of the drawings in my first sketch book are of local birds – sparrows, cardinals, titmice, etc.)

Though I refer to myself as a “someday novelist,” writing these columns is also helping me to explore other types of creative writing, specifically creative nonfiction. I am also discovering a personal predilection for writing about nature. This shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve been writing about nature since I was a kid (I kept nature journals alongside my private diaries). Though I have always known on some level that many people make a living writing about nature, I’ve never considered myself qualified to be a “real” nature writer. Still … there are a hundred different ways to approach the topic. I’m definitely going to give this some more thought.

What I’m Reading:

Affiliate Link

I had hoped to catch up on some reading while bedridden and couchbound, but – alas – I didn’t even have the energy to indulge my inner bookworm. Apart from napping, I actually succumbed to the siren call of the television. Instead of slipping into a good book, I sank into an over-medicated binge of sitcoms and comedy shows. I even watched a little daytime programming, but only the ellen show (and who doesn’t love Ellen?).

The only book I did manage to read was one I picked up after reading Wendy’s review of Nick Bantock’s creativity primer, The Trickster’s Hat. In addition to buying myself a copy of that book, I reserved a few more of the author’s books including the entire Griffon & Sabine series and one called Urgent 2nd Class: Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, and Other Art from Ephemera (affiliate link). It was this last one that I ended up reading.

I enjoyed getting a peek behind the scenes at Bantock’s creative process and techniques. Although his art is primarily visual, there is a strong element of story in each piece he creates. He pulls together otherwise disparate bits and pieces to create a cohesive image that has both artistic and narrative merit. The book is full of examples of his unique collage work and each one could provide the spark for a story.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin fifth time reading

As always – thanks for being here. I wish you good writing and happy reading and a HEALTHY rest of the weekend. 

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

Tea Mug Photo Credit: ben matthews ::: via Compfight cc
Owl Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc

25 thoughts on “Sat. Edition – The Flu and Other Misadventures plus Good Reads and Writing Advice

  1. Sorry to hear that you’ve been sick! I hope you feel all good very soon! Good luck with catching up with your projects! When sickness/burnout (as it debilitates me as much sometimes) happens, I tend to do that from what you said: “try to muddle through and hope you don’t write like a blithering idiot”. I tend to feel bad if I need a break because my body is giving up on me, so I try to keep going. Of course, it often ends with me calling for help for everyday stuff if I can, when I realize that pushing through like crazy isn’t going to be as efficient as I was hoping and praying for.

    On the reading front, I have read a couple more books this week, still on the personal development side, but they weren’t as eye opening as others I read before. Right now, I’ve started a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn, who remains one of my favorite authors in this universe. It seemed of good timing to pick it up since I have been writing on the Star Wars Expanded universe on the blog this week, and plan a follow up post within the next weeks.

    Your link to the post about shelfies (which I find so much more awesome than selfies that can be plain annoying) was great! I was even thinking of posting some shelfies in my upcoming post about books I recommend in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

    Thank you also for linking to ‘Before Breakfast’ by Tara Mohr. Lots of inspiring elements in it! That reminded me why I try to always work early on a project, so I can give myself time to work on it and possibly change original ideas if they evolve in something better. I’m going through this right now as I’m preparing a guest lecture about vidding. I had the core concept for a while, but being able to take my time to conceptualize the actual presentation helps it become better.

    And before I forget about it, I only saw your reply regarding Joss Whedon (to my comment on your last week post) today. I so agree with you about how he writes great female characters!

    • Thanks for the well wishes. Getting help with everyday stuff has been critical to my survival this week. My beau really stepped up to help with getting my daughter to and from school and also keeping me well-supplied with chicken soup and other victuals.

      So glad you enjoyed the shelfie idea and hope you do post some. That’d be fun to see! Also glad that you enjoyed Mohr’s “Before Breakfast” piece. That really struck a chord for me. There are so many people telling us the “right way” to do things, we often forget that there’s an easier way that involves just going with the flow.

      Good luck with your lecture & glad you caught my comment re: Joss Whedon. That’s a great speech. One of my favorites.

  2. Get well soon! When I get sick I usually shift work from hour to hour. If I don’t feel better in the evening of the first day and get the feeling it might be serious, I am waving the white flag. 😉 I was sick only a few days since I started working from home five years ago, but it was fine with my clients every single time.

    • Thanks so much.
      My clients have been so gracious, but I am less kind to myself and hate to know that I’m mucking up the works. Still, I knew after the first day that this was something serious, so I emailed clients with active projects to give them the bad news. We’re managing things as best we can. I still wish I could just put everyone on pause for a few more days, but – for now – I’ll just limp along and hope it all comes together in the end. 😉

      Hope you continue to stay healthy!

  3. Thanks for sharing! When I get ill, and thankfully that’s not too often, I can’t write as creatively as I normally do but I can write some types of articles, particularly about photography. That means I can’t concentrate on my novel but I’m able to get some of my freelance jobs out of the way. As a photographer, I can get out and take shots of my favourite subjects – birds! So, I don’t have to stay in the house being miserable but can get around the lake, get some fresh air and shoot images for my next photo eBook. Finally, if I don’t really feel like going out, I can review the chapters to date in my novel and do some much needed revisions. Of course, you could always call on your fellow writers to do some research for you.
    Keep healthy and be creative.

    • I can definitely handle administrative work much more easily than creative or strategic work when I’m sick, but with a prolonged illness like this one I haven’t got the luxury of putting my work on hold any longer and just have to try and plow through. (Wish me luck!)

      On a happier note, how cool that you photograph birds. Is there a site where we can see some of your work? I’m particularly fond of raptors, but enjoy all kinds of birds.

      Trying to get healthy & always staying creative. I’m already working on a column inspired by my experience with the flu. 😉

      • Wishing you all the luck!
        I upload most of my images here
        You will see that I shoot different genres but wildlife is my favourite by far! Check out Flora and Fauna.
        Perhaps you could comment on the difference between flu and “man flu”. I’m sure that most men think that their illness is infinitely worse that any mere woman’s illness!

      • Boy! You certainly have a wide range of subjects to shoot! I’m assuming there is a zoo nearby? How fortunate for you. So much vibrant color and such a variety of characters. I especially liked the little hamster – what a face. And I can’t resist a wombat. 😉 TKS for sharing.

        Oh – and there’s no such thing as “man flu.” In most instances, men skip directly to “brink of death.” 😉

  4. Getting ill or having any type of emergency that calls you away from promised work is twice as hard for freelancers. I managed always managed to muddle through, sometimes, but rarely asking for an extension. (I actually grabbed my laptop on my rush out of the door when my mother was dying and I had to travel to their home. Over the next few days while grieving, greeting their friends and neighbors and helping my Dad deal with arrangements, I somehow managed to meet a few deadlines. In retrospect, I think it was probably a lifesaver for me to be have something concrete and unemotional on which to focus).
    And when we’re sick, we add in that “Moms aren’t supposed to get sick” guilt. Ugh! Glad you’re better now.

    • Sometimes the work is all we have to hold onto. I’m so sorry about your mother.
      And – you’re right – there is the unspoken rule about moms not getting sick. Felt that acutely this past week. Tough to be invincible.

  5. So sorry to hear that you’ve been ill, I hope you’re on the mend now.

    I set myself of writing every day in January and managed to complete this task (logging 50,000+ words in the process) even though last week I had been struck down by posture-related agonizing migraine-type headaches. As sick as I felt, I was determined to get a daily word count in even though it was probably counter-productive for my neck and headache.

    No pain, no gain!

    Heather xxx

    • Starting to feel human again. TKS. 🙂
      Sorry you’ve been battling your own health demons. I hope you’re feeling better as well. Kudos for your spirit and commitment, but also remember that without your health you won’t be able to do anything … so, do take care. Have you read Tara Sophia Mohr’s piece, “Before Breakfast” (link in the post)? It may help you give yourself some TLC.

      Be well!

      • I am so glad to hear that you’re now on the mend. I admitted defeat and visited a massage therapist last week in order to get some corrective work done on my neck and shoulders which has now shifted the awful headaches that I’d been experiencing. I guess I need to find a way of tempering my enthusiasm for writing with keeping on top of my health – I’ll let you know if I ever find the answer…. 🙂

        Heather xxx

  6. That same flu hit me about 10 days ago – and yeah, I was useless for the first five days of it. Then I just forced myself to do what I could. Production suffered but I wasn’t willing to prolong the illness by forcing myself to do things I just wasn’t able to do. So instead, I said ‘screw it’ and slept as much as humanly possible, drank a lot of fluids and tried to recover.

    One nice thing was that clients understood and so that possible pressure wasn’t a factor.

    Anyway, hope you’re feeling better.


    • Thanks, Annie.
      Sorry to hear you had to deal with this brute of a virus, too. NO fun. No fun at all.
      I’ve been going to bed at 9PM (very early for me), and not feeling bad about it at all. And – yes – fluids. Off to make yet another cup of tea and refill my waterbottle as I type this. 😉

      Stay well!

  7. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Writing is Not for Sissies Plus Good Reads and Writing Advice | Live to Write - Write to Live

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