Writing When You’re Down and Out


What’s a writer to do when there’s writing to be done but she’s down and out? 

I can’t always offer advice from a place of experience, seeing as I’m still so new to this writing as a profession business. But, after this weekend, rest assured that I have a few real-world insights to writing when circumstances are less than ideal.

I started the weekend fighting a nasty infection, complete with high fever, chills, urgent care visit, and lots of sleeping. On top of that, a head cold threw its hat into the ring. I’ve spent a lot of time in bed. But my current WIP (work-in-progress) kept calling my name. Thankfully, I was coherent enough to realize I wasn’t at my best to actually write anything worth keeping.

When a writer’s down and out, but there’s writing to be done, here’s a few tips for working toward your end goal — without actually writing (say, what?):

  • Jot down ideas. Don’t feel the need to draft an entire scene on paper. Instead, when an idea comes to you, simply make note and keep sleeping. Use your smart phone’s notepad app, voice memo, or just plain pencil and paper next to your bed.
  • Read. In between hardcore naps, I read a little bit of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate (yes, I read Lisa A LOT). Reading authors whose craft/style I admire is priceless for my own writing. Don’t underestimate this important task.
  • Research. I love researching characters, settings, and other little details (for accuracy) on Pinterest. I have boards dedicated to pinning ideas, facts, inspiration for upcoming projects. When you’re not feeling up to writing on the page, research is a great way to fill the time productively.

How do you work on projects when you’re not feeling well, too busy, distracted, etc.?



Tips for Writing When You’re Down and OutTweet This!


Today, I’m also guest posting over at The Writer’s Alley!
I’m writing about The Introverted Author’s Guide to Not Freaking Out.
Come visit and leave a comment.

Published by Teresa Tysinger

Author of Contemporary Christian Fiction. Wife, mother, creative, and professional communicator.

6 thoughts on “Writing When You’re Down and Out

  1. Not well enough to say much, used all my energy for the day already.

    Only thing I suggest as addition, from perspective of having no good days left, is work on the actual wip every day. Do something, even if riting one para only.

    Sorry for typos. The wheels seem to be coming off today.


  2. I do the notes, but I lose many thoughts because I lose the notes, but I’m working on that. I hope you feel better soon, because I know the feeling, and when I cannot think, I cannot write!
    Many times, I think in my sleep, or dreams, and if I don’t wake up, get up, and write it down, its gone. As for reading others work; I figure if I have time to read, I’d really rather be writing. That way too, I don’t subconciously steal anything! Happy writing!


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