Sunday, January 20, 2013
Why Writers Should Allow Themselves Sick Days
I should amend that. I see genre writers saying these things. Literary types don't seem to talk about looming deadlines and powering through word count in the same way. I suspect this has more to do with what's fashionable in each community - appearing to be too much of an artist to care about deadlines or looking like someone who writes a whole bunch, all the time.
Most writers will agree that we all write at different speeds. Once you've refined your craft and your method, you pretty much write however fast you write. Of course factors like work ethic, discipline, health, competing activities, etc. all play in, but there you are.
Still, it bothers me to see people thinking that "writers don't get days off."
It's kind of like the old joke - "I'm self-employed and, boy, is my boss a bitch!"
I think we have to be careful, those of us in professions or arts where we drive much of the responsibility ourselves, to remember that we are both boss and employee. One of the things I've leaned as I've ascended to more managerial positions in the corporate world, is to take care of my team. I'm careful to tell them when something is not urgent and if they want to leave at 4 on Friday after a 50-hour week? By all means do so! Corporate America has vacation, holidays and sick leave not just because of union mandates - my company is far more generous than strictly required - but because happy, healthy workers are productive ones.
So, this week's topic is whether we can work through being sick. In one of the worst flu seasons to hit the US in at least ten years, maybe more, this is an apropos question and I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone says.
For me? I believe in taking sick leave. I'm a health-nut and into natural healing. I rarely take medications. If I'm sick - or fighting off a bug - my first line of defense is rest, rest, rest. I don't try to work through it anymore. I know, after much experimentation and mounting evidence, that if I do work through the sick, the product shows it. It takes me two or three times as long to write it and it flat isn't as good.
If I take the time to rest up and feel better, then my energy and creativity is there, letting me make up for the lost time.
I have a really great boss.