Writing Sick (And Why It’s Good For You)

In writing, as in life, sometimes shit happens. Sometimes a little shit. Sometimes more than a little. What really matters is how you intend to deal with it once it does arise. I’m not saying that it’s easy. God knows I know better than that. But life happens. To all of us in a plethora of different ways. Here I’ll address a few of those and how I’ve managed to survive them thus far.nPardon me if I ramble a bit. Oxycontin’s a hell of a drug. My bad. Let’s dive into the big two. Most things will fall into one of the two following categories.

Physical illness is a particular specialty of mine. It has been since I was a toddler. Right now is no different. Hence why I decided to write this post now. Because I’m in the throes of another pretty serious health incident. Currently, I look a bit like the crypt keeper. I feel like a pin cushion. And yet here the fuck I am. I don’t always get why. Just that there’s a drive in me to write that I haven’t been able to shake. Not since I waws that kid lying in a hospital bed alone, and not now, as an adult. I suppose the lesson I’m going for here is relatively simple. Don’t stop. Ever. The longer you make yourself keep at it, the easier it is to continue making yourself. Eventually, it feels less and less like you’re being forced, and more like something that’s a part of you. And making it to that point is pivotal. That sort of a-ha moment. I love a good a-ha moment. Sometimes it’s good to write when you feel like hell, if for no reason other than a good, old-fashioned distraction. Perhaps that’s why I’m sitting in a hospital bed sometime around two writing a blog post. Pondering whether or not sexy male nurses are the universe’s way of apologizing for giving me such shit health. I like to think that’s true. Physical pain has its merits. As much as it makes me sound like I’m into S&M (no comment), it’s a real clarifying thing. It makes you focus. You have finite spans of time, so you have to figure out what you want to do with that. And that’s why it isn’t a bad thing.

Mental illness is in some ways really similar to the physical ones. Not so much in how we treat them, but in how crippling they can be. How much of your life they seem to consume. And fuck all, that’s hard to deal with. I’m not one of those people. You know the ones who tell you it’s all in your head. That I’m making it up. That you could get better if only you really want to. I’m here to tell you that’s horse shit. That sometimes this kind of suffering is what you need. I’m not saying you have to suffer for your art. But it doesn’t hurt. And sometimes a dose of anguish really can be your catalyst. Mental irregularities come in several different flavors. None of them simple. No one like the last. Sometimes in depressive states, I write my best work. But I never write faster than I do in mania.  But that’s part of what makes them fascinating. And messy. How much do you need messy? Probably more than you think. There is but one golden rule to being creative. One thing you must avoid at all cost. And that’s stasis. The moment you find yourself too still, your art is dying.  And the day you realize that your art is dying, you have to change. That’s where a little instability comes in. I’m not saying this in the case of being entirely certifiable. Just a bit on the kooky side. Because what’s life really ought to be. Whether we think that’s what we need or not, it is. A little crazy. Sometimes more than a little.

Writer’s Block. Whether you believe it exists or not, and it just so happens that I do,all of these things can trigger writer’s block. It’s pretty common that they do, actually. The trigger of physical illness is often the worst for me. No matter how many times in my life I’ve been varying kinds of ill, It never does quite make the next time easier. It isn’t uncommon for me to write while I’m in the hospital. It’s odd, but it’s my pattern. What about you, my loves? Have you noticed any kinds of patterns when you’re physically or otherwise  not up to par? Let me know.


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