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Sick Days

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

When David Allen discusses his system Getting Things Done (GTD), he says:

Whatever configuration you choose in tools like To Do, be careful not to overcomplicate it to the point where you can only maintain it when you are at your peak of mental clarity. It's too easy to be out of that mindset and have the whole system fall apart. Your GTD tools should be complex enough to manage your workflow, but simple enough that if you were sick in bed with the flu, you could still easily maintain them.

You could employ a similar approach for your writing practice. You may be able to work 6-8 hours a day writing or get thousands of words on the page, but what happens when you're sick? Can you write those words when your body aches, your head hurts, and your nose can't stop running?

If you can barely write, what is your bare minimum? Are you still able to show up?

Maybe you can't write thousands of words, but what about 200-300? Or maybe less? What if that's too much? Could you read or review your notes or sketch out an outline? What are you capable of?

But also, realize that you don't have to write. Your physical health— as well as your mental and emotional health—is allowed to rest and heal. Working when you're not up to the task doesn't make you stronger. It just sets foolish expectations that could lead to burnout or worse.

We all get sick, and we're allowed to heal. Work if you can or rest. Writing is a marathon over time; thinking you should push hard through the pain only leads to failure.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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