insight into writing when one has a chronic illness. Thank you, Rachel for such
an insightful piece.
a paralegal in a large law firm in Leeds and I also struggle with chronic
writing books as well is very much a case of careful management of both time
and energy. I know a lot of writers, particularly those writing their first novel
are in a similar position, so I thought I’d share a few things that I
discovered, mostly through trial and error, that helped me.
my first novel I set myself a writing goal of 300 words a day. I know that seems
a very small amount but it felt manageable alongside balancing my work and my
health. And here’s the thing. I often ended up writing more than that, but
knowing I only had to sit down and write 300 words meant that I sat down and
wrote nearly every day. And sitting down and writing nearly every day is how
you get that first book written!
for all writers but perhaps the most for those of us with chronic illness who
feel too exhausted to go to the gym or for a walk. On days when I know I’ll be
sitting at my desk writing for a long period of time, I set a timer for every
45 minutes and when it goes off I get up and walk around the room, or have a
stretch or dance around the kitchen for a couple of minutes. It really helps
get your energy moving again!
mean sitting cross-legged on the floor in silence (although if that floats your
boat I highly recommend it – nothing beats it for a restorative practice in
this crazy busy world). By meditation I mean allowing yourself to find time to
just be, to let your brain slip into neutral and have a rest. Not only is this
restorative but it’s also the place where I unravel the most plot holes.
Otherwise known as daydreaming, it can be done in the bath, while staring out
of the window, sitting in the garden or on a gentle walk.
sometimes as though every spare minute that you have should be spent writing. I
tried to do that and didn’t find it particularly conducive to either my health
or my writing process in the end. Give yourself time to do the other things you
love as well. Read, knit, crochet, watch TV, cook, go to a yoga class. We can
load the guilt on ourselves sometimes and buy into the idea that a lot of time
spent doing these things is wasted time but balance is important for your
energy levels and your creative brain.
stay up late writing, or to get up early to write before work, especially if we
see other writers doing the same. But when we are living with a chronic
condition, good quality rest is important – don’t compromise. Your first novel
will be done when it’s done, enjoy the process because this will probably be
the only book you write without a deadline…. And speaking of deadlines, one
last little tip…
hide my illness and pretend I was “normal” (whatever that means). It
doesn’t help, and 99.9% of people will support you in any way they can. My
agent and my publisher both know that I need flexible and generous deadlines
because of my health. I was really nervous when I broached the subject with
them but they were so helpful. So always be honest, always ask for what you
need – you’ll be surprised how much people want to help.
Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many
false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.
graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really
know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and
a yoga teacher.
spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with
her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and
very tall romantic heroes.
which the heroine is a yoga teacher. It has no autobiographical elements at
@bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy
to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is
rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….
was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was
more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late,
great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.
Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday,
urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.
unravel her future. With gorgeous lawyer Edwin Jones for company Julia not only
begins to discover her roots but she may just fall in love…
blog please contact Elaine Everest on firstname.lastname@example.org