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Getting Prepared: How to Write When You Can’t




I got sidelined with a cold that turned into bronchitis. But being a writer means there’s no one else to do the work. Keeping up with a blog and a novel and Twitter doesn’t magically get done by elves when something like this happens. And it doesn’t have to be getting sick that keeps you from the work. It’s anything that’s unexpected and unavoidable—a flooded basement, a friend’s need for your shoulder, a surprise visit from family….The list is endless.

I knew enough not to work on my novel while under the fog of prescription cough syrup and skipped a week here, but managed to continue Tweeting. Then I pulled together a blog entry last week. How? I had two files.

One file contained a list of blog topics and a rough draft for each. The second contained a list of Tweets I wrote ahead of time—either information or quotes I liked. It still took effort to do and a day was skipped here and there, but I kept up my side of the business. That’s the thing to remember. Writing is a business. Are you prepared?

Make those lists. Write those drafts. Make sure you’re covered for the times when there’s no time to do the work. I’d suggest two weeks’ worth of Tweets and at least a month of blog topics. Avoid time-sensitive topics that would be obsolete by the time you need to use them. There are plenty of universal themes and thoughts that are timeless. Do it now. You’ll be glad later.


* Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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