If you’re a serious writer, then writing is a part-time/full-time job that you don’t (necessarily) get paid for. As such, it should be treated with the same seriousness as your day job. If you have a headache, you don’t call in sick for your real job, do you? Don’t play hooky to hang out with your significant other, don’t put it aside for a a day at the beach. Most people go into their day jobs and work the time they are scheduled, then go home and use their free time then. We scream “writer’s block!” and “procrastination!” like crazy… but if you can buckle down and kick NaNoWriMo’s butt… then why can’t you finish a chapter in a week? Fill out a character sketch today?
There are, of course, legitimate reasons not to be writing, just as there are legitimate reasons not to go into work. For example, maybe your grandmother died and you are mourning. That’s a pretty legit reason to me – we need to take care of ourselves. Personally, I have called sick out of work the last few days and have not been writing, either, because I have been (almost literally) vomiting my brains out. If we cannot function as people, how can we be expected to be productive?
The difference between writing (casually) and our day job is that we tend to be a little more merciful and lenient with ourselves than our bosses are. There is the extra stress and pressure: “You know, there’s really nobody to cover you, you’re really letting us down,” is a common mantra that the ole supervisor may play. Who’s going to say that to us about our writing? If you aren’t a house-published author… probably nobody.
That doesn’t mean we should give up on ourselves, though. Take the day we need to recover, come back to our old selves. Become motivated, excited. Use the sick time to come up with new sub plots! There’s not a lot else to do but think when you’re lying sick in bed… every moment, even if you are physically unable to lift a pen, can be used in our writing experience. So make every moment count – not only in your writing, but in your life.
Oh, and make sure you drink plenty of water and take some Vitamin C.