Developing your craft has many challenges. Developing your writing craft while living with a debilitating disease has an entirely different set of circumstances.

Those of us with an ongoing illness often feel compelled to share our stories through words. To do so, we must take inventory of our unique circumstances. If not, the stories we are called to share quietly reside in a graveyard of silence. Going nowhere, reaching no one.

But reach others, they must.

How can we develop our craft with a debilitating disease?

Develop Good Management Skills

Writers with chronic disease must manage their physical challenges in order to maximize their effectiveness. We do that by assessing things other writers do not have to consider.

When are our minds the clearest? What time of day do we have the best physical strength and presence? How and when are we most affected by medication? Have we had a good night’s rest? Are we writing on a full tank, or running on empty. What is our pain level today? Is it going to distract, or are we able to work through the pain?

I know my best time of day is early morning. Therefore, I schedule my writing time for early mornings.

Taking timeouts to stretch and walk makes sitting at my desk more tolerable.

We take these things (and more) into consideration, and we work within the framework of our limitations. We do not push through a bad day.

Create a Comfortable Working Space

Creating a comfortable working space to accommodate my physical challenges determines my productivity. Stretching for things beyond my reach and dragging them to myself will only hinder the amount of time I can work.

I created space that works for my body and not against it.

A comfortable chair. Warm lighting that does not ignite fireworks behind my eyes.

I may need to write from the confines of my sofa or bed. Soft pillows and a lap desk make this possible.

Build in Margin to Compensate for Physical Challenges

A writing schedule with ample amount of margin to meet deadlines cannot be negotiated. Wisdom to choose wisely the assignments you can finish and not taking on more than you know your body is able to do are keys to good margin.

That means knowing my best yes will often mean no. Accepting projects that work with my schedule and doctor’s appointments is a must.

A calendar that is too full will overwhelm me, and I know that it will take me away from my desk and my writing.

The last thing any writer needs is to push out work that is below par because we are pushing against a last minute deadline.

Built-in margin is necessary to compensate for physical challenges.

Accept Physical Challenges

Wisdom is accepting the physical challenges I face and making the necessary adjustments to make writing a joy rather than a hardship.

Learning to let go of what I cannot do today and devoting time to rest makes tomorrow a better day.

I cannot change my physical challenges. I must learn to manage my limitations within the framework of my health.

Learning to give my body grace when grace is needed, grieving the old, and obediently walking forward in the new.

Acceptance, management, margin, and space give me the ability to sharpen my craft and do the thing I love: sharing words, sharing stories, and cultivating courage under challenging circumstances.

Writers with chronic disease must manage their limitations in order to maximize their effectiveness.Click To Tweet
A writing schedule with ample amount of margin to meet deadlines cannot be negotiated.Click To Tweet
Create a working space that works for your body and not against it.Click To Tweet
Wisdom is accepting the challenges we face and making the necessary adjustments to make writing a joy rather than a hardship.Click To Tweet