A Day Off

I had not brain today. (Warning, still slightly loopy, upon review.)

Fixed dinner last night and managed to poison myself. I have always had a mild allergic reaction to onions, as far back as I can remember. Used to be I thought it was just a bad reaction, but I really am allergic. Just not all that bad.

More recently (maybe 10 years ago), I developed a severe allergic reaction to mushrooms. Hives and itching, though, instead of Anaphylaxis. I can treat it with a lot of Benadryl, both taken as a pill and then a spray on all the parts breaking out.

Not sure exactly what the allergy is, but anytime I have had cross-contamination with mushrooms it happens. Got it last night.


Had to dose myself into senescence bad.

Like most (committed) writers, I have a pretty solid daily routine that helps me maximize my words. I say committed because I know a few dilettantes who claim to be writers but never seem to. At the other end, I know a few moms with young kids, and they write when they can, even to the point of locking themselves in the bathroom for five minutes or getting some time when the kids are down for a nap.

Neither of those groups has a time blocked out to write everyday. (The moms have a damned good reason, though, and write when they can.) For me, the meds messed up my evening. Normally, I get up in the morning, shower, fix the cat breakfast (on the weekends when she’s at my house), fix myself breakfast and coffee, and then eat. While I eat, I check the news, read email, surf, etc.

Getting wound up.

On a normal day (a what???), I am writing by about 8am. Usually work until noon. Some mornings, when the juices are flowing, I might hit my 4,000 word target in 2-3 hours. Other days, longer.

Before the pandemic, I would go into town in the afternoon and run errands, or be part of a D&D group that met. Whatever.

Then, after dinner, I would do my editing. Fabulous Publisher Babe™ and I are each other’s first readers, so I have her stuff to go through first, then whatever comments have come back from her or my copy editors.

If nothing, I might watch a movie I have ripped, or read. Filling the well with creativity, as it were. I have finally reached the point where I can read fiction in my genre again for pleasure, but that took several years, because Writer-brain saw all the moving parts and got frustrated. Its not that I’m a better writer than some of these people, but frequently I am as good, and I would have done xxxxx better.

Or I’m reading something from the way-back, and THERE IS NO SETTING. Because Science Fiction is all about setting, but in those days they apparently just assumed a thinly-veiled USA/Anglo/US Military approach to everything.

I just finished reading Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. I’ve never been a fan of his, because to me he had fantastically interesting ideas, and a much better grasp on science than just about anybody else working.

What he didn’t do was character or setting. I think I got about half a dozen words of character description from the whole novel, not counting pronouns indicating biological gender.

Neither here nor there. Asimov did the same thing, but Isaac included characters in his work, and that’s why I liked him. (Just finished rereading the whole Foundation Trilogy a few months ago.)

Shaggy story cut short, I had no brain last night. Not going to edit. Sure as hell couldn’t process well enough to read any of the non-fiction on my shelf, nor the research fiction. (Star Trek: The New Voyages, from 1976, when nobody believed that Trek was ever coming back.)

Got up this morning, and everything was creaky. Low grade yuck. And a mental fog that was a lot like sitting behind a foot of glass. Two extra heavy mugs of coffee, some aspirin, a lot of water, and eight hours later I have barely enough brains to contemplate words. These words, because I’m not there enough to pick up the latest Science Officer novel (Book 11) and try to keep up with Javier and Bethany getting snarky at each other.

I even had a nap today, after all that caffeine, so that should tell you something,

Did do a little writing earlier. Worked in my favor, because I had the character’s voice, and Fabulous Publisher Babe™ wanted me to slow-walk to the novel by adding 500 or so words of depth and description that hadn’t been there. Slow it down before picking up the pacing.

The rest of the novel was written with television show pacing, which means a pretty snappy movement to things, rather than taking chapters to discuss a meal. (Food porn has its place, but it has to be in service to the plot, rather than just info-dumping about all the research you did on what they ate.)

But I lost a day to being poisoned. A bit grumpy about that, because I have been world-building a whole new universe. Lots of interesting characters. Stories and plot lines reflecting new things I have been studying about how to tell The Heroine’s Journey (2020, by Gail Carriger, https://www.amazon.com/Heroines-Journey-Writers-Readers-Culture-ebook/dp/B08D5ZSNRB. Highly recommended.)

At least now I’m kinda back. Might do something really weird and write tonight, instead of waiting until tomorrow, but I also have a lot of editing to do and now is as good a time as any.

I know I can take a day off work, but I have to fight myself about it. I didn’t used to get sick in the old days, accumulating sick days until the bosses told me I had to use them.

Later, when I worked at joints with “Use it by Dec 31 or lose it” then I just took sunshine days occasionally. That way, when everybody else took their vacation that last week of the year, I could be in an office that was utterly silent and abandoned, maybe working, but maybe just goofing off with the other half dozen folks pulling the same scam.

What about you? How hard is it for you to take self-care days, when you aren’t really sick, but maybe shouldn’t be pushing?

How do you handle that niggling in the back of your mind?