Writing With Chronic Pain

by Lynette Eason

I don’t know about y’all, but the older I get the more my body lets me know it’s not on board with the whole idea.

When I was younger, I didn’t worry about getting older. I still don’t worry about it per se, but since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, I’ve had to make a few lifestyle changes. However, in spite of all of my efforts to be healthy, there are still bad days and good days. And since I never know from day to day how I’m going to feel, I have to make the most of the good days.

So why bother with the writing? Why do something that causes me stress and pain?

Because I love what I do and I’m not willing to stop doing it. I want to live life to the fullest, to fulfill the plan that God had deemed to be for me from day one. And I know that as long as I’m relying on Him no matter how I feel, if I’m in His will, it will get done. Period.

This may sound crazy, but I write several hours a day, seven days a week. MOST weeks. In 2016, I had five full length novels and two novellas release. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, but it just kind of worked out that way. LOL. For me, I’m a fast, mostly clean, writer. I won’t say my first draft is my final draft, but it’s pretty close. So, when I’m done with a story, I’m done. At least until my beta readers and editors get ahold of it, but basically, my part is finished and I can move on to the next. That’s part of the reason I can write as much as I do and have that many books out. Not everyone has that ability, so you just have to work with what you can do and be sure not to compare yourself to anyone else. I only tell you what I do when it comes to writing through the pain, because if I can do it anyone can do it. Maybe to a lesser degree, but you can do it. I promise. And please, note, I’m not telling you that to say, “Look how awesome I am!” But to say, it can be done and I live it everyday. Now, if you add a headache or a migraine into the mix, I’m down for the count, but otherwise, I can work through it.

So, when your back hurts, your shoulders and neck are killing you, and your hips are screaming, what do you do? First, you do what you can to get the pain under control and then…

Here are a few things I do to stay on top of the writing craziness and deadlines.

Disclaimer: This is not going to be super helpful for those of you with small children so don’t want to hurt me too bad after reading this. My children are teens. One in college, one a sophomore in high school.

  1. I pray. A lot. And non-stop during the massage I treat myself to on a regular basis.
  2. I don’t clean much. I keep us from living in filth, but my kids and husband do the majority of the deep cleaning. I vacuum when I need a break from sitting and it’s good exercise. And if I do clean, it’s in spurts. I don’t try to do the whole house in one day. And I NEVER clean on days that I do laundry.
  3. I get up and move regularly. If I sit too long, my hips lock up on me and my shoulders turn into very painful rocks of muscle. I joined a gym and hired a trainer to teach me how to do a workout routine. I know not everyone can afford to do that, but if you can, once you learn the routine, you can ditch the trainer. LOL. I actually hate going to the gym, but found I feel tons better when I do, so I force myself.
  4. I work/write first thing in the morning when I’m fresh and awake. My mind definitely functions better in the morning.
  5. I eat a healthy breakfast that includes protein and some carbs. By the way, I also eat gluten free and recently, one of my doctors to me to stay away from red meat and refined, white sugar. (This is a new one and in the beginning, it nearly killed me. But once I got through the first couple of days, I could see a difference in my brain function and a reduction in my pain levels after less than a week.)
  6. I lost weight. Being overweight puts incredible strain on your body. I’ll be honest, when I started losing weight, I thought I would miraculously feel amazing. Well, it didn’t happen. I still had the pain and I still get extremely tired in the afternoons, but I know there are other health benefits I’m reaping due to the weight loss. 
  7. I nap. Yes, I know not everyone can do this. But if you can, do it. If you have little ones, nap when they nap. If you work a full time job, nap half of your lunch break and write the other half. (Yes, I did this when I was working full time and even 15 minutes of closing my eyes was surprisingly refreshing.) I’m really trying to learn to listen to my body and lie down for an hour every afternoon. I usually am able to fall asleep so I make sure I set my alarm to wake me if I need to wake up. If I don’t need to wake up, I don’t bother setting it. And yes, I still sleep at night. Most of the time. 
  8. I write some more after the nap. By this time, my kid is home from school, but he works a lot of afternoons so I can still write until my husband comes home and then we all do dinner and have family time.
  9. I learned how to say “no”. As much as I would love to do everything and be superwoman, I’m coming to grips with my limitations. I can’t teach at every conference or even attend all of the ones I’d like to attend. I can’t mentor every person who would like me to mentor him/her and I can’t even jump on every writing opportunity that comes along. And the list goes on. I simply can’t do it all. Not only due to physical limitations, but because of the time involved in a lot of the things. I still have to write my own stories! LOL.
  10. I prioritize. This is huge. For me, it’s: God, Family, Writing, and then everything else comes after this. If those three things take up my entire day then nothing else will get done. Period. And I’ve learned to be okay with that.

So, these are just a few of the things I do to keep myself healthy and able to do the job I love and am passionate about. What about you? Do you have chronic pain? What do you do to make sure you’re living life to the fullest in spite of the pain?

Because I love what I do and I’m not willing to stop doing it.~ Lynette Eason (Click to Tweet)

Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. She attended Converse College where she earned her Masters degree in Education. Lynette is the author of more than forty works of romantic suspense, with over 500,000 copies sold of trade editions. In the 2017 edition of Christian Market, she was named as one of the top five romantic suspense authors in the industry. In 2016, she won the Carol Award, the Golden Scrolls Book of the Year award as well as the Daphne Award in her category. She also finaled in several other contests. One crowning achievement that she is most proud of is the fact that she finaled in the 2016 James Patterson co-writer competition, landing in the top ten out of thousands of entries. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She teaches at writing conference across the southeast. She also travels extensively and is excited that she is getting numerous requests to speak and teach at various events.

Title Photo Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo