Chronic Migraine, Writing

5 Ways to Keep Writing When Your Migraines Get in the Way

5_ways_to_keep_writing_when_migrainesIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know one of the biggest obstacles in my life is my health. Like any good writer, I have daily (or weekly!) goals I aim for to make sure the novel in my head ends up as a fatty word document in my hand.

But how can you continue making progress on a novel and grow as a writer when migraines keep you clinging to ice packs and pain killers like a koala to a tree?

Here are 5 ways to keep writing and growing despite those migraines:

1. Watch more movies. What?? I can hear your thoughts from here, but stay with me. Due to time constraints, great movies need to be perfected in pacing, and yet still pull off world building and character development and—oh, yes—the plot.

Studying movies—why they work and don’t work—is a good way to analyze all those elements of story without ever getting off the couch.

2. Listen to audiobooks. A good writer must read well. But when reading aggravates, there’s only one option: audiobooks. You can still continue to learn while listening to the written word.

[Audiobooks can be expensive, but you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget to get your hands on some. Most libraries have a decent selection of audiobooks. If you belong to more than one library community, you double your chances of finding what you want.

Also, older kindles have a read-aloud function (not sure about the newer ones or nooks) for those who want to read newer releases.]

3. Picture your scenes. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotting fiend, picture your characters and think through the next scene in your book. Don’t forget all 5 senses! When you’re at your laptop again, you’ve already visualized the next step, allowing the words to pump out more quickly while retaining the integrity of your writing process.

Even though I outline in advance, I find more plot layers present themselves when I spend migraine-time visualizing my characters and story.

4. If all you can do is sleep all day, don’t worry. Keep track of your dreams. Many times your subconscious will still chew on your novel even when sleeping. As soon as you wake from your migraine-induced catnap or midnight slumber, jot down your dreams. You may find a new solution to an old problem or that your crazy dreams gives you a novel idea (yes, pun intended).

5. Creative cross-train. I am a huge believer in creative cross-training, so much so I wrote another blog post about it here. If you’re in too much pain to string three words together on the page but can manage a paintbrush or a measure of music, you’re still doing your writing a favor.

Though if you lean toward drumming, I might advise against that…

How do you keep writing when your health gets in the way?

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