Amazing what a little punctuation will do, isn’t it. A week ago Wednesday I signed a new ghostwriting contract. Friday I canceled a regular afternoon meeting and went to bed. Saturday or early Sunday morning I woke up and decided if my throat stayed that sore I’d have to turn myself into a hospital or urgent care or something. As you might suspect, when I woke up my throat wasn’t sore at all – just the rest of my body.
Apparently I’ve just come through a bout of flu. I certainly had almost all the symptoms Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) talks about. The headaches coupled with a cough drove me slightly mad for a day or so… coughing made my head pound – you know how it goes.
The thing that startled me the most, however, as and still is, the fatigue. Good grief. Lethargy, brain fog. Yesterday afternoon I realized I’d come to enough to be bored! That’s a good symptom for me – it signals the return of some energy.
This morning I’ve managed to do the dishes and answer some email, etc. etc. But here’s the message for freelancers:
- No one is going to give you sick pay. (I remember the first time I got sick pay from a job job – I thought someone had made a mistake.) No sick pay is just one more good reason to have a hefty prudent reserve. Sure, you won’t go broke if you’re out a week or two, but you’ll worry less if you know you’ve got money to pay for the basics.
- Your clients will understand. I’ve yet to have a client not understand that when I say I’m sick I truly mean it. Of course, I have a reputation for delivering on time and on budget, but even new clients have been nothing but truly sympathetic when I’ve been down with a cold or the flu. One even brought me chicken soup! That’s client loyalty.
- You will get behind. Generally the quickest way to wellness is tons and tons of rest along with whatever nostrums and medication is appropriate. That means not struggling to get the writing done when you should be sleeping. Besides, I’ll bet your like me and when you’re really sick you’re writing and editing is, well, less than your usual magic with words.
- You’ll be even further behind on email and phone messages. Phone calls you can return. Those email subscriptions and spam, however, make me glad I can delete a bunch at a time.
- You will get caught up. Once you start feeling human, you need to start working again. Go carefully here. It’s so tempting to push. Don’t. You can push yourself right back to being sick. Take a look at what needs to be done first, second, third, etc. If a deadline is looming see if you can’t push it back a day or two. Most editors and clients will understand. Get extra rest that first few days back. Get some gentle exercise, outdoors if possible.
How do you handle it when you get sick?