I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front lately. I miss talking to people and discussing writing and productivity, but the truth is I just don’t have the energy. I’ve been struggling on and off since the book launch, and the last few weeks it’s been really bad. I manage to get to work and somehow function there, but when I get home I’m ready for a nap. I try to soldier on, get some editing done, but progress is slow.

I don’t want to neglect the blog, but my fiction comes first.

So if I blog intermittently over the next few months I apologise. Once What Happens in London is out and my health is on the mend I’m hoping to be in a better place to tell you all how to be really productive no matter what, but in the meantime here’s how to write when your health is working against you…

How to be productive when your health is working against you


Which project means the most to you?

Which do your readers want to see next?

What project makes you smile after a long day?

Work out what’s a) important to you, and b) important to your readers, then go from there.

Break it into Smaller Chunks

This isn’t just about marginal gains. Breaking it down into smaller chunks when you have little to no energy means that you still accomplish something. Instead of a chapter, work on a scene or a page or even just a paragraph. No matter how small the section you work on, something is better than nothing.

Pace yourself

Take your time. Break your writing sessions up. Do small, short bursts instead of longer ones.

Know your limits

We all have our limits. Being aware of what they are helps us to not push ourselves too far and risk making ourselves more ill.

Be flexible

Having goals in mind keeps us focused. Poor health—and sometimes life in general—can get in the way of those goals. Accept that. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a deadline. You’re not running on a full tank of fuel. You’re allowed to slow down.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

This is the number one thing I learned from publishing What Happens in New York.

Putting too much pressure on yourself causes unnecessary stress. Work out why you’re working so hard and fast towards your goal. Is it worth it?

If the answer is no, slam on the brakes.

At the end of the day…

…nothing is more important than your health. You have to put that first. If writing stresses you out or you’re not enjoying it, take a step back while you heal then go back to it when you’re ready.