Ian Dury’s song Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick from way back when is still one of the funkiest, funniest songs around. Unfortunately, Ian is no more among us, hit himself by a chronic illness which he fought to the bitter end. The way he knew how. With Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, but also with an all-encompassing humour and life energy and great songwriting.
So I guess everybody gets hit sometimes by something, particularly when illnesses are concerned - from a ‘simple’ cold to something quite hot, like burnt fingers. Let's not get into something more serious, you wouldn’t wish it on anybody, no matter how much you think they might deserve it. So what has all this to do with freelance writers?
Well, first of all, freelance writers get hit by illnesses like absolutely everybody else. Secondly, in a strange way, illnesses in a way actually operate like they do - they hit at times that seem to be more or less freely set up, and they have absolutely no concern what your schedule might be, whether you have an article or a book due tomorrow or in a week. So what do you do as a freelancer, presuming and sincerely hoping you still have enough capacities on you?
You have to cope. Of course, everybody’s been sick before one way or the other and is aware that is not at all simple as it can be said. Do you give up work completely, deadlines or no deadlines and recuperate fully, or do you soldier on in spite of everything that is ailing you? Neither, or both, whichever way you want. You do have to recuperate properly, or you either will not be able to function properly, body and/or mind (usually both) and the work will suffer. You can still(if possible) use that time to gather your thoughts, ideas and see how to proceed in the best and most efficient manner possible. But then, the work itself can and should be a part of the healing process and one of the best ways to subdue ‘the hitter’. You just have to strike the right balance, so that you can stay in the lead, get well and not let the work suffer too much (it will have to suffer some, accept it). It will also give you the possibility to truly enjoy that Ian Dury song, dance, and work at the same time.