Friday 30 May 2014

Spoonie Writer: Writing In Hospital

Spoonie Writer: Writing In Hospital

I have always said that one of the good things about being a writer in addition to having conditions that mean I spend time in the hospital is that I can pick it all up and take it with me. I have my book notes, I have a tablet (and before that, I had a laptop) and as long as I'm feeling well enough, I can write from anywhere. The same can't be said for many other professions. As someone who spends a lot of the time stuck in a bed attached to a variety of machines, it's a blessing on its own that I can write because it gives me something to do to fill the monotonous hours of plain old boredom.

I have become quite the expert at preparing my entertainment during hospital visits. Due to the severity of my conditions and the fact that things can change in a heartbeat, my carer and I have developed a good plan for what needs to be packed into my hospital bag and taken along with me whether I travel by car or ambulance. Here are my four tips for things a spoonie writer should try to take with them when they have to spend time in hospital.

I know that when I first go into hospital, I'm usually not well enough to even think about writing, but having a tablet that is highly portable and loaded up with all my files and information means that when I finally do feel better, I can write bits and pieces here and there. It also means that I can play games when I'm bored and stay connected to the outside world with Facebook and Tumblr. I have a bag that is solely for my book stuff and has a special padded tablet section which means I can keep it all to hand, plus those over-the-bed tables are perfect for such a reason.

Before I had a Kindle, I would have to limit the number of books I could take with me, and my carer would be in charge of replenishing my supply during her daily visits. Now that I do have a Kindle, I can read as much as I like without the worry of not having something to turn to when I finish the last one. It's also a good way to take a break from all the stuff happening surrounding you and it gives you a chance to slip into another world where you don't feel awful.

Other than the obvious reason, having a phone with a 3G connection is essential for when you're in hospital. You need to be able to call a friend when you're having a bad time, but you also need to keep up to date with everything else happening beyond the hospital perimeter. As I said in a previous piece, the world does not stop because you're sick. In terms of writing, it means that you're able to fact check pieces as well as update your Facebook page, and keep in touch with other writers and groups that you're a member of.

And finally, #4 - THE MUNDANE CAN BE DONE
If you're too sick to write, but not so sick that you just sleep all the time, you can get some other, more boring parts of writing done. You can do some research that's easy to dip in and out of. You can compose emails (though don't send them until you're sure they're not full of gobbledygook!) and you can think about plot lines that you've yet to use or that may be coming up in future chapters. All of the stuff that you wouldn't normally have time to do because you're too busy actually writing!

Of course, all of this is dependant on how sick you are, how long you're going to be in hospital and loads of other variables, but this is my essentials list. I also have a portable DVD player and some DVD box-sets that I have seen over and over but can still enjoy because when I'm too sick to concentrate it's nice to have something to fill the quietness without needing me to engage my brain too much. If you have any of your own tips, add them to the comments :D

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