Wednesday, August 22, 2018

3 Tips for the Chronically Ill Writer - Guest Post by Sara Willoughby

Writing is hard. I don’t think anyone disputes that. It’s wonderful, and exciting, and I love it, but it’s hard.

Chronic or long-term illness is also hard. Very hard. And perhaps not wonderful, or exciting, or loveable. (Unless you are referring to the bad type of exciting, then I can see your point.)

When you mix writing and illness together, sometimes it gets downright impossible.

Today, I want to share three tips I’ve learned through my own journey of writing and publishing a book while being chronically ill because I know that I’m not the only one.

1. Have mercy on yourself

Hear that? Have mercy on yourself. You already do so much within a day, just fighting to stay alive and function. It’s okay to realize that illness makes writing even harder than it already is. When illness messes things up, it’s okay to feed yourself some allergy-friendly chocolate, take a nap, and get back to it when you’re able to. Don’t blame yourself. Have mercy on yourself when you struggle to meet deadlines, when your writing isn’t all you think it should be or all it used to be. Have mercy on yourself.

2. Plan Ahead

As you probably know, planning ahead is impossible for those with a chronic illness (or two or three). Things change from day to day, minute to minute, and nothing is ever predictable. So what do I mean by “plan ahead”? I mean, plan for the unpredictable. Obviously we can’t know everything (ahem, mercy on yourself, remember?), and this isn’t meant to tell you to worry, but to plan to have flexibility. Give yourself a buffer, whether it’s by batch writing blog posts or starting on things waaaaayyyy ahead of time. Take advantage of the times you have enough spoons/energy to write. There will be times when that isn’t an option, and you can’t give yourself wiggle room. And that’s okay too. Just try your best and don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Again, the mercy thing, people!)

Make attainable goals and don’t push yourself too far. We all know what a flare feels like and pushing yourself until you crash or flare is not going to help your writing.

Trust me, I learned the hard way.

3. Don’t Give Up. Your voice is needed.

However, don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged, don’t stop fighting, don’t give up writing. God will use your writing in powerful ways.

A friend of mine struggles with the fact that she can’t travel, or drive, or do other basic things because of her illness. She worries that publishers won’t want an author who can barely take care of herself. But the very things that have prevented her from traveling, driving, etc., are the things that make her writing so beautiful. She may not know how to drive, but she does know what pain is. She knows what is is to suffer, and to find meaning, joy, and beauty in that suffering. And that is what makes her writing powerful. Her maturity, compassion, and depth of understanding shine through in her books and characters. It strikes a chord within those who read it because of how real it is.

So let me say it again: your writing is powerful. Your chronically ill voice is needed. Don’t you dare give up. Yes, the going will be tough, but did you expect otherwise? Celebrate every single achievement no matter how small, and recruit a cheerleader if you need (I think every writer needs one). Take breaks if you need to (even if it’s for years). Follow God’s leading in what He has for you to do. But don’t give up.

Illness Warrior? You got this. It won’t be easy. It will be terribly, overwhelmingly difficult. But hang in there, because God can use your voice far more that you can ever imagine. Plus, writing is fun.

About the Book:

Are you a teenager trying to navigate faith through chronic illness? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.

When sickness takes over your life, it’s a never-ending battle to make it through each day. How do you cope? How do you keep fighting? Most of all though, how do you find God in the midst of the suffering?

Through my own journey of sickness, I’ve struggled with the same questions—questions we all think but are afraid to ask. My name is Sara, and I’ve been sick with Lyme disease and more since I was fourteen.

Those questions you’re afraid to ask? I’ve asked them too—as have many others.

This book addresses topics and questions such as:

  • Why is there sickness?
  • Where is God in sickness?
  • Resting in the storm
  • How to deal with the way chronic illness changes you
  • Joy and despair
  • Hope
  • Praying through chronic illness
  • Relationships in the midst of chronic illness
  • And more!

The journey of illness is not an easy one, but hope remains. God hasn’t left us. He hasn’t forgotten us. On the contrary, He’s making diamonds out of us.

About the Author:

S. G. Willoughby is a seventeen-year-old girl with Lyme disease, toxic mold poisoning, and MCS. Currently, she resides in Arizona with her parents and two siblings. In her spare time she loves to write, read, and have adventures. She writes at FoundWhoIAmR535, and Th!nk Magazine.


  1. Replies
    1. No problem! Thanks for sharing your tips! Looking forward to reading your book! =)

  2. Thanks for this tips! I need this right now, very uplifting!


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