Recently, I was discussing con crud with a writer friend. What’s con crud, you ask? I assure you, it’s just as gross as it sounds.
This ailment got its vivid name because it tends to pop up among conference and convention goers a few days after the event in question has ended. Typical symptoms include congestion, cough, and a general feeling of malaise. I know, makes you want to sign up for even more conferences, amiright?
For years I thought that con crud was the inevitable result of being packed into a hotel or other public facility, breathing in the same recycled air as hundreds if not thousands of others, subsisting on stale coffee and cookies, and sleeping less than usual. Many anecdotal cures promise to cure the crud, ranging from taking high doses of vitamin C to eating raw garlic. They never worked, at least not for me.
But what if con crud wasn’t inevitable? What if by making a few small changes to my pre-con routine, I could avoid con crud altogether?
This called for science, and its buddy, research. In true mad scientist fashion, I used myself as a test subject.
I put my plan in motion shortly before I attended Necon this past July. During the week leading up to the event, I slept a full eight hours every night, and took at least one nap per day. I doubled my water intake, eliminated alcohol, and made sure to consume vegetables and protein at every meal. Basically, for a week I behaved like a normal healthy person, not my usual overstressed, pretzel-munching, coffee-guzzling self. And guess what?
I didn’t get con crud!
By resting, keeping myself hydrated, and eating as well as I could manage, I got my body into the best condition it could possibly be in BEFORE the con. While at the con I still drank the stale coffee, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough, but I didn’t get con crud. In fact, after four days at Necon I didn’t even have my usual post-con fatigue. In short, I felt great.
So, what does this have to do with writing? Quite a bit, actually. First of all, your creative impulses are a higher level function than talking or moving around or breathing, so when you’re not feeling 100% your body naturally diverts resources and energy to where it’s needed most. If you imagine your creative process as the top 10% of your energy, you can (probably) visualize what I mean. And have you ever tried writing when you’re sick or tired? It’s not easy.
Therefore, the better shape we keep ourselves in, the better our creative output will be. I’m not saying you should live like a monk, and ingest nothing but spinach and water and sunlight. Just take the time to take care of yourself, and know your limits. If you have a big event, a deadline looming on the horizon, or are taking part in a writing challenge (ya’ll didn’t think I’d forget to mention NaNoWriMo, did you?) be cognizant of your habits. You’ll never make your word count if you’re too tired to type.
Do you have any tip on avoiding con crud? Tell us in the comments!
I’ll be at Whipowill Stables for their open house on September 18, selling books and playing with horses. Learn more about the event here.
Sign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!
Reblogged this on A Well Read Woman Blog and commented:
Bellatrix Press Author, Jennifer Allis Provost, discusses the importance of self-care for authors and how to avoid the dreaded con crud. #SelfCare #WednesdayWisdomforWriters #WriterWednesday
I need to try this. Just in general. Being stuck in the house all the time makes it especially crucial that I take better care of myself because as soon as I step out…. GERMS! Everywhere germs! LOL! Also, all the hugging and shaking hands at conventions… OMG.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s exactly how I feel! And I refuse to be one of those people who carries hand sanitizer everywhere they go. I’m just going to stick with rest and hydration and vegetables and hope my immune system will take care of the rest.
LikeLiked by 1 person
LOl, Ben carries hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE HE GOES. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good advice! Another tip: I used to always hear that one should “rest” when coming down with something or trying to fight something off, and I’d read or watch TV and I’d still get sick. Relatively recently I read that your body does repairs when you’re in a certain stage of sleep where you’re not moving (because it would be dangerous for it to try to repair/replace cells while you were active) and realized that one doesn’t need to REST, one needs to SLEEP! And, as you’ve noted, that works!
LikeLiked by 2 people
That’s a great distinction – actual SLEEP is what’s needed, not laying in bed playing with your phone. Not that I’ve ever done that 🙂
[…] Author Jennifer Allis Provost […]
Thanks for teaching me this lovely new word! I don’t generally go to conventions but have been thinking of doing so for a while so it’s nice to be pre-warned about this; hopefully I can mitigate against it, like you say. If not, I’m sure I will enjoy spending more time in bed anyway!