Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it.

And everything was fine until the next to the last evening there.

I started to get a sore throat and swollen glands, much like Sunny had suffered through a few weeks prior to our vacation. Unlike her, however, I was about to get on and off planes for the next 28 hours.

In a word: appalling.

I spent the last full day of vacation hunkered down in the hotel, knowing this was going to be bad. Bangkok to Tokyo, Tokyo to Houston, and Houston to Tampa. All with little sleep, and feeling like death on toast.

Of course, I had at least one flight with a person next to me who was coughing and hacking. Yes, things can always get worse.

And Then: Back to Work!

The really fun part about all this was knowing that we were coming back on Thanksgiving day, all the doctors’ offices would be closed for the holiday, and I had to get back to running my business right away.

By the night after Thanksgiving, I was so sick, I thought I’d have to check into the emergency room: sinus infection, upper respiratory infection, and mucus forming in the corner of my right eye so fast it would blur my vision. Seriously.

But that didn’t mean I got to cancel everything for the next week. I’d just been off for two weeks, after all, so no rest for the weary. I got antibiotics and a steroid pack from a walk-in clinic, and prepared for the worst.

By Monday I was about 5% better, but I still had a commitment speaking to the Bay Area Professional Writers Guild. I dreaded it, knowing what kind of shape I was going to be in.

So What’s a Sick Author, Speaker, Publisher to Do?

While I sat dreading my talk, I remembered something I heard Larry Winget say: “When you’re the speaker, you don’t get to be sick.”

It’s true. There’s no one to substitute for you in that situation. You have to show up and give 100% even if you feel like crap.

I showed up and delivered as much value as I could in thirty minutes, the allotted time. In spite of how sick I was, the attendees said it was excellent. So, mission accomplished.

That wasn’t all, either: I had a project to write for a client that had to be completed that week, and I got another project later in the week from a different client. And those had to be done, too. I’m running a business here. It’s not a hobby.

So that’s my blog post for today. Do you have to take care of yourself when you’re sick? Of course. But do you get paid sick days when you’re a solo entrepreneur? Do you get to just, you know, not work?

Nope.

More on Literary Fiction

While I'm recovering from some oral surgery I had last Friday, I'm inclined to just rest and update my blog another time. But I'll be on vacation soon, so I'd rather post something than nothing. With that, I recommend blog readers check out my fellow literary author,...
indie author

What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business

As someone who’s spent the better part of the past 20 years making his living as a writer, I definitely have some opinions on what works and what doesn’t in this business. However, there is a subset of that 20 years, and that’s the novelist part of the equation. Some...
relax

Five Ways to Relax During Quarantine

​I thought a good blog post this week would be on how to unwind—not just during our current era of quarantine and “social distancing,” but on any day off. What my wife calls a holiday. That could be any time, right? I’ve been running so hard lately, I've barely had...
anti-vaxxer

Anti-Vaxxer Hysteria and the Mo-ron Contingent

I can’t help but wonder: what kind of idiot do you have to be to believe that Bill Gates has nothing better to do than follow you around while you schlep to Wal-Mart, pick up your dry cleaning, and eat the free breadsticks at Olive Garden? I've always got my cell...
artists

Calling All Artists

This week's blog post is going to be super short: if you've ever read the blog, you’ll know I'm posting often about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel in 2019, and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on finding artists first. I put out a call for graphic...
Whizzers

Talking About A Metaphysical Work

On July 21st, I launched my fifth full-length work of fiction, Whizzers. I spent years working on about the first 30% of the novel, then burned through the remaining 70% from late 2018 through March 2019.So now it's the thing on the front burner. When I finished my...
story

The Power of Story

It’s been a noisy week in Tampa… In the mid-1990s, I felt like I had a surplus of free time. A new transplant to Florida, I worked a menial job in a mortgage company, spent my evenings tightening up two out of my three Great American Novels, and trying to live a bit...
impostor

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #3: Impostor Syndrome, aka The Self-Confidence Deficit

“The most helpful quality a writer can cultivate is self-confidence—arrogance, if you can manage it. You write to impose yourself on the world, and you have to believe in your own ability when the world shows no sign of agreeing with you.”  —Hilary Mantel  ...

Taking a Page from the Dylan Playbook?

Although he doesn't use the term himself, recent Nobel winner Bob Dylan's relentless touring has been referred to as the Never-Ending Tour. Taking a page from the Dylan playbook might seem like a weird idea for an author, but recently I have thought about doing just...
author

Are Authors Typically Obsessive-Compulsive?

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in author blogs toward the confessional. After all, no one wants to read about your characters all the time, and God knows that readers don’t want to read about marketing. They want to know something about you. Happy to oblige. Although...