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  • Writer's picturejessica bruyere

Writing With Migraines Is An Endurance Sport

Today is a migraine day. Yesterday was a migraine day. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, filled with migraines and meds and trips to the doctors. Writing has taken a backseat to surviving. I’m sure I’m not alone in the struggle to keep active in my writing while managing a chronic health issue. While I was at my writer’s conference a few weeks ago, my workshop facilitator called writing an endurance activity. I think migraines and other chronic illnesses are also endurance sports.


When you’re training for an endurance sport, you start small and work your way up. You train for weeks or months for the event. Migraines don’t give you that option. They show up when they feel like it. You may know what triggers them and you can avoid those triggers, but sometimes you get them anyway. You have them for the duration they choose to stick with you. However, writing with migraines is a specialty endurance sport. You have to start small and work your way up.

The first step is to take the medications prescribed to you and see how you feel. You need to take care of yourself and listen to your body. Only you know how you feel and if you’re up for writing on any given day.


Next, make sure you have a nice, quiet, dark room. I write with the Scrivener program, so if I have a migraine I’ll switch it to the dark mode. You can access it by going to the menu, selecting View, and selecting Composition Mode. You can exit out of this by hitting the Esc key on your keyboard. This really takes the strain off your eyes.

Once you’re properly medicated and in your quiet, dark room, try to write for five minutes and then take a break. See how you feel. If you still feel relatively pain-free, try to write for ten minutes. But remember, this is an endurance sport and you’re just training. You’re not going to try to write for two hours on the first day. Do little bursts with rest breaks in between for as long as you feel up to it. Remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body.


Now, celebrate your success, no matter how small! If you get ten minutes of writing on a migraine day, you should be proud of yourself.


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