Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Interstitial Cystitis Patients: Interested in a Stay-At-Home Career? How About Writing?

KellyOne of the toughest challenges when you have a chronic condition such as Interstitial Cystitis can be going to work when you don’t feel your best, when you may be put into a situation where you don’t have easy access to a restroom or are otherwise struggling in the workplace.

There are, however, legitimate ways to work from home, where you are only steps away from your own bathroom, heating pad and other items that you use to manage your bladder condition. One of those is writing, and I’ve been writing and publishing professionally since 1990; I was diagnosed with IC in early 2007.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you. Competition for writing jobs can be fierce and it does take a while to acclimate yourself to the professional writing world. Here are some tips to make it easier:
  1. If you want to write for a living or to supplement your income, don’t limit yourself. For example, don’t decide that you’ll only write books; this will close your mind to opportunities to write for magazines, perhaps, or to do business writing for clients with deep pockets and plenty of work to outsource. One place to find clients is on
  2. Think about it this way. Would a home improvement pro insist that he or she will only do work that requires a hammer? Of course not! This person will have wrenches and screwdrivers and many other tools of the trade. I encourage you to do the same in your writing. You might surprise yourself!
  3. Make a list of all of your specialties. Brainstorm fiercely! What do you know that many other people don’t? What have you learned at work or school that could be useful to others? Look for writing opportunities in those areas.
  4. Network. When I first started writing, that meant in-person writer’s conferences and similar events, but now there are also numerous networking opportunities to be found online. When networking, you meet editors, publishers, agents and other writers, all of whom can help you on your journey. If you are able, financially and health-wise, to attend a conference, you can find huge numbers of them at Shaw Guides. At that site, you can search for conferences by state, by time of year, by areas of interest and so forth. And, if you can come to northern Ohio on October 8th, 2011, I’d love to see you at the writer’s conference that I’m coordinating: the first annual TrueNorth Writer’s Conference.
  5. Read some of the many outstanding writers’ guides that share tips on how to successfully have a writing career. Your library will carry a selection; if you have access to inter-library loans, then that expands your possibilities even more. Be sure to check out Writer’s Market for publishing opportunities.
  6. Take your budding writing career as seriously as any other type of job. Writing at a professional level takes significant practice, just as learning to play an instrument well takes practice or learning to ballet dance beautifully takes practice. But, take heart: determination to succeed goes a long way!
  7. If you’re the type of person who wants and needs feedback on his or her work, please choose critique partners who are not friends or family members. Because of their love for you, they can’t be objective. You need someone who understands and appreciates what you’re trying to accomplish but can critique you with emotional distance.
Best of luck! You can contact me, any time, at or friend me on Facebook.
Kelly Boyer Sagert is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has published 9 books, the latest of which is the FabJob Guide to Become a Freelance Writer, and she is finishing up the co-authoring of a two-book series. She has written two commissioned plays, and has published more than 1,000 pieces of writing in magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, literary journals and more. She has also taught writing online for the company that publishes Writer’s Digest since 2000.

Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate Just Tell Me What to Eat!

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

For health care workers:  Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators 

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  1. Thank you Kelly, for this terrific article! As a writer myself, who also has interstitial cystitis, I find working from home to be a dream come true. You can even work in your pajamas if you want to. For more information about writing books, please see my book: You CAN Write a Book (

  2. I feel the same, Julie, re: a dream come true!