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Cold in My Nose, No Words in the Studio

So, this is day five of a rotten cold that followed me home from a week’s vacation with my husband, the Mighty Ginger, and that has rendered both of us a little less useful in our respective professions. As an IT professional with sick time, he can take a few days, a box of allergy and sinus medication, and curl up in bed to rest before sitting down at his computer to tackle his current project.

As a narrator, I have to approach things a little differently. One of the drawbacks of using one’s voice to earn a paycheck is the need to guard one’s health like the crown jewels. I consider staying hydrated, exercising regularly, eating well, washing hands, and getting sufficient rest to be all part of my job. Morning #coffeewalks? Part of the job. Getting to bed on time? Part of the job. Drinking at least 64 oz of water a day? Part of the job. And when I go on vacation, it’s just as important to keep those things up… but I live in Florida, and going places where there is less humidity always seems to throw me for a loop.

And so, I’m stuck with hot liquids, a face steamer, and more Kleenex than an second grade teacher on the first day of school. This isn’t a ‘fix your voice’ deal, since my throat and vocal chords are okay. This is all nose and sinuses (and maybe TMI, but hey, we’ve all had those moments full of snot and grumpies) and there’s not much to do but rest, take care of myself, and politely explain to people that there may be a delay while I recover.

So, what to do? Catch up on Netflix series? Listen to the next great audiobook in your playlist? Those are great, but if you’re like me and just not able to get the words out in your usual mellifluous manner, there are plenty of non-microphone things that you can do when you’re too froggy to be in the studio.

  1. Update your resume and review sheets. This is one of those monthly tasks that my coach, Sean Pratt, recommends for his students. Taking the time to update your resume with your recent work and new training keeps the document fresh. Getting snippets and blurbs for your review sheets means that you get the added bonus of reading the nice things that people have said about your work, even if you’re not currently able to sound as awesome.
  2. Do some social media planning. I’ve used Canva, a free service with subscription options, to create images for social media posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn. Use your non-speaking time to put some templates together to announce books that are coming up. Repurpose some of those new review blurbs into posts to lead people to your work.
  3. Prep your next script. If I can’t record, I can certainly review and prep the project on my plate. Researching pronunciations of new words and strange places that pop up in the next book is a great use of time. My script prep involves highlighting different characters, so I can always review what I’ve done to make sure that everything is consistent from one chapter to the next.
  4. Research potential projects. Take the time to look for new authors and series, either by looking at Amazon or searching authors’ groups on Facebook. Of course, you want to wait until you sound better to submit an audition, but there’s nothing keeping you from laying the groundwork now. Keep notes, jot down ideas, and pencil things in.
  5. Update your finances and sales tracking data. I know, it’s the least sexy part of being self-employed and running the one-person business of Awesome You, LLC, but it’s a necessity. If you’re not keeping track of your royalty share sales, start. Add the most recent months’ sales to your spreadsheet and see just how well you’re doing, in spite of your drippy nose. And then, open your calendar and make an appointment with yourself to do the same update the next month to stay on track.

And, by all means, if you’re really not feeling up to working, REST. Email your clients, explain the situation, and reschedule when necessary. Everyone gets sick, and communication is key. Don’t push yourself, since that will just prolong the illness, or make it worse. Invest in your success by taking care of your business and its greatest asset – your voice – and get better. The words will be there when you come back.

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