I was reading through my rss feeds last night, as I am wont to do, and came across a piece of writing advice that I’ve seen many times:
“Don’t have time to write? Get up an hour earlier – or better, two hours earlier – and write!”
I do know that this works for some people, but it’s just struck me this morning how damn ableist this kind of advice is.
For example, you have someone like me. I deal with chronic illness on a daily basis, and to manage the worst of the illness, I need to move, I need to eat vaguely decently, I need to rest.
If I forced myself to get up an hour or two earlier to write, I would be a wreck. I hate that I need more sleep than most people. Ideally, I need about nine or ten hours a night. Most nights I get about eight. I can coast on one night of six or seven, but it hurts. Anything less than that, and I am not functional.
I know it’s a pretty obvious thing to complain about, but I am complaining anyway. I always feel like people who dole out this kind of advice are implying that if you can’t sacrifice sleep to write, then you’re just not determined enough to be a writer, dammit. It’s a great idea if you can manage it without sacrificing your health (and that goes for people without chronic illness as well), but it’s not the only way.
Writing is a priority for me, but so is my family and my health. There has to be a balance.