Funnily enough, Stephen King and I aren’t the same person. Though he too experiences chronic pain as the result of being struck by a car in 1999, his advice to write every day doesn’t work for me. Much of my time is spent troubleshooting in an effort to barely survive.
I am autistic, queer, chronically ill/in pain, investigating a possible minor and persisting TBI from an injury in 2016, and I have debilitating mental health disabilities. I live largely in poverty and unable to work the amount of hours I need – relying on friends and family more often than I’d like, struggling to get benefits.
I did, in fact, win November’s NaNoWriMo 2018 with 56k words. I did write the majority of those days. The toll was a lot, and I’m still recovering, hoping to try and make edits to a novel and continue the draft of another. I could make points about how it is possible for both of the facts – struggling to survive and winning NaNo – to exist within one person’s experiences…
…That NaNoWriMo fills me with joy and energy, that working on my novels is easier than other tasks because I actually find enjoyment in it instead of the monotonous echoes in my brain telling me horrible things and immobilizing me entirely. That my creative writing and other tasks require two totally different types of energy.
But mostly, I write those words, particularly the ones about Stephen King, as a head-off to the inevitable dredging up of examples of people like me who accomplish the sort of things other people think I can and should be accomplishing. (Also, Stephen King is an award-winning, prolific, author, and I am not). Many people cannot write every day, even what you think is easy, ‘a couple of sentences’ even or ‘at your own pace.’
Some days, for some of us, we cannot even begin to open a notebook or computer document. We are consumed by our jobs, our family, our poverty, our illnesses and conditions, our stressors great and small. Also, maybe there are days we could force ourselves to write anyway, but at what cost? At what point should we sacrifice tomorrow, or maybe even the next week or month, for the sake of writing every day?
Certainly, there are a variety of writing communities, each with their own guidelines and ideas, and hopefully every writer can find a home somewhere. But I know I and many others will not be able to find homes in places that require us to ‘write every day.’
Some reading on writing communities and disability
- Are Writing Communities a ‘Game for the Healthy?’
- What Does It Mean to Be A Disabled Writer?
- Writing Culture Has An Ableism Problem