Monday 19 August 2019

Spoonie Writer: Writing When You Can Revistied


I haven't written on this subject in a long while and it felt like, since I was revisiting over post similar to this one, that it was a good one to focus on. If you're interested, the first post can be found here. I will just clarify that a spoonie is someone who has, through mental or physical disabilities and conditions, limited energy that impacts how much they can do in a day. I started these pieces because I felt very much like a lot of the usual writing advice posts that I saw focused on getting as much done as possible in one day, and didn't really account for those of us who just... can't.

So, in the time since I first talked about this, I have been dealing with a number of new health conditions. I have also gotten a whole lot more organised not just with my working life, but my personal one too. I have a routine that helps me stay on track with my goals, but also allows me time to rest, recuperate and get stuff done.

I could talk to you about organisation, but I've done that before. It is something I intend to touch on again at some point, but this piece is for the spoonies out there who know that no matter how organised they become, they will never hit that point of having written 10K words in one writing session. Or taken part in a twelve hour writeathon, or something along those lines. This isn't a jab at those that do manage that, more power to you, but this piece isn't for you.

I wanted to write something because I've noticed a lot on online spaces for writers, whether that's on Tumblr, or Twitter or somewhere else, that a lot of pressure is put on people to achieve massive amounts of work in the smallest amount of time possible. I do that to some degree, but what people don't see, and did when I did a day in my life vlog on Authortube (video found here) is that I spend half of the working day relaxing and the other half up in bed, ready to call it a night by at least 6pm.

Now I am productive, I know a lot of you know that. One of the reasons I stopped posting the monthly word, pages and chapter count for #JoWriMoGo was that it felt like I was saying to people that: hey I'm disabled and sick and managed this, why can't you? And that's not something I ever want to do. I don't want to be the disabled person that abled people use to make you feel bad. On top of that, I know that a lot of what I manage is done because I've tried and played with my schedule to make sure that I know what I can complete and what I can't. I know that there are bad days when I just can't do anything, so matter how hard I try.

So when it comes to writing, and when it comes to spoonie life, just be gentle with yourself. You know what you can manage and while it may be hard to see other people doing more, and feel that peer pressure to be up there with them, just remember that it takes as long as it takes and that's completely okay. You are battling against things they are not, and it's okay to need to take breaks. There's nothing cool about working yourself to the bone.

On top of that, there are some circumstances where you can find your limits and make sure you are as productive as you can be on your good days. Like right now, I normally don't do blog posts until the end of the month, but I wanted an extra day off and today is a good day, so I'm pushing myself just a little to get all of that done now so that I can spend the few days after Mepo relaxing and just doing no work at all.

Sometimes you have to take what you can get, and writing is no different. So even if you will never win Nano, or you'll never write for a full 12 hours, or you'll never hit 10K in one day, hell, even 2K, that's okay, because so long as you put words on the page, you're still winning. You just gotta go at your own pace. It's not a race, and you will get there.

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