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Not The Same Twenty-Four Hours: A Brief Rant by Katherine Blakeman

I am writing this as an allusion to a recent controversy on Book Twitter, which has started a discourse on whether writers should write every day. One comment I read, by someone who purports the answer ‘yes’ to that dilemma, said ‘We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, after all!’

No. No, we do not. That sentence – however well-meant – encapsulates privileged ableism in just a handful of words. And this brief rant will explain why. (DISCLAIMER: This is entirely raw and unedited. If I unintentionally offend anyone, I apologise.)

Let’s forget the ‘ableism’ aspect for a moment. Let’s focus on the ‘privileged’ aspect.

I am privileged. I have a part-time job (at the moment), I am single and I have no children. Compared to many other writers, I have very few commitments, and my hat goes off to those writers who still produce magical tomes while juggling family life, full-time jobs and/or all the other activities that make adult life… well, adult life. But despite this, I do not write every day. I don’t feel the need to. And even if I did, I still wouldn’t.

This is where the ‘ableism’ part of that statement comes in. I have chronic fatigue, and thus when I get in from work, I’m normally pretty fried. At that stage, the last thing I feel like doing is cracking out the laptop and eking the words out from my poor tired fingers. It takes me a few hours to recover from work, and I also require more sleep than other people do, both of which compromise my valuable writing time. I’m not one of those people who functions on two hours of sleep. I’m not Miranda Priestly. And I’m just one person with chronic fatigue! There are millions more.

Not to mention the myriad of other disabilities or life-restricting conditions. Someone who takes a couple of hours to get up and dressed does not have the same twenty-four hours as someone who can bound out of bed and throw on an outfit. They have significantly less time available to write – and that’s without all the other life activities that we all have to do.

Someone else asked ‘why not make time’ within one’s twenty-four hours? That is easier said than done. Writing or not writing – unless it’s someone’s full-time job and their finances depend on it – is not a life-or-death situation. It is a million times more important to eat, or drink, or sleep, or shower. Writing pales into insignificance in comparison to those. And to look down upon someone who does prioritise these things, and does have other commitments, or does have other things going on in their life, is just not right.

Not in this day and age. Not when we should know better.

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