17.44: Bodies, Why? (Part II: Working Through Disability)

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Fran Wilde, C.L. Polk, and Howard Tayler

Let’s talk for a bit about writing while disabled. This can mean anything from scheduling your craft around doctor’s appointments, to learning to operate on a limited budget as defined by your body.

You might be asking “I’m not disabled, so how does this pertain to me?” Well… you’re not disabled currently. Eventually, as we age, we all experience disability.

Liner Notes: Howard tweeted about his experience at the hand clinic.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


This is a process homework. Explore your writing space and schedule. Take stock of the tools you have in place to take care of your physical needs while you work—the lighting, your chair, how often you stretch, eat, and hydrate. Then make a list of what you think might be missing.

One for All, by Lillie Lainhoff

5 thoughts on “17.44: Bodies, Why? (Part II: Working Through Disability)”

  1. This week, Mary Robinette, Fran, Chelsea, and Howard tackled the issue of writing through disability. Hey, you got a pain in your hand? Fill out this form so we can treat you! You mean I don’t have to have pain? To breathe or move, that is the question? Plenty of useful anecdotes and discussion that you can read now in the transcript in the archives.

  2. At age 14, I partially lost the use of my dominant hand. Over the next 5 years doctors tried to figure out what was wrong and to create surgical/orthopedic fixes. Mostly, I just traded one set of issues for a new set caused by the surgeries. The summer before my junior year in college I had reconstructive surgery on my hand to try to rebuild strength and control. This sounds like a good thing, but I was a biochemistry major and it was my dominant hand. I came out of surgery with my hand in a caste for months. As a result, I had to teach myself to write and draw chemical structures with the opposite hand. In many ways, this challenge set me on a path where I just learned to compensate for my disability in ways that resulted in few people even noticing the disability unless it was pointed out.

    Years later, when my younger brother showed up with the same neurological issue in his hand we realized the whole thing was genetic. Now, as a college professor, it is just something we talk about in class.

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