It's often a toss-up between the two, and lately sleep has won. However, I've found in order to evade sleep deprivation, I am only inviting writing deprivation. I've neglected my writing, and I am paying the price. Oddly enough, I am finding that the symptoms for writing deprivation closely resemble those of sleep deprivation.
You may recognize a few or all of the following:
As writing is time YOU take for YOURSELF, you find yourself a LITTLE MORE IRATE if you do not take this time. IN FACT, YOU MAY TAKE TO BLOGGING IN ALL CAPS.
INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE:
Being out of writing practice, you find it difficult to concentrate on your manuscript, and instead you turn to blogging, Facebook, and Twitter for inspiration.
When you return to writing after so long, you find you have forgotten a few essentials, peppering your manuscript with adverbs and tagging everything spoken.
Everyday you see your laptop sitting neglected and unopened, you feel sad.
You start to feel a little heartsick because you miss your make-believe friends, especially as their very existence depends on you.
Stressed-induced hypertension may occur because you wanted to get your manuscript out to agents months ago. I mean, if only you would STOP SLEEPING, you would be sitting on the next NYT bestseller, right?
Whole passages of dialogue come to you, but you put off writing them down. As a result of consciously suppressing these voices, your beloved characters' speech may begin to slur just before falling silent.
Your typing fingeres have lain idle much too long, and sometimes your fingers begin to twitch as you start to type thoughts and ideas into space. These twitches are often mistaken for tremors.
Sometimes your characters come to you. They are mad. Very mad. Stop talking to me.
I have concluded since all above symptoms of writing deprivation so closely match those of sleep deprivation, EVERYTHING must be considered. Therefore, when I read the experts' report that sleep deprivation can actually be fatal (determined by a bunch of very tired, now-dead mice) I decided to find a better balance between sleeping and writing. Yes, if you stop writing, it may kill you. And I choose life.