A Writer’s Life | The Physical and Emotional Problems Writers Face
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.”
Not very cheerful, eh?
A writer’s life is full of ups and downs and struggles they face daily. We are going to cover some of the most common physical and emotional problems writers face and how to deal with them in the best possible manner.
Repetitive Strain Injury
People often have two pictures in their head when someone says they are a writer. They imagine either a bohemian who likes to indulge in alcohol, someone like Ernest Hemingway or think about a clear-headed person with a strick schedule, someone like philosopher and writer Immanuel Kant.
What people often forget to paint in that picture is the repetitive stress writers put on their hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders and the pain they feel in those areas caused by overuse.
Luckily, we live in a time where these problems can be completely solved (if you act on time) by wearing and investing in the best wrist support for typing that is going to offer proper support and can relieve pain caused by overuse.
This is a very common problem amongst writers as they have repeated movements that often cause damage to various soft tissues, muscles nerves, and tendons.
Some of the most vulnerable spots are definitely hands and wrists that can lead to some severe problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. Again, this can be avoided if you take proper precautions and wear a wrist support.
Apart from wearing wrist straps, there are also a few things you can do to avoid these problems, and those are:
- Gentle typing
- Keeping your hands warm (a homemade natural skin product will do the trick as many of them are also great for hands)
- Proper posture
It goes without saying that you should always take breaks and do some light exercises and massage your hands with a gentle cream.
Some of the exercises you can do are:
- Wrist rolls
- Shoulder rolls
- Neck rolls
- Arm stretching
All in all a writer’s job isn’t strictly physical but it can cause some physical problems other people don’t face. So, take care of your hands, because apart from your brain those are your most valuable tools.
Sitting & Backache
It’s no secret that sitting for long hours can lead to many different physical problems in the body. From backache to obesity sitting all day every day isn’t very fun. It’s no wonder that writers like Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf often wrote while standing.
Ernest Hemingway even said: “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”
Thanks for the advice, Hemingway.
The only solution to this problem is to, again, take frequent brakes and try to walk around your house or office a little and do those hand stretches while you’re at it. You can’t undo 10 hours of sitting with an hour at the gym. So stand up stretch for a while, walk and that should do the trick.
As for the problem of backache, if you are facing this problem constantly even after you’ve stretched, you need to think about your posture. And you should check your posture not just when you are writing but also during the day while you’re watching TV, reading and even while standing.
If you have someone at home who can massage your back and neck use that to your advantage. If not, treating yourself with the occasional massage at a spa will be heaven, not only for your back but also for your soul.
Ah, the perks of staring at the brightly lit screen all day.
Not only can this lead to migraines and blurred vision, but it can also damage your eyesight. The first two problems are often caused because, believe or not, while we stare at the screen we tend to blink less which leads which then leads to “dry eye”.
For your eyes to stay safe try doing some of these things:
- Try to move your eyes in various direction
- Try to have breaks and look at near and far object (look out of the window)
- Change up your lighting
Try doing these things every 20 minutes or so to help your eyes have the proper movement.
If possible try working in a coffee shop, because our eye is naturally drawn to “moving objects” so when someone passes by you won’t help but look at them.
Also, keep your screen as far from your eyes as you can.
And if you start incorporating those light exercises mentioned before you can easily “train” your eyes as well.
There is a common belief amongst people that writers are depressed and gloomy people who only get inspired by the feeling of desperation and what not.
But the truth is creative people are much more prone to depression than let’s say “normal” people. So that stereotype has a little truth in it.
Many writers feel depression because of the nature of their work which is very solitary.
Any creative freelancer, for that matter, that works from home can at some point start to feel isolated. Although for some isolation is a form of freedom, for other this “freedom” can feel like a curse.
Just like Jean-Paul Sartre said: “Man is condemned to be free.”
Although this quote has a much different meaning and is tightly connected to his philosophy we will use it here is as adequate.
Furthermore, if you are a writer who doesn’t write for himself or for the sheer pleasure of writing, daily challenges writers face from demanding and not so pleasant clients can lead anyone to the feeling of despair.
But authors aren’t spared from these troubles either especially if they receive a number of rejection letters from editors, publishers or agents. Not to mention the “well-meaning” family and friends who encourage you to find a “real job”. And what is that real job? Nobody knows.
But how come are writers more depressed than other creative individuals? Well, this may sound funny, but they move a lot more than writers. Think about it, dancers, musicians even sculptors move more and produce much more endorphins than writers.
So we guess the only solution to this problem is to get your body moving.
Hopefully, this list has given you an insight into a writer’s life (if you are not a writer) and helped writers understand that they are not alone and that most of the writers face the same problems. We did our best to avoid sounding like a health guru giving lifestyle advice but don’t forget to move and drink water…