The Dangerous Life of an Author
The Dangerous Life of an Author
With writing, or in fact with any creative pursuit, there is a compulsion – you just have to do it, and this compulsion can lead to the dangerous life of an author.
Occupational health hazard
This raises the question – is writing an occupational health hazard?
When creating a manuscript think about the long hours that are spent hunched over the computer. Then there is the strain on the eyes – staring at a computer screen for hours and hours at a time.
And possibly for some, there is the drinking – those multiple sips of wine. Creativity is often fuelled by alcohol because it may release inhibitions and stimulate the muse.
Then there is the caffeine hit – the endless cups of coffee or the favourite snacks.
Consider the long-term effects on the body of spending all this time at the computer, typing away, looking at the screen, and sipping away.
Working on a manuscript can be obsessive. It may mean never moving away from the computer. You become so involved in the creative pursuit that you don’t even think about what all of this may be doing to your body.
The compulsive act of writing leading to long hours of sedentary activity can result in poor posture, eye strain, and repetitive strain injuries to your wrists and fingers.
Finally, when you have thoroughly exhausted yourself you hit the sack, sleep for awhile, and then start all over again.
Unfortunately, the sedentary life of an author can be dangerous.
Chronic health issues
Writing is an occupational health hazard if you are not careful. It can lead to all sorts of unpleasant, chronic health problems ranging from obesity to cardiovascular disease not to mention the dangers of poor posture.
Here are a few tips to avoid falling down the rabbit hole.
Tips for avoiding the dangers
- Think about a more ergonomically-conscious workspace.
- Reduce the time you spend sitting in front of the computer. Every 30 minutes get up and move.
- Try standing up to work at your computer – invest in a convertible standing desk. Standing may result in health benefits such as lowering the risk of weight gain and obesity, reducing back pain, improving mood and boosting energy levels.
- Set a timer so that every 60 or 90 minutes there is a reminder to go for a short walk. Or you may invest in an exercise bike, or do some stretches.
- Spending hour after hour staring at the computer screen can result in eyestrain. In addition to working on your computer, you’ll be looking at other digital devices as well – your tablet, smartphone, or smart TV. Take steps to combat the effects of eyestrain.
- Being hunched over the computer for long periods of time may result in bad posture. This in turn can result in neck and back pain, headaches, poor circulation or hand and wrist pain, as well as permanent damage, if not rectified early in the piece.
- To combat the adverse effects of the writing lifestyle build regular exercise into your daily life and move your body as often as possible.
Daily exercise will boost your energy, keep your weight in control, and help avoid some nasty diseases that occur as a result of inactivity.
When your whole life revolves around your writing aim for a work-lifestyle balance, and become a healthier writer.
Look after your body and make it your number one priority when you are writing.
Author and Coach