PD Martin's Blog

January 5, 2012

Health hazards of being a writer

Filed under: Murderati blogs,Writing — PD Martin @ 4:08 am

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking this sounds like a bizarre blog title. And I guess it is something we don’t talk about much. So here it is, the health hazards of being a writer. Brought to you by PD Martin.

First off, I should talk about all the wonderful things about being a writer. Things like: creative freedom; working from home; working from cafes; working in your pyjamas; creating magical or scary or whatever types of worlds; creating in general; bringing our work to the masses (hopefully); yada, yada, yada. Okay, time to move on to the moaning part of the blog and the ‘beware’ section.

It’s true. Being a writer involves long chunks of time at a desk, typing. And we all know that can lead to repetitive strain injury. Thankfully, so far I’ve been spared from this particular hazard. However, I do have…

Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you don’t know what that is, it’s a nerve thing (yes, very technical) and it’s generally caused by typing. The main thing for me is I wake up in the middle of the night with painful pins and needles in my hands and also get that if I try to grip something for a while (e.g. a car steering wheel). Annoying more than anything else.

Eye sight problems
Another one I can tick, I’m afraid. I used to have perfect vision. Then in my 20s I was doing lots of hard-copy editing (okay, not exactly writing, but it’s still part of the same business). After a few months I realised I couldn’t read signs…everything in the distance was a little blurry. Yup, I’m now long-sighted.

Glass red wineAlcoholism
Okay, I’m happy to say I don’t suffer from this one! At least not yet. Although, that wine does look yummy.

But it’s true, many writers like to have a drink or two before they write. Or maybe it’s our creative brains. Who knows, but many authors do like to knock a few back. You?

I do get this one from time to time. Like a few weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and starting thinking of opening lines for a book. Plot points, character arcs…two hours later I was still awake.

Back and neck problems
Oh dear…I’ve got this one too. Mind you, my husband does accuse me of being a hypochondriac (better not show him this list). Mostly it’s my right shoulder running up into the neck. Ouch.

Weight gain
Can I blame this on hours at my desk? Maybe. Although if I’m honest my metabolism seemed to know the minute I hit 40 (less than 2 years ago) and stood at the front of the room waving its finger at me with an ‘Uh huh…no way you going to eat that and not put on a few pounds.’ Blast it.

Okay, everyone’s stressed. And authors are no different. What do we stress about? Usually deadlines and lack of any cold hard cash. It’s a tough life, you know?

Sometimes we stress about writer’s block (thankfully I’ve never had that problem – touch wood) or about our careers shrivelling up like over-dried dried prunes (okay, I do stress about that).

Well, I think I’m done. Phew. Although no doubt I’ve missed an ailment or two.

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