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Working as a writer in today’s world has become more challenging and probably among the most dangerous jobs there is. We could easily produce a roster of prolific writers who battled with certain types of illnesses, including depression.
Most writers would find themselves sitting in their nook and getting immersed with their work for as long as they could. Not to mention, the long hours of staring at blank screen monitors and waiting for the right words to come. Journalists, on the other hand, face different threats to health and security. We know for a fact that journalists do not just beat deadlines. They could also be assigned to areas in conflict.
We could argue that writers suffer from unjust stereotype of being manic-depressive individuals or having a temperament of artists (another stereotype for artists). Some can even say that writers have all the time in the world looking out for a sign that will turn on the light bulb. But these are just myths about writers and their careers.
Writing is a real job where the individual would devote his or her time and strength. In fact, here are some of the harsh realities that each of us face in the writing world in one way or another - deadlines, rejections, toxic workplace, skipping meals, incessant smoking, grueling period of waiting time, confusion, snacking uncontrollably, lack of sleep, losing drive and inspiration, miserable pay, and the list goes on.
The triggers for each person might be different. Some writers would show symptoms of depression, some will not, while some will suffer other diseases that are related to the kind of lifestyle they have as a writer.
Moreover, while the world of writers become more challenging as ever, with the competition getting tougher as we keep all our eyes on churning out quality content as frequently as possible, the market demand for quality content writers continues to grow. There will be more need for ghostwriters and freelancers.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment, and Projections program, the employment of authors and writers is expected to grow by eight percent in 10 years time from 2016 to 2026. It might be a small number, but the agency said it is just about “as fast as the average” growth of employment for other occupations.
When we said that the market is growing, we refer to online services and publications. Readers nowadays are voracious consumers of online contents. This prompts businesses to tap the market online and make sure that they get the right people to do the job of taking care of their contents. This is where talented writers like most of us come in the picture.
We are also tapping the market the best way we can by pitching in our stories and working on as many projects as we can handle. And while most of us deal with the harsh and cruel world in online writing and self-publishing, we keep on moving forward and perform our duties.
But we don’t have to sacrifice our health and sanity in order to write a masterpiece or to beat the deadline. Remember, the world would be colorless without writers and artists so we should also look at the long term effects of our unhealthy practices and weigh in the consequences.
Writing proficiently takes a lot of hard work and practice. So our aim is to take care of our health the best way we can for us to gain more experiences and keep writing. We have to be well to write well. Here are four ways on how we can take care of our health:
Learn to tame the beast. We all know how unstoppable we are as writers once we let out the “beasts” in us. We can pounce on the keyboard endlessly chasing the ideas, the drive, or that provocation we need that are at times difficult to come by. But we should master taming the beast once it is out.
Let yourself control the drive to write and not the other way around. A lot of studies have shown that sitting for a long time would increase a person’s risk of developing health conditions. Learn to take a pause. Get that period out to end a chapter and make time to rest.
Know your vulnerability. Writers are vulnerable to a lot of risks and to avoid them is to know our vulnerability. Sun Tzu was not kidding when he wrote that when you know yourself and your enemy you don’t have to fear a hundred battles.
Writing is a battle that we can win by knowing when we should push ourselves some more and when we should tap ourselves at the back and say: “Tomorrow is another day.” It’s a real race out there, but we need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses to work with them and be truly in control.
Sit properly. It’s easy to visualize writers these days - a hunched silhouette behind a table making either light or heavy but fast tapping sound. But posture makes a difference when writing, especially for a long time.
Poor posture can cause pain on our backs and necks. This could also lead to headaches, fatigue, and poor blood circulation. So when you feel you are ready to write, relax, and sit up straight. Keep your feet grounded and feel your weight in the center.
Be grateful and express it frequently. This is probably what most of us have forgotten - being grateful for the little things we have and the little victories we achieve. Whether we score a big or small project, or we get rejected, we have to be grateful for it. Being grateful for rejection is looking at it as a way to improve our style of writing.
Writing letters or a journal piece to express our gratitude to people and things that have kept us afloat can go a long way. Having a grateful heart and mind keeps us ready to receive any challenges heading our way.