The dark side of the writer’s lifestyle
There’s a lot of people that wants the lifestyle and not the job of writing. Not the long hours at the keyboard, the rejection slips and the plots that ramble and get nowhere, but rather the interviews, the presentations and the signing sessions, the mingling with the beautiful people in exotic locales, the fast cars and the gourmet food.
Some of these would probably envy how I spent the night of last Saturday, sitting around a table in a pizza place with a bunch of writers, talking (among other things) about deranged Russian aristos, weird Portuguese exchange students and the cover art of romance novels.
These are great opportunities, for fun and education, and good food.
So, yes, envy me.
But there’s a downside.
This past winter was hard for me, from a physical point of view. I did a lot of writing (but not as much as I wanted) and I was able to pay my bills and even a few unexpected expenses. But on the downside, I spent most of my time holed up in my house, sitting at my PC, for hours, for days. The harsh weather and the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere prevented me from taking my usual long walks, and the net result was that my health suffered from it.
And as a consequence of this, I am now in a bad shape, and the much needed physical activity becomes harder to pursue.
There is something, that comes with the writing lifestyle, that is not usually part of the package as imagined by those that look at this job from the outside: you have to take care of yourself, and look after your own health, both physical and mental.
Because writing is a lonely business, and if physically you face long hours sitting in the dark typing, mentally you might end up feeling depressed, isolated, unhappy.
So what should we do?
I found this image, that is a good starting point…
This leaves out the physical activity (beyond walking) that I interrupted for too long. These hills are not very safe to cycle around, but I could start doing tai chi in the courtyard again.
And this is only a tentative list, if very thorough and well designed. You can move things around, or add stuff to suit your need, but this is a good solid base to avoid finding yourself in bad shape and with a declining health profile.
Also, one could try and paint the whole in a very glamorous, writerly sort of way…
The writer that goes on long walks and practices some unusual sport, that entertains his friends by cooking healthy food, classical music (or jazz) playing in the background, and then retires to his bedroom for a brief meditation session and a well-deserved rest.
Perfect. Just add an exotic locale and some beautiful people.