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The Hardest Part About Writing
by Suzanne Young
Writing is hard. Not just mentally and emotionally. Physically. Though I’ve had other jobs, some of which required heavy lifting, nothing has taken a toll on my body like full-time writing has. Multiple urgent care and doctor visits to deal with muscle spasms and back pain. A regiment of anti-inflammatories. And some well-meaning advice like:
“Take more breaks!” Yeah, sure. Right after I miss this second deadline.
“Walk around more!” I bought a treadmill desk and it’s now my dog’s new nap spot.
“Yoga!” That would be great if I knew what I was doing, because again, leaving the house isn’t an option.
“Massage!” Great idea. I’ll set the appointment right after my personal chef tells me about dinner.
“Smell bad.” Those Icy Hot patches and rubs? I’m all about them. I put them on my shoulder, neck, and low back.
“Change position.” Since I can’t actually unchain myself from the computer, I take it with me. Sometimes I’m at my desk, but I’m also on the floor, on the couch, in the bed. I try to hurt all parts of my body equally.
“Stay warm.” I live in Arizona, so this isn’t a huge problem for me. But when it gets kind of cold, I find my muscles locking up more and more. I have a heater and an array of professor sweaters.
“Netflix and cry.” Even on deadline, I do have the occasional day of crying on the couch while I watch Netflix. I count this as emotional exercise.
More than anything, I’ve learned to appreciate my days off. When I have them, I do what I can to prepare my body for the next book. I eat well, I leave the house to buy more Icy Hot patches. I even exercise. All of the well-meaning advice isn’t lost on me. But mostly, I spend time with my family, feeling grateful for the opportunities I have.