The Physical Challenge of Writing

Many have dreamed of becoming a writer, being published, becoming famous, seeing their names in print, yet not very many succeed. For some, it is enough to see their name on a single book, which keeps vanity presses alive. For others, it is a lifelong passion, not infrequently an obsession, and while many labor long and hard at their writing, few rise above the sea of literature to be noticed, read, and accorded with accolades. This brings about the timeless question: What does it take to be a writer?

Above all things, you should like to write. Nay, you should want to write. But willingness and desire are not the only things that make a writer. There is a great physical challenge to writing as well.

Every bone in your body is poised and ready to remain in a single, stationary position for several hours each days, most days of the week, several week after week for months, every month of the year, regardless of the time, weather, or season. You exercise your fingers more than any other part of your body and you suspect your bottom has grown calloused, certain the thickening is from constant pressure against your seat, which, no matter how cushioned you make it, feels like a rock after some time. Depending on your writing implement, your wrists might get some exercise, although you are highly susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome because your wrists are constantly subjected to the same abnormally twisted position hour after hour. Your neck and shoulders often feels stiff because your head is bent at the same angle from staring at sheet after sheet of paper, whether on a pad, in a typewriter (What ancient machine is that you speak of?), or on your computer screen. Your legs lose definition and strength, often numbing from being in the same sitting position day in and day out. Your eyes squint from dryness and strain because you forget to look up from the page to stare at something green 20 feet away every 20 minutes. It isn’t long before you need to squint at everything you look at. If you don’t wear eyeglasses yet, you soon will. Guaranteed. After a few years of practice, you acquire a writerly pallor in your skin from lack of sunlight and fresh air, moreso if you spend more time writing at night or indulge in burning natural aromatic substances to stimulate the imagination. Additionally, you may develop acid reflux from a steady diet of snacks or ulcers from the absence of regular sustenance.

If you are willing and ready to accept these stringent physical demands, you are one step closer to being a writer!

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