A Bit Personal, But Important to You too!

Some of you, particularly those of you who are members of my forum as well as reading me here, know that I’ve been battling my health for the last two years or so, and particularly so this last year. Well, the infection is back, yet again, so I’ve been a little out of sorts the last couple of days. There’s a few other things going on I won’t get into in a public blog, but this is leading me to the point I’m going to make about being a writer for a living – and how that affects your health.

You think it doesn’t?

Well, it does. The biggest thing I want to talk about first is health insurance.

When you quit working or are not working and then you start freelance writing or writing fiction, you are now self-employed, and that means, unless you’re lucky enough to be married to someone who has good insurance, you’re without health insurance and you will have to go self-pay or get your own insurance.

Sure, if you’re young and healthy, you’re thinking nothing bad can happen to you, and there’s no need, but let me tell you something…. I was relatively young and thought I was healthy when I quite the corporate world back in 2003, and since then, my health deteriorated very quickly, and sadly, it happened at a time I was without insurance, planning to get some soon but never quite thinking I could afford it. that makes most of what I deal with now a pre-existing condition and it’s very expensive to insure someone with existing health problems.

Get insurance.

I can’t stress it enough. You can go a few months to a year without it, a gamble, but for sure by that time you’d better have insurance, and you best take really good care of your health during the time you’re without – and if you can help it, try to avoid the doctor diagnosing you with ANYTHING other than a common cold while you are uninsured.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Don’t think you’re too young (the things wrong with me usually don’t happen to people my age, but here I am dealing with them), and don’t think you’re invincible.

You’re not. No one is.

Get insured, and get that way as quickly as possible.

Now, as for health. It’s easy when freelancing writing for a living and working 10 plus hours per day as many writers do, and particularly so if you’re writing full time and also doing fiction writing, to sit all day and not move much. Get up and move your body. Stretch and walk around the house at least once per hour and take a walk around the block now and then.

Eat properly and eat well… it’s easy to snack on junk while writing and your brain not actively be aware you’re doing it. Plan balanced and nutritious meals and keep easy to fix and eat healthy snacks, not junk.

Carpal tunnel and repetitive stress disorders are common with those who type and work at a computer a lot. Buy quality items, like keyboards and mouses, that will reduce strain and then again, stretch and move your fingers and hands regularly to avoid pain and discomfort.

Rest your eyes and wear anti-reflective computer glasses when working at the computer. Set the screen for the lowest brightness you can stand without having to strain to see the screen. Put the screen at the right height so you are looking directly at it or slightly up at it and not downward. Position your chair properly and sit properly in the chair when working.

Take breaks. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll probably do better work if you’re rested and take a few breaks now and then.

Writing is solitary as well as sedentary, so be sure to find an outlet for social interaction. If you have kids, do things with them, plan family time. Be sure not to neglect a spouse, partner, significant other. If you’re single and live alone, try to avoid the hermit-syndrome and hole yourself up for days at a time with no social interaction.

Join writing forums with other writers – at the very least, socialize with those going through the same things. Don’t allow yourself to sit alone, day in and day out, just writing or writing can become a negative things that isolates and depressing. It would be a shame to lose your passion for it simply because you isolated yourself. Take the time to do things outside, with people.

Take care of yourself first, because when it comes right down to it, when you’re sick, or worse – dead – you aren’t going to be able to write. Health comes first; then writing.

Sorry if this sounds preachy or whatever… but trust me, as I sit here feeling like I do today, looking at my foot, clenching my teeth from the pain, debating whether I should take a nap or try to force through it and work, while thinking of the pile of medical bills that insurance is not going to pay – well, maybe my situation can help you protect yourself too.

Take care of you, get insurance, socialize…. and THEN keep writing!

Love and stuff,

PS: Have a new blog up on my freelancing blog today: How To Prepare Your Freelance Business