Apparently Writing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Just my luck literary pursuits can bring about a whole series of dangerous maladies.

Christopher Boswell
Dec 2, 2019 · 4 min read
Image by the Author Christopher Boswell on Alamy

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” — George Orwell

The Roller Coaster

It’s been a full 10 months since I seriously took on this writing journey on Medium. The addition definitely filled in the last bit of available time.

Just in the last few weeks, I doubled my efforts, while noticing some new health issues.

As usual for me, living leads and informs the writing, a story idea appeared.

Doing some research, some of the findings have been troubling, to say the least.

Franz Kafka apparently put himself through both physical and emotional turmoil while trying to write. His work took 10 hours out of his day leaving little time for writing. All the activities he jammed in pushed him to the verge of collapse.

In a weakened state he unfortunately contracted Tuberculosis which lead to his throat swelling until it closed. He died.

Leo Tolstoy of War and Peace fame, suffered from depression. As he aged and his questions became more serious about inquiries into the human condition, the debilitating depressive episodes worsened.

He died shortly after collapsing at a desolate train station.

Image by Alfred Derks from Pixabay

And then, there are all the suicides to consider.

Hunter S Thompson, Virginia Woolf, Earnest Hemingway, and many more.

What is it about seemingly innocuous writing that can create depression and suicide?

My own issues have seemed to pop up since taking writing seriously as well.

A few weeks ago, my left leg swelled up like a balloon while on a trip consisting mostly of driving.

I went in for an ultrasound, no clotting exists.

It’s cleared up now, my doctor is not sure what happened.

Simultaneously, back problems also popped up. It appears, all the sitting is taking a huge toll on my health.

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. — Buddha

Finding Alternatives

I’m talking serious, can’t hardly get out of the bed, back pain.

Just rolling over at night was sending serious jolts of pain signal up to my brain.

Off to the Chiropractor I went.

He suggested lower back exercises and more walking. Plus, I’ve added a stand up work station I can move to several times during the day to get me off my ass.

Apparently, the act of slumping, over time can bring about serious back issues.

I’ve adjusted my workstation chair to be at a more upright position, discouraging slumping.

Now I’ve added a special pad on the floor in front of the stand up work station. It seems to be helping.

In addition to that I’ve added a daily walk around three blocks to keep the blood flowing and muscles working.

Image by Adrian Hillman on Adobe Stock

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”— Virginia Woolf

The Final Takeaway

Anything worthwhile in this life involves some risk.

Harper Lee

Not long after winning the Pulitzer Prize aged 35 for To Kill a Mockingbird, her debut novel, she decided to disappear from public life.

Jerome David Salinger

Of Catcher in the Rye fame turned his back on the public in 1953, not long after the books release, and ceased offering his work for publication.

Samuel Beckett

After winning the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature, the playwright and poet turned down an invitation from Stockholm to pick up the award, he did not want to make a public speech.

I’m not sure what it all means, but I keep getting drawn back to writing.

How about you?


When Christopher isn’t writing from home, he can be found traveling or capturing photographs somewhere in the United States. Or, generating Graphic Design, processing images or video, flying his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, wrangling dogs, or backpacking and kayaking. He lives in Tacoma, WA.

© Christopher Boswell 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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Owner | Creator | Photographer | Writer | Risk Taker | Arranging text & images for fun. CREATIVITY saved my life!

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