Can you guess what it is?
Publication? Fame? Riches? To be read? To share stories with the world? To get glowing review after glowing review? To win awards? To have movie adaptations? To be revered? To become a seminal figure in your chosen genre? To become immortalised?
Any or all of those things would be nice, but they’re not guaranteed – far from it. So no to all of those things.
What you are just about guaranteed is that you, in all likelihood, will have a terrible posture, and back and/or neck problems.
This is an unfortunate result of sitting hunched at a computer or over a journal. When you’re young, you just don’t care, because you’re so flexible and resilient. You could sit slumped the whole day and not even feel a crick when you get up. What you don’t realise is that, often, neck and back issues don’t necessarily have to be the result of a single incident (e.g. an accident), but can occur from a lifetime’s accumulation of bad posture. Then, one morning, you wake up with tightness or pain – the body’s proclamation that it can no longer cope. As you get older, you try to manage your way through issues, but are still prone towards unconsciously slumping.
So what can you do?
There’s obvious solutions, like managing your space, ensuring that you have a good chair, that your computer isn’t too high or low, and that you sit straight. Take breaks every forty-five minutes – get up, stretch, walk around. Force yourself away from the computer, especially when you’re tired and/or frustrated – mental states that can tense you up, and exacerbate any issues you might be experiencing. Often, you don’t even consciously realise this is going on.
Away from the computer, exercise is beneficial – a regular half-hour walk can do wonders for you physically and mentally. It helps loosen muscles, gets you out into the world, and gives you the time and space to mentally unwind. If you’re stuck in your writing or unsure where to take the narrative, a walk is just about guaranteed to help you find your way. It’s usually when you’re least thinking about your writing that solutions present themselves.
Then, there are more specific forms of exercise, like yoga. Yoga is the perfect blend of gentle stretching and meditative breathing that benefits both the body and the mind. It’s also a brilliant way of uncoiling those muscles that have grown tight and resistant and a means to finding an inner peacefulness.
Busybird Publishing will be running Yoga for Writers, beginning Thursday, 13th October, from 8.00–9.15pm. Facilitated by author Suzanne Male, Suzanne is a qualified iFlow Yoga teacher, knows all about the issues of posture and muscle tightness that come from writing, and has tailored a Yoga program specifically for writers. You can book in for eight sessions at $120, or pay casually at $18.00 per session. Check out our Eventbrite page here.