The Pain of Writing

Writing is hard.

There are a million and one little ways to get distracted. Waiting for your computer to catch up. Checking out the latest notification on Facebook, or Gmail, or Yahoo. Reading Yahoo or MSN news. Watching trailers. Reading excerpts of upcoming books, or reviews of newly released ones. Stopping to research concepts or look up synonyms of words. Writing a line. Getting up to get a drink or stretch. Answering the phone or texts. Playing Words with Friends! Starting a blog and coming back months later when you remember it in-between all of your projects...

But, on the eve (okay, well, a few weeks away) from the release of my latest book, there's one other painful aspect of life as a writer that I'd like to address: my body.

That's right. As a writer, my body suffers more than anything else for my art. What? Why? How is that possible, you wonder? Well, I'm in the middle of my obsessive editing/rewriting phase (I wrote nearly 5,000 words in one day!), which requires not only a whole lot of typing (especially as I hop through websites doing research), but also a LOT of SITTING. That's right. Here it is, the essential truth: my back aches. It cramps and twists and throbs and knots and begs me to stretch and massage and soothe it, please, soon, just after the next line, the next paragraph, the next page, until at long last, hours later, I'm so stiff and tense that I force myself to halt and uncurl from wherever I'm sitting - couch, table, desk - massage my strained eyes and neck, and get up and move.

What can I do? I have deadlines, projects and somanystories trying to get out! The easiest, and honestly, the best, solution I have is to get up and go for a walk. Not a jog, not a full blown sprint, but a nice, long walk to both clear my head and let my back take a break from its very important job of supporting me as I work. Massages and swimming are also nice, but in a jiffy, a walk is usually how I make it through my day.

So for all you writers out there fighting back pain, give yourself a break and go for a walk. It will refresh you, head to toe, outside and In. In: that place our ideas gestate and fight to be born. Yes, writing is a pain in myriad ways, but the stories - oh cruel dictators, oh sweet lovers...

Okay. Enough! It's time for a walk...


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