It’s confirmed. Writing a novel, or basically any writing-related profession, is physically unhealthy in the long run, but that’s only if you ignore your own well-being!
Unlike most authors, Haruki Murakami is pretty much fit for an author at his 60’s. He’s not young anymore obviously but maybe he can run much faster than a young man in his 20’s. Poor us, right?
Writers: Sedentary creatures
I’m now in the late 20’s and never think that running would be one type of sports I’d do sometime in my life. I can run for sure but it’s just not what I want to do as my fondness of yoga grows larger day by day (and at some points, stay the same and declining).
I too am aware of this well-being issue as a writer. Sitting all day long, more than 10 hours a day straight sounds like something fun as an author working on his things with eyes glued to a glaring screen. But if that forms a habit, we certainly disrupt the balance of our well-being, physically, mentally, psychologically.
So I came to think of this: “Writers need right distractions“. Why so? Because they need to move, need that distraction to keep moving as moving means living. Sedentary life style of an author may kill them!
Decision to get fit
Back to Murakami, this Japanese author really impresses me with his physical fitness. Perhaps that’s what every author, writer in the world needs to become before they start writing, being physically fit! Without it, you can of course still write but for how long? Staying fit by regular exercise keeps the body robust and supple as well as hones the sharpness of the brain, which is declining as time passes and one grows older.
Murakami made this conscious decision (i.e. to be physically fit), if he wants to write longer throughout his lifetime, health is the key. That’s the rule of the thumb everyone knows well and sadly enough, ignores at the same time. It’s said that he quit smoking, started eating better, became almost a vegetarian, and started seriously running marathon (source: “Haruki Murakami: In Search of This Elusive Writer” – Documentary).
Wake up, writers!
This is exactly contrary to what I have seen so far in bloggers, writers and journalists lifestyle. They adopt sedentary lifestyle, crappy daily diets, hardly ever exercise or hit a gym. Drinks with caffeine level above what is normal is tolerated. Even more horrifying, I see smoking is like a normal habit that won’t kill. Yes, that may not kill but aggravate any ailments you suffer from. This liberal daily intake of caffeine, heavy smoking habit, combined with irregular night sleep pattern is so lethal yet unobserved. And all for the sake of deadlines!
I’m so stunned by all the ignorance showcased before me. Is this insanity at its worst? Look at Chairil Anwar, the best poet in Indonesia in his time. Why did you waste your writing talents, trade your lifetime for cigarettes??? Throughout his lifetime (which spanned only 26 years and active working years of only 7 years), Anwar had written 94 literary works, mostly are poems. Imagine how many masterpieces he might have produced once he had lived his life better. He died of TBC (and various sicknesses prior to that) at 27. Ah, what a waste of talent!
So why can’t we now get seriously aware of this issue? Get rid of those self-murderous habits! Write like there’s no tomorrow, workout as if you’ll die without sweating or panting every day, and live as long as you can because only a living human being can tell and write stories. Corpses can’t…