A topic that has continued to interest me over the past week or so is the relation between writers and their wellness. Authors and indeed anyone else in the publishing profession are unlikely to be a stranger to the unique challenges the vocation can pose to health and well-being – the risks and preventative measures are well-rehearsed for all of us.
Within the legal profession (the other day job!), these warnings are also manifold and manifest – holistic wellness, robust resilience and establishment of an effective work-life balance are all recited as a panacea for workplace well-being. However, as a writer, the work-life construct seems to have less relevance. Sometimes, writers neither find nor want a demarcation between their work and personal lives. I think writing is one of the few careers where this holds true – what we write is frequently informed (consciously or sub-consciously) by our life experiences; our prospective life experiences are often shaped by what we write and publish.
There seems to be a synergistic, an almost symbiotic relationship between a writer’s life and their writings, be it fact or fiction. Like other artists, the excesses, indulgences and tribulations of even the most revered authors is sometimes reasoned to be a form of decadent inspiration.
Conversely, it cannot be that every writer must endure hardship to find meaningful, book-worthy ideas. Analogues can be found in other areas of artistic talent – the subject of hardship and excess is a matter that polarises commentators. But authors are such unusual artists. Perhaps the only exception being music, there are few other arts that enable their creators to vest so much emotion and personal experience in their works. It is this infusion of past life and intimate knowledge that makes each book so special and each reader’s reading so personal.
Well-being is a fraught and charged subject. Few people positively pick their hardships; some flourish in life where others flounder. To generalise such a subject would be to demean challenges, circumstances and misfortunes, and belittle achievement, success and accomplishment.
But as writers, regardless of our fortunes, we share an innate and precious gift. A gift that empowers us to weave and immortalise our ideas, formative experiences and emotions into words. A gift that should neither be forgotten nor neglected. A gift that provides us with our own therapy, our own voice, our own way of rationalising and sharing our lives with the world. Don’t waste your talent!
For anyone (or indeed any writers) that would like to know more about finding and keeping wellness, I found Writing and Wellness immensely informative. In spite of what life can throw at you, I hope you’ve all had a great weekend. Take care!