Health and the Freelance Writer – the Novel!

I’ve got a treat for you today! My friend Cathy Miller (who I met on Twitter) agreed to do a guest post for me here and I thought it would be a great ideas because one of the things that she focuses on is health. And really, as a freelance writer I know that my health is often the last thing on my mind!

As freelance writers, we have to think about so many things. Not just about how much money we are making but making sure invoices get sent out and our records are intact and finding new jobs, and of course we have to maintain a presence on the social web so that our names out our there. No wonder we forget to take care of our health sometimes!

So, check out this great post and when you are done make sure that you go to her site and read more of her work!


By CATHY MILLER, Business Writer

Practice what you preach. That was my first thought when Danielle asked me to write about freelance writers taking care of their health.

Knowing Better

Like many of us out there, I know a lot about good health. I spent over 30 years in the health care industry. Ironically, it has been since I left to become a freelance writer that I returned my focus to good health.
Don’t get me wrong. I am getting better, but I am not as diligent as I need to be. So, instead of preaching, I will take the journey with you in exploring what freelance writers can do to take care of their health.

Work Smart

Most freelance writers love the freedom that freelancing offers. Whether you are a Work At Home Mom (WAHM) or working solo, there are things you can do to work smarter and healthier.

Ergonomic Education

One of the gifts I brought from Corporate America was the advice of an ergonomic specialist. I worked at a brokerage firm at the time that had a specialist in its workers compensation area. His simple guidance helped me stop wrist pain and sore, dry eyes. How’s that for a combination?

Here are a few tips for a healthy writing style.

The Mouse – Old school types (like me) are overly dependent on the mouse. If you must use it, make sure you use your whole arm in moving it. A better solution is using keyboard shortcuts.

Moving the mouse, just by hand – in a side-to-side motion – puts a strain on your wrist. Do you use the mouse pad with the cushioned rest? Bad idea – it encourages the side-to-side motion.

Monitor – Keep monitors at eye level. If you have your computer above your head, your eyes dry out from tilting up, and it strains neck and shoulder muscles. You were wondering where I got the dry eyes from, weren’t you?

Keep the monitor at a distance where you can read it, but not too close.  There are all kinds of recommendations, like 20-25 or 30 inches. I am all about unique. It’s a middle child of seven affliction. Everyone is different, so you have to find what works best for you.
Posture – This is the tough one. I probably abuse this one more than any other. What the specialist told me was “think right angles.” Math – ugh.
Your feet should be flat on the floor. Your legs are at a right angle from your hip. Do not lean forward – my downfall. Lean back, with lumbar support just below your waist.
Keyboard – Position keyboards slightly below your elbow so your wrists are straight when resting. If the keyboard is too high, like those of you who put it on the desk, it puts a strain on your wrists, shoulders, and other places you never knew about. Trust me, I’m a baby boomer.
Like I said earlier, you have to find what works best for you. Your body will thank you for it.

Shake That Booty

Writers hate to interrupt when they are in the zone. While great for productivity, it may not be so great for your health.
Get up and move around. Even while your booty is in the chair, change positions, rotate your ankles, your head. Let your arms drop before they drop you. Move, baby, move. Set a timer if you need an audio reminder or have a child. Okay, that may be a tad extreme; however, you get the idea.

Know Your Numbers

Sorry to take you back to math, but this is important. Dr. Oz offers great information about knowing your numbers for healthy test results. Here are a few key ones.

  • Blood Pressure: 115/75
  • LDL Cholesterol: 100 or less
  • HDL Cholesterol: 50 or higher
  • Resting Heart Rate: 83 or lower

I know how difficult it is for a freelance writer to find affordable health insurance. That is a blog post for another day.
Even if you do not have health insurance, it is vital that you have your preventive screenings. As a seven-time walker in the Susan G. Komen, 3-Day, 60-mile Walk for Breast Cancer, I encourage mammograms.
It is far less costly (and deadly) to catch the early stages of health problems. Many places offer free blood pressure and other screenings. Check your local drug stores and clinics for information.
Additional free online resources include:

Help Off the Health Pedestal

I hope you do not feel an urge to push me off the health pedestal. At least that would get me out of this chair. This all brings me back to where I started. Practice what you preach. I’ll promise to do a better job of balancing freelancing with good health if you will. After all, isn’t that what we are all looking for? A better life.

Cathy is a business writer who has been writing professionally for over 30 years. To keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours, get in touch with Cathy at Simply stated business, or email her at cathy@millercathy.com.