The Health Hazards Of Being A Freelance Writer - Don't Let This Happen To You!

Written By: Akshata Shanbagh
As a freelance writer, you're probably programmed to think of your customer base as your most valuable asset. But you'd be wrong. Sure, your business wouldn't really be a business without your customers. Then again, it wouldn't be a business without you. You are just as important an asset as each of your clients.

But do you ever stop to take care of yourself?

Do you eat on time?
Do you exercise?
Do you get a good night's sleep everyday?
Do you indulge in your favorite pastimes occasionally?
At this point you might be thinking, “She's got to be kidding! Who has time for all that? I have a full-time business to run.”
But hear me out.
Your business needs you, not the overworked sleep-deprived version who is on auto-pilot, but the healthy and active version who is brimming with ideas and enthusiasm.
Trust me, because choosing my work over my self proved costly for me.

The Price I Had To Pay

I used to be glued to my laptop all the time, partly because my work was online and partly because I was addicted to the Internet. This began to take its toll on my health.
For more than a year I tried my best to ignore those niggling aches and pains in my arm, neck, and shoulder as much as I could. But this delaying tactic only made things worse.
The severity of my condition came to light when I started experiencing intense pain in my right arm and right leg 24/7. I couldn't use the computer any more because it was just too painful.
A consultation with my physician revealed what I already knew. This was RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury. In may case it was the result of extreme amounts of computer usage.
As expected, the remedy was to take medication and an extended break to rest my hand, and to consult a physiotherapist. I complied with the advice without a squeak.
But the pain wouldn't subside even after I had stopped using the computer. That's when the extent of my foolishness hit me. I had mindlessly sacrificed two of my actual limbs in favour of a virtual one. Look where that got me.
Although I'm now taking proper measures to counter the injury, the pain has taken up residence as a squatter in my body. It might make less noise over time, but it is here to stay.

Let your story be different from mine

Knowing what I do now, I urge you to make your health your number one priority. Ensure that your business is not crippled by lasting damage to one of its most important assets - YOU. Let your work not suffer because you forgot to look after yourself.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you're giving yourself the care and attention you deserve.

Work smart

If the computer has become main your source of income, you're likely to fall prey to bad habits when it comes to computer usage, either out of ignorance or out of neglect. Make a choice and a conscious effort to switch to good ones.

  • Choose a desktop over a laptop. If you use a laptop, strictly avoid placing it over your lap. Instead place it over a non-conducting surface such as a wooden one.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts and use them often, because they're less harmful than mouse clicks.
  • Turn ambidextrous (it's not that difficult, really). At frequent intervals, switch between your right hand and left hand to use the mouse or the touchpad.
  • Use an ergonomically designed chair to help you maintain good posture.
  • Keep your feet firmly on the ground and your wrists straight.
  • Take necessary precautions to prevent eye strain and achy knees.
  • Take frequent short breaks to stretch and relax your body.
  • Step away from your computer every now and then. It's a good idea to install apps like Workrave to remind you to take micro-pauses often.
  • Remember that you have a life offline
  • Fix reasonable working hours and stick to them.
  • Keep the rush jobs to a minimum and politely explain to your clients your reasons for doing so. Don't be worried about losing them. If you're good at what you do, they will be willing to adjust.
  • Stop eating at your desk.
  • Make sufficient time for your family every single day instead of limiting your conversations to “Good morning” and “Good night”.
  • Get off social networking sites and meet your friends for lunch.
  • Switch back from ebooks to paperbacks whenever you can.
  • Shut down your computer at the same time everyday and give it a rest.
  • Ensure that nothing comes between you and your beauty sleep.
As creative people, we writers fall into the trap of always being occupied with this idea or that.
Many of us practically live inside our heads - crafting the “right sentences”, thinking up article headings, pondering over untold storylines and such. No wonder we need constant reminders that we are flesh and blood humans.
But don't wait till the reminder appears in the form of a loud complaint from your body.
As clich├ęd as it is, prevention is the best cure.
About the author:

Akshata is a scanner who explores her multiple interests through writing and drawing. She has recently released her first ebook, From Start To Finish, which is a step-by-step guide on how to create any product. You can find Akshata's digital home at


  1. I hope everybody follows your advice! Precious nuggets of knowledge......

  2. A similar post written on my blog :)

    1. Nicely written. Glad you shared it :)

  3. Thanks for sharing Rhea! Oops! looks like we used the same image :) :)

  4. valuable info....reminds me how close i got to the same situation as the author of this blog. I pray for her good health and productive life ahead.

    1. Thank you, Sandeep. I hope you too have bounced back now.

  5. You don't worry about me. Neither do I. I have broken my vertebrae. humerus (in 4 places), have had my hip joint replaced. These are just some of the 14 fractures I have had. I consider them as irritating and not prohibiting. Life and work has to go on. With a smile on your face.

  6. Nice one. while the world goes online, this piece of advice is must! Thanks

  7. Interesting article... a lot of us tend to make these common mistakes. As impossible as it may sound, it is imperative to switch-off every one in a while and give yourself that much needed break. More often than not, you'll find yourself refreshed, energized and raring to write!

  8. Hi, I have been into this online content writing for quite some time now like say round two years along with which I am a montessori teacher. Guys, health is wealth, do remember that. It is just as important to get good rest as it is to work hard. This is a very cool post and I thank Akshata for it. My health is also nearly ruined because of spine problem and recurring body aches. Let us know where each of us stand by being healthy and working better. Chhers

  9. Agreed. This is a really good post, Akshata and some really great health tips for the writers. I used to be glued to the lappy pulling all nighters often and managing my school job as well. Now heath has started its downhill journey. Health is wealth and work is worship, do combine both

  10. This blog a is truly amusing and also available for somebody checking out would like to know concerning living a wellness lifestyle.
    Health Issues


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