Are you susceptible to writing injuries?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about writing injuries….

Back when I worked in the newspaper industry we used to joke that the worst writing injury we could sustain would be a paper cut. Ha! In addition to the daily threats of alcohol poisoning and emphysema, we were also at risk of a whole bunch of other conditions I’d never imagined…

A blog post on the website Literary Hub, explored this topic in a post headlined: “Six famous writers injured while writing.” These writers were:

  • George Orwell (working too long writing his book 1984 leading to TB.)
  • Herman Melville (eye spasms, anxiety attacks, and debilitating back pain from writing Moby Dick.)
  • Giacomo Leopardi (debilitating scoliosis, made worse by writing.)
  • Honoré de Balzac (caffeine poisoning from too much coffee.)
  • Ayn Rand (reliance on Benzedrine which, in turn, brought on a nervous breakdown.)
  • Franz Kafka (laryngeal tuberculosis brought on by overwork.)

Some of this list seems, to me, to be a bit of a reach, (listicle writing gone crazy?) but I appreciated the chance to re-read Orwell’s dyspeptic view of writing: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.”

My thanks to Ben Ziegler for alerting me to this blog post via Twitter.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Oct. 30/17.

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