Writing is hazardous to your health.

“…writing novels is an unhealthy type of work. When we set off to write a novel, when we use writing to create a story, like it or not a kind of toxin that lies deep down in all humanity rises to the surface. All writers have to come face-to-face with this toxin and, aware of the danger involved, discover a way to deal with it, because otherwise no creative activity in the real sense can take place.” – Haruki Murakami

I find Murakami’s vision of writing as a toxic occupation that needs to be dealt with to be true. He deals with it by running every day. I often feel that sick sensation, not so much when I’m actually writing, but when I’m either in that creative space – thinking about writing, or after I’m done with a project or even when I receive good news that I’m being published, some strange feeling washers over me, similar to that hazardous space of depression. I can’t really explain it in any other way. Murakami refers to the stereotypical and legendary figure of the artist who lives a hazardous life in order to write, attaining some sort of so-called “purity that has artistic value.” Some are driven to suicide. Why? I think I know why…the way I deal with the toxicity of writing varies – from biking or working out fiercely, to taking long naps or reading. I rarely turn to drink because that’s just not my thing. I admire Murakami’s fierce self-discipline – running and writing for 3 or 4 hours every day. That’s why he’s so prolific. I am forming a strict discipline on myself by forcing myself to write each day, and harnessing the painful feelings that come with creating from the inside out. What do you writers do to deal with the toxic hazards of choosing the writer’s life?

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