Writers: could they, would they be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Writers are, in general, an unhealthy lot. Their health issues range from the mild (back pain) to the more severe (cancer). These ailments are caused by the nature of the intellectual life: They

a) sit frequently with their necks craned forward.
b) do this sitting indoors.
c) internalize everything.

Some time ago, I read a statistical analysis of writers and their average life span as compared to the population at large. Although I can’t find the original study that I read (it was a while back), I did find several articles about the study. Here is a link to a New York Times article. While writers tend to have shorter than average life spans, there is also a hierarchy of doom amongst different types of writers. Nonfiction writers live the longest, and poor, sad poets live the shortest and most tragic lives.

Due to the hierarchy, I would guess that C is the strongest component in ill health for writers. Poets are far more likely than nonfiction writers to suffer from worry, doubt, angst, and narcissism. For that reason, I’m going to write a series of articles on health, beginning with A and culminating in the most important, C.

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4 comments

  1. On the other hand if writers didn't write they would be just as unhealthy.They would get about drownding in all their sad misery instead of writing it down or writing something happy.

  2. What are you doing? You're killing me with this. Feeds into all my fears. I'm a writer and a hypochondriac. Thanks a lot.
    You have a nice weekend.

  3. Anon, you are correct. It's a bit of a dilemma, que no?

    Romantic Query Letter, read my new post! I'm sorry for the delay, but I've explained all. Thanks for following my blog. I came across yours some time ago and loved it, but you know how these things are. If you don't bookmark it, you won't remember to come back to it. Now, I'll return often.

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