Apparently, although I suspect it’s something of a contradiction in terms, I am a hard-working couch potato. Well, probably not a couch potato because I sit at my desk to work. So a desk-chair potato.
This must be true because when it becomes my time to vacuum the house and my wife unsubtly rolls the Dyson into my room and parks it five inches from my face and I complain I am too tired to do what she wants, she says, “Why? All you do is sit on your arse”.
I know (think, hope) she is just joking, but that is essentially a very accurate descriptor of what a freelance writer does. We all sit on our arses. Americans, of course, prefer to sit on their asses.
I’m not very good at obeying all those very sensible instructions about getting up for a stroll every 20 minutes, stretching fingers and flexing wrists, or refocusing the eyes every so often on something outside the window. When I sit down to work, it’s quite normal for me to not move again for ten hours or more (toilet breaks notwithstanding). Thankfully, my wife also brings me food along with vacuum cleaners, so I don’t have to break to prepare anything to eat.
Sitting on your arse can be exhausting. Non-freelance writers may find that an oxymoron, but it’s true. I have done extremely physical jobs in the past, and they are far less tiring. Not moving very much is more draining than moving a lot. And then you have the mental strain of staring at a computer screen hour after hour and trying to meet deadlines and having clients you know must be kept happy.
I’m not claiming it’s worse than fighting the Taliban. It’s not a boo-hoo plea for sympathy. It’s my career choice and it suits me very well. It’s just not what you expect it to be when you are idly daydreaming about dumping your boring salaried office job and reinventing yourself as a freelance writer.
Being a freelance writer is one of the most sedentary jobs you can imagine. If you are the active, outdoor type, you can only do this for any length of time by making sure whatever down-time you have includes some physical exercise. It may be the last thing you want to do after a writing marathon, but it refreshes the system far more than shifting straight from desk-chair to couch for a snooze.
Stay active, folks.