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The Healthy Writer: Reduce your pain, improve your health, and build a writing career for the long term

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Do you suffer from physical pain relating to your writing life?

Are you struggling with back pain, weight gain related to sedentary working, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, neck pain, eye strain, stress, loneliness, digestive issues, or Repetitive Strain Injury?

These are the most common issues reported by writers and if you struggle with any of them, you are not alone.
Kindle Edition
Published by Curl Up Press
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  185 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Andrea Judy
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might be my favorite of Joanna's writing advice books. I've been looking for a book like this for a long time. It's an amazing look at the emotional, mental, and physical cost of being a writer and how to work on improving your health to keep your writing sharp. With advice from a doctor and Joanna's experience, it's a well rounded exploration of keeping healthy. ...more
Gillian Kevern
In 2017, I basically spent the entire year as a full-time writer. Along the way, I noticed some interesting things. For example, my stress levels did not decrease simply because I left a job and an atmosphere that was not good for me. The stress was different, but it came with me. And the issues that the stress had been causing me–restless nights, anxiety, some not exactly healthy habits—continued. For a little over a year, I’ve been exploring ways to combat these issues. I tried mindfulness, me ...more
J.A. Ironside
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Definitely a must read for writers. We tend to think that writing is a low risk occupation in terms of physical and mental well being except for the unlucky few who develop carpal tunnel syndrome. In reality spending hours each day sitting, typing, staring at a screen alone and locked inside your own head can be more dangerous to your health than working in construction. I found this book very helpful on the recognition of health issues writing can cause alone. For one thing it's good to know th ...more
Kate M. Colby
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indie-publishing
As always, Joanna Penn (this time with co-writer Dr. Euan Lawson) has delivered an informative, helpful, and inspiring book for authors. While much of the health advice inside is either common sense or information that writers likely have heard before, Penn and Dr. Lawson explain the medical aspects clearly, share anecdotes from their own health journeys, and offer simple, actionable advice that applies specifically to writers. Beyond physical health, they also dive into emotional and psychologi ...more
Carrie Daws
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, writing
What a gem! Joanna Penn and Dr Euan Lawsom have done an excellent job of creating a book that's easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to refer back to. The sections are broken down into clearly defined health areas that affect a wide variety of authors and then are further segmented so the reader can easily find what is most important to them. I will be referring back to this book from time to time. ...more
Ramona Mead
Feb 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
There's no denying that the authors had great intentions with this book, but they did a poor job of following through. There's a TON of information here, yet I only found a few tidbits to be useful for me. There are two authors and it's written in first person, alternating between the two. That's confusing and interrupts the flow.

Right off the bat, our authors assume the reader is doing everything wrong and is poor health. I don''t care for that! I felt like I was being talked down to the entire
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This book sure has it's lengths, but also very valuable advice (if only, in my case, on writing with depression, as, unfortunately, most other advice are rather directed to able-bodied people without physical disabilities that will cause for example constant back pain, no matter how much I work out or don't). So I wasn't the reader this book was aimed for for most of the chapters, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hold advice that many people could use. ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Healthy Writer is an example of how writers can start changing dramatically their toxic life, one step at a time. It helps, among others 'reduce your pain, improve your health and build a writing career for the long term' (which means also that you can increase your lifespan). The main keyowrds are empowerment and sustainability: as a writer you can avoid health issues that may impede your writing - both in length and quality - and create long-term strategies for a better mental and physical ...more
Nancy O'Toole
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, ebook
The Healthy Writer, by Joanna Penn and Dr. Euan Lawson is all about health-related problems that writers can face. This runs the gamut from physical ailments such as eyestrain and weight gain, to more psychological issues including loneliness and depression.

As a writer myself, I know I found a lot of these topics to be incredibly relatable. Back pain? Not getting enough exercise? I’ve so been there. And so have many others. One of my favorite parts of the book is all the personal stories it con
Annette Fuller
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cross-posted
How many writing advice books focus on the actual physicality of writing? This is the first I’ve come across, since so many out there are books on craft, or productivity porn for writers, or editing advice, etc.

When you get down to it, your ability to write depends on how well you’re taking care of your body. We all store emotions in our body, we move through the world in our physical selves, so why wouldn’t we talk about the intersection of being a writer and taking care of your body with an ey
Harrison Lamb
A fair amount of useful information and resources for any writer who is taking their business seriously.

Sometimes, we need to be told things that we already know in a new way, so that we realise the importance of those things – and feel empowered to take action.

That is what I love about Joanna Penn’s books on the craft of writing – she always manages to put things in perspective in such a way that I feel capable and confident in my own ability to accomplish something by the end of the book. Her
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Well worth a read for anyone working from home, not just writers. With the Covid crisis more of us are being forced to work from home but I think that is where technology and new employment practices were leading us anyway. So much of what we do is using technology and we have to remember that we are not machines, that we need movement and fresh air and community ... and this book helps us remember that and gives practical advice on what to watch out for, how to avoid hurting yourself through po ...more
Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Some good tips for common health issues writers experience.

Having a blue light filter for your screens for eye care is crucial – my optometrist added it to my glasses in early 2021 and my eyes stopped hurting all the time (and it cut down on headaches originating from my eyes).

I like writing by hand, but typing it up has always triggered pain. Thanks to the ergonomic suggestions in the book, that has been sorted out.

I do disagree about on point: the authors suggest that having your pets sleep in
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great resource with all the relevant health information in one place.

The title and subtitle pretty much wrap up what the book is about. The author surveyed 1098 authors in August 2017 and discovered that around 62% of writers experience work-related stress, 58% experienced back pain, 57% reported weight gain due to their sedentary lifestyle, plus a whole lot more health issues including physical and mental health. Does any of that sound familiar?

This book was packed full of sensible advice to
Kieran McLoughlin
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
For this review, I've gone for a 4 for everyone else, but for me it's probably more a 3. This is purely because I come from a exercise orientated past and knew all of those aspects alongside the dietary ones. I came here more for the psychological side, but for those no as exercise inclined I'd say 4 is fair. Anyway, this was quite a solid book, running through many of the things we writers do to ourselves which isn't necessary nor healthy, instead advocating for writers to look after themselves ...more
Julie Cordiner
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book with practical advice for many health issues that writers can face. It provides a road map for a well balanced lifestyle so is perfect for a preventative approach as well as for helping you with existing problems. I listened to this as an audiobook (first experience of that) and the narrators were perfect. The only suggestion I'd make is that when reading a quote from the survey or another book, the source would be better before reading the quote, as you believe the opinion or exp ...more
Kelsie Stelting
I picked this up about a year and a half ago, and I FINALLY got around to reading it. (What does that say about my commitment to health?) Joanna and Euan shared tried and true methods to improve just about every area of life. While we complicate our own healthcare with thoughts of time and money, they remind us that our body is our most priceless resource - one that can't be replaced. I found the chapter on sugar impactful, as I know I have a sugar addiction. Perhaps it's time to confront that b ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read on writing and self-care by indie author and creative Joanna Penn and GP Dr Euan Lawson. I listened to it as an audiobook which was valuable and found it was like being prompted to review my writing practices and approaches by wise and gentle coaches. Plenty of practical advice on a range of health issues including back issues, RSI, mental health, fitness and practices for the creative long haul. Recommended reading/listening to sharpen your own health regime and writing practices ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any author feeling alone in their situation
Shelves: non-fiction
I didn't enter any progress because I didn't read the entire thing as I use this book more like a reference, going back to it to read a chapter or two as needed, but so far, it's very nice to just realize that I'm not alone in my situation. The pains and aches I have (physical or not), others have as well. This is a very comforting book I would recommend to any author out there who are aching and feeling alone. :) ...more
Michele Berger
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! This promises to be a new classic in this field.

What really works in this book is their combined experience. They expertly weave together insights from their own journey and useful snippets from survey respondents (from Joanna's survey). What’s the science on rest, standing desks and ergonomic chairs? Lawson’s got the answers and does a fantastic job of making the science and medical research accessible.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a good book for writers who are at the very beginning stages of wanting to improve their health. Although there are some inherently biased opinions (which makes sense, since this is written from the personal experience of both authors and not necessarily the latest, unbiased science available, i.e. sugar is not an addictive substance), there are lots of great suggestions on how to improve your health - and the sustainability of writing as a career.
Tiffany Dickinson
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book has much good information and "attacks" the health problems that can plague writers on many fronts. I've only gone through it once and need to re-read to focus on particular areas. It's an easy read and has a helpful tone — not preachy or over-the-top. The authors want you, the reader, to enjoy the best possible health to sustain your writing career, and they use examples from their own lives to show how lifestyle choices can be changed. ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An important book for writers, or any creative person who is prone to sitting for long periods of time and relies on their mind for their work. The book provides a well-balanced perspective of mind and body health along with wonderful tips from the authors and other well-resourced sources. An investment in this book is an investment in yourself.
JacQueline Vaughn Roe
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: author-business
I thought this was a thoughtful & thought-provoking read that has me reevaluating my writing life. I love the emphasis on health as a habit we must develop. In my battle against chronic pain & depression, I must take care to develop better life-giving habits that will encourage creativity. I highly recommend this book!
Jacqueline Mudge-Cooke
This is a enjoyable book to inform you of things to do to prevent writing injuries, better well-being and just the suggestion to be a bit more active. I would also suggest that this book be given to those who have to sit for 8 hours a day. Just how to be a healthier you.

Some of these things I will use to get better and I think that's all that the authors want.
Kimberley Shead
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are a writer and suffer from specific health issues this may be the book for you. A good book to dip into, depending on your specific health issues, this could also help you to avoid common pain and illnesses suffered by writers.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, clear, concise and with some good advice. The questions and resources at the end of each chapter are especially helpful and I will keep the book nearby and get back to it every once in a while.
Shayla Raquel
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a clever book idea! There were many things in here I never know or had thought about, and some I knew from experience. The best topics were on mental health, your writing space, and Dan Holloway's article.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This co-authored book covers a wide range of topics in both physical and mental health, and how it all relates to the life of a writer. One of the authors is a former military doctor. It also covers issues relating to diet and physical activity and gives useful tips for both.
Tracey Mayhew
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book, full of useful tips - not just for writers but anyone who is stuck at a desk or living a less than active life. I've come away from this book feeling as if I'm no longer alone in how I feel and it's given me some good tips for improving my way of life going forward. ...more
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Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers writing under the name J.F. Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.

See also Goodreads author's profile as J.F

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