Writers

Health

Writers Beware! 5 Dangerous Effects of Sitting Too Long

Writers Beware! 5 Dangerous Effects of Sitting Too Long


Writers Beware! 5 Dangerous Effects of Sitting Too Long

It’s 11:49 AM and you’re on a roll. Typing, what feels like, a million words a minute, no one can stop you. Then it happens. It’s 11:50 AM and your Apple watch is telling you to stand. How many hours has it been since you’ve used your feet or since you’ve even taken your eyes off the screen? You can’t remember. Have you even had breakfast?

Not saying you’ve ever done this, but in case you have, there are some things you might want to know about the effects of sitting too long before you decide to let 5 hours pass without moving.

1. Weight Gain

One of the most common effects of sitting too long is gaining weight. While you might be an exercise junkie, even if you work out an hour a day, for 7 days a week, if you sit for 7 hours at a time it will make all that gym time counterproductive. Even if it’s a lap around the room during a Netflix marathon, make sure to keep moving!

While being seated might help you be productive in your writing, prepare yourself with the best ways to break up long periods of inactivity and reduce the effects of sitting too long. Read this useful article to get more ideas about how to treat body inflammation, which is a common effect of sedentary lifestyles and diets.

2. Poor Posture

It should come as no surprise that sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen will destroy your perfect posture. You’ll start to hunch your back which leads to decreased mobility of your spine and plays a part in other pains you may experience through your neck and shoulders. 

Although there are many great options that help improve your work environment in the form of chairs and standing desks, these can’t completely remove the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time. Do your part by being conscious of your posture when you sit to type and get up often to give your body a break from the writers’ slouch.

3. Anxiety and Depression

As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy” and this is true! When you spend all your time sitting, you miss out on the health and mood-boosting benefits that come with moving your body.

This can show up in the form of increased anxiety from too much screen time. You also might notice that you feel lonely which is a result of a Vitamin D deficiency. So if you’re looking for an excuse to go on a beach vacation, here it is!

4. A Decrease in Mental Health

Even though you might think you’re engaging your brain while writing, getting up and moving is the way to get your blood and oxygen pumping throughout your body and, most importantly, the brain. When you sit for long periods of time, you deprive your brain of important nutrients that it needs to function properly. 

Long term effects can look like permanent brain damage due to lowered brain activity and function. Even though your brain might be getting a workout during the day, don’t forget to give your body one too!

5. Higher Risk of Cancer

Why your risk of cancer increases with the amount of time you sit is not known, but there is a theory that it advances the production of insulin in your body, which encourages cell growth leading to the creation of tumors. When you participate in regular exercise, creates an antioxidant effect within your body that can help prevent certain diseases, cancer being one of these.

How to Prevent All These Effects of Sitting Too Long

I know what you’re saying. Writing is your job and you have to sit to write, but there are steps you can take to stay ahead of these effects. 

Set a reminder on your phone every 30 minutes to get up and take a lap around your house or workspace. This will get the blood flowing and help reenergize you. You can also change up workspaces or utilize a counter where you can stand instead of being seated all day. 

Experiencing tension and stiffness from sitting all day? Know how to take care of your body by learning more about different tactics that help relieve the pain you’re feeling.

Business

Making Ends Meet: 5 Great Side Jobs for Writers

Making Ends Meet: 5 Great Side Jobs for Writers


Making Ends Meet: 5 Great Side Jobs for Writers

The side hustle is on the increase.

In a recent survey of 1,000 Americans who worked a side job, CreditLoan discovered that people were willing to give up recreation, time with friends and family, and even sleep to earn a supplemental income.

While some of these great side jobs mean leaving the house, for example driving an Uber or babysitting, others can be done from the comfort of your couch with a laptop. And for writers, there’s plenty of opportunities to use your skill with words in part-time jobs to supplement income.

Here, we spotlight a few:

1. Copywriter

Writing great copy needs creativity and skill, something that fiction authors have in spades. If you’re able to craft a compelling narrative, then you can tell a story for a company which encourages people to use their services. That’s what copywriting is, in a nutshell.

While some companies have a full-time copywriter on the payroll, for small businesses who can’t justify that, freelancers are the solution. Look out for freelance copywriting opportunities on job sites, or freelancing sites like Upwork.

2. Blogging

You could set up your own blog, invest the necessary time and effort into making it popular and then monetize it, but that’s a long-term project. In the shorter term, with the rise of content marketing, many companies are looking for original and compelling content. 

Job boards are another place to look for freelance roles, but there are several websites dedicated to connecting writers with opportunities. Although rates vary, writing a few blogs a week is one of the great side jobs for extra income.

Protip: You’ll earn a little more if you can find your niche.

3. Resume Writer

The best weekend jobs for extra income give you the flexibility to take work, or not to take it, so you can fit it around your personal life. Revamping resumes for paying clients is one of those jobs — busy executives use an executive resume service to get them ready for their next move.

There are a number of services available that you can sign up to, and it can be interesting work to see what other people have done with their lives and help them to get to the next stage.

4. Transcription

Most people who spend any decent amount of time at a keyboard develop a keen touch-typing speed. If this is you, then transcription might be an interesting opportunity.

Assignments vary from business meetings to legal proceedings, but be aware that the hourly rate quoted is ofter per hour of audio, not per hour it takes you to transcribe and proof.

5. Writing Tutor

Teaching can also offer opportunities for part-time jobs for extra money. Whether you tutor children going through school, or help an adult to master some of the finer points of creative technique, this job can be rewarding.

If you feel that you have plenty to offer, you could also consider organizing workshops and charging attendees to come along and spend some time refining their skills with you to act as a mentor.

More Great Side Jobs for Writers

These aren’t the only opportunities available for good writers. You could consider ghostwriting, proof-reading and editing, or offering developmental edits for other writers.

The opportunities are out there! Pack your home office with the essentials, and start looking for your lucrative side gig. For more writing advice, check out our writing blog. 

Business

Freelance France: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Living and Working in France

Freelance France: The Freelance Writer's Guide to Living and Working


Freelance France: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Living and Working in France

With nearly 5 million people in France working after emigrating from abroad, many people have taken the world of freelancing as an excuse to go somewhere new. IF you’re one of the many people trying to freelance in France from somewhere else, there are a lot of clever ways to ensure that you do it successfully. Freelancing is hard and doing so from another country takes some know-how.

Here are five things to keep in mine when freelancing in France.

1. Start Paperwork Early

Many people from across the world love the kinds of social benefits, support, and funding that European countries give to all kinds of enterprises. Whether it’s healthcare, small businesses, or the arts, European countries are the vanguard in supporting ideas from other places. However, the two costs of this grand environment of support are the costs paid through taxes and through the bureaucracy.

Your patience and your knowledge of obscure French words will be put to the test when you consider becoming a full-time French freelancer. Acceptance is the first step in dealing with French bureaucracy. The sooner you get started, the easier it’ll be to handle your taxes and other responsibilities of French work life.

If you want to ensure that you don’t get slammed with a huge tax bill at the end of the year, start monthly payments now. If you send the French government a little bit of money each month, you’ll offset your tax bill at the end of the year. And if you overpay, you’ll be returned that money after you file.

Many freelancers work outside of the system because the government can be cold. However, they’ll take note if you’re trying your best. Just know that if they’re asking you to do something, you should do it as soon as possible. Check out this useful guide for pronouncing those difficult bureaucratic terms over the phone.

2. Join a Co-op

France has an auto-entrepreneur setup to help self-employed people to get started. Lots of writers and freelancers start out in this way, but then move on to join a worker’s cooperative. It’s the best way to help ensure you start up your own business properly.

When you’re a freelancer, you are your own business. In many tax schemes, you’re a contractor to the companies you’re writing for or else you’re a temporary worker. You need to know how you’d like to file your taxes at the end of the year.

The best way to do that is to get involved in a worker’s cooperative where you can ask questions to people who are already doing the work.

Paying out ten percent of your earning to a cooperative is typical, but in exchange, they protect you as a writer. They’ll ensure that you get what you’re owed from non-paying clients and they’ll handle all of your accounting. You can get payslips and get a permanent contract, proving you have steady employment.

These services are essential when setting up your life in France or even trying to get your own apartment.

3. Communicate Professionally At All Times

While you might use a personal email or texting for lots of your communication, keep your communication professional at all times. When you use your personal likes for business, you need to know how to shift your tone. If you fail to set the tone right at the start of your communication, you’ll struggle to backpedal into something more professional later.

When you start out as a freelancer, people might not show you the respect you deserve but once you get the hang of it, you’ll make the shift easily. You’ll quickly learn how the French handle their work communication. Much of their contact is very formal, so expect to use proper nouns and professional terminology for everything.

Steer away from slang, any kind of overexcited language, or comments you wouldn’t want to associate with your professional career. You can be casual, so long as you know how to be firm all along the way. You need to keep your initial contacts very formal to ensure that you are taken seriously from the start of your working relationship with someone.

4. Turn Into a Networking Machine

Someone who is good at networking can spin gold out of any situation in a matter of a few conversations. However, for most people who aren’t French natives, becoming a freelance writer in France is a challenge. You don’t have those lifelong connections that other people have or even the connections they make in college.

Send out CVs and make phone calls like there’s no tomorrow, but be sure that you put yourself in the right situations. You need to be places where you’ll find and meet people to work with.

If you’re a parent, you might be able to find a group of parents who are also from where you’re from, interested in socializing. If you don’t mind being in a circle that’s limited to your native tongue, this isn’t so bad. However, if you’re trying to stay sharp with your French, you’ll need to seek out other connections.

Let your friends know if you are able to work as a translator. You can make more connections if you just tell the people in your circle what you’re able to do.

5. Keep an Updated Website

It’s vital to have a good website when you’re out meeting people. Get your URL printed on your card. Include a photo on the front of your site so that people who meet you remember who you are.

Hire a designer if possible to ensure that your site looks great and is translated properly.

Let people know that you’re located in France right now. While it’s nice if people come by to offer you work in New York or London, if you’re not around, it’s just an added frustration.

Freelance in France and Live Your Dreams

As anyone who’s ever lived abroad can tell you, living in another country is much different than visiting. You’ll have a different lifestyle when you freelance in France than if you go there on vacation. Moving somewhere new is hard, but if you have flexible work, you’ll be better off.

To improve the experiences your customers have with you, check out our latest guide.

Health

A Writer’s Guide to Dealing With Stiff Muscles and Joints

A Writer's Guide to Dealing With Stiff Muscles and Joints


A Writer’s Guide to Dealing With Stiff Muscles and Joints

There are many causes of stiff muscles and joints depending on your overall health. In some cases, it can be the root of an underlying issue while other times it’s a simple diagnosis. Many people will recover in a short period of time, but some people are stuck suffering from stiffness throughout their daily life.

Symptoms can range from stiff knee pain to stiffness after sitting or worse; having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because the stiffness is so intense. Regardless of your range of motion, these symptoms can be debilitating in so much that they also cause psychological issues such as stress and anxiety.

Whether you deal with stiff knee pain or stiff muscles and joints overall, there are ways to reduce the pain and suffering. Here are some tips on how to deal with stiff muscles and joints if you’re a writer that sits all day.

9 Tips for How to Deal With Stiff Muscles and Joints

The first thing you should do when you notice stiff muscles or joints is to determine the cause. It could be something as simple as an insect bite, or something as severe as the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you think it’s just a strain that will go away on its own, there are still some things you can do to prevent inflammation from getting worse.

Get Plenty of Rest

Even while too much rest can be an underlying cause of stiffness, it’s also important to make sure that you’re getting the proper amount of sleep. Sleep restores the body after each day and allows your cells, joints, and muscles to rejuvenate. Without enough rest, your body will be overworked and stressed which is a cocktail for disaster.

Even getting up from your computer and resting for a few minutes at a time during the day can be enough to help relieve pain associated with stiffness in your muscles and joints.

Ease Into Activity

Stiffness after sitting is one of the most common complaints of writers. It’s important to ease into your activities each day, whether that be performing exercises and stretches, having your morning coffee, or sitting down at your desk to start writing. Don’t push yourself too hard when you’re experiencing stiffness or it could get worse.

Hot or Cold Compress

Both hot and cold compresses work well for joint and muscle stiffness. You can use a cold compress to help numb the pain and reduce inflammation. Try this for 15-20 minutes at a time a few times per day.

A hot or warm compress or even a warm shower or bath will help relax muscles and increase circulation.

Exercise

Exercising and stretching are key components to help reduce swelling and inflammation in your joints and muscles. Pick out a program that you can perform first thing in the morning to get your day started off right. Pick another set of stretches for your mid-morning and afternoon breaks to break up the monotony of sitting all day.

Massage

You can give yourself a massage if you can reach the areas that are bothering you. If not, investing in a professional massage at least once per month can help alleviate symptoms of stiffness and help you relax. You can also talk to your doctor about prescribing physical therapy which can not only ease your pain but also teach you how to manage it carefully.

OTC Medications

There are several over the counter, or OTC medications directed toward muscle and joint pain or stiffness. Look for NSAIDS which stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Common NSAIDS include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen.

It’s always a good idea to discuss medications that you plan to take with your doctor, especially if you’re already taking other prescription medications (whether they’re for inflammation or not).

Steroids

Corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation from stiff muscles and joints. While this treatment option may not be extremely beneficial to those suffering from arthritis, it does often work in mild cases. Talk to your doctor about your options.

Supplements for Stiff Joints

Many supplements serve as amazing body stiffness remedies. You can also try essential oils and even CBD creams and oils such as those found at Floyds of Leadville. These are natural remedies that can help you avoid using medications.

You may also try taking fish oil supplements or consuming flaxseed. Fish oil contains unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that lubricate your joints. The recommended dose is 300 milligrams (mg) per day.

Flaxseed also contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA, which can help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms of joint stiffness.

When to See Your Doctor

If your stiffness comes on suddenly or doesn’t resolve after about a week, it’s time to contact your doctor. You should be sure to let them know about symptoms that you’re experiencing such as severe pain, swelling, inability to move, or intense redness and heat to the touch. Even though joint stiffness isn’t that uncommon, it could be a sign of something more serious so don’t try toughing it out on your own without enlisting the help of a professional.

Final Thoughts

Writers can be prone to stiff muscles and joints after hours of sitting. It’s important to maintain good and proper posture while you’re working in order to avoid inflammation. And make sure to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water to help your body stay hydrated.

If you’re prone to stiff joints in the morning, you may benefit from incorporating an evening routine to prepare for the following day. Set up a carpool for taking the kids to school or make lunch and lay out all of your essentials so that you don’t have to spend time in the morning worrying about it. It’s also a good idea to invest in certain home office necessities such as back support for your chair or dual monitors to reduce strain.

Whatever you do to ease the pain of stiff muscles and joints, make sure to take it slow. Stress can have a significant impact on how you’re feeling so try to be aware of your pain but not focused on it.