I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve been writing naked for as long as I’ve been writing professionally. That admission may be far too much information to share publicly, but allow me to ask you this:
Have you? If not, may I suggest giving it a whirl?
I know full well I’m not the only person here — I do know some of you outside of this platform, after all — to share the predilection. We’ve talked; be honest if you comment.
But what I’m driving at is this: Is there any sort of science behind the benefits of working in one’s birthday suit, or is working in the buff nothing more than an indulgence? Does writing as such truly liberate the writer, or piss off your significant other(s) as nothing more than an inconsiderate act of ego?
The Benefits of Nudity
Science does finger some benefits. Couldn’t resist. Give the writer a hand —
Nevermind. But those quips above are actually there for a reason. When a writer who works in comfort overshares such info with a non-writer friend or family member, typically — as consistent with general attitudes in this country (the U.S.) — said friend or family member will sexualize the habit.
Let’s just say I’ve been asked if I stop by porn sites and engage in “self-pleasure,” or “self-love,” during writing breaks, and move on from there.
“If you do that at your office, then I do that in mine” is my usual non-answer, delivered with a totally sincere expression.
To the supposed science-tested benefits of working (not confined to writing) in the altogether (and please, take some of these conclusions with a grain of salt):
- A greater sense of self-confidence;
- A greater acceptance of your body;
- A more open-minded attitude about the bodies of others;
- Increased fertility due primarily to a) improved relaxation, and b) no clothing restricting your genitalia;
- Better sleep due to a lower body temperature;
- Healthier skin and unclogged pores, once again due to no clothing restrictions.
I’ve encouraged you to consider the above with a “grain of salt” for a few reasons: 1) Unless one works in the nude all day, how are these benefits measured, exactly? 2) Just how much time is needed to ascertain an accurate measurement? And 3) Do males and females measure precisely the same to have reached these conclusions?
Are There Benefits to Writing in the Nude?
I haven’t found any science to support any particular thesis in this regard, so I can only refer to why I do it.
Because it’s damn comfortable, that’s why. And no, I am not a nudist.
Also, I for one honestly do find nakedness liberating when in the act of creating. Creating as in writing, in this case, not making babies. I rarely get writer’s block, as I’m always comfortable when I write. My mind is freer; my creativity soars with no boundaries. There is no exaggeration here. If I’m at a Starbucks, as much as I may want to lose the apparel restrictions and let freedom reign there as well, I find a degree of make-up comfort with a hot drink nearby and generous view of my neighborhood.
And the pants stay on. But, when I’m at home …
Simply, it’s not a requirement that I write like I’m posing for a not-so-candid “Playgirl” shoot, but it sure is choice.
Iconic Writers Who Allegedly Wrote In Their Skivvies, or Less:
- Victor Hugo. As the legend goes, whenever the author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Miserables” encountered writer’s block, he ordered his servants to take all his clothes for the day and leave him with only pen and paper, forcing him to write.
- Agatha Christie apparently loved to write in the nude.
- Benjamin Franklin took “air baths,” writing in cold rooms which contained nothing more than his writing utensils and an occasional bite.
- According to the Paris Review, Ernest Hemingway also wrote nude, standing, with his typewriter about waist-level.
- Franz Kafka worked out baring all for ten minutes before and after every writing session.
- Jonathan Franzen is said to have written his acclaimed novel, “The Corrections,” in a rented office completely nude.
Writers Who are Not (Yet) Iconic and Currently Write Naked:
- Joel Eisenberg, the author of this article.
- Probably half the writers reading this. Come on out of the woodwork, y’all.
Stand up and be proud!
P.S. In fairness, there is an inherent danger writing au natural. I point you towards a recent Facebook post of mine …
TMI Cautionary Post of the Day:
If you’re a dude, and a writer, and you tend to write when at home wearing nothing but headphones … and your excited dog with sharp paws jumps on your lap informing you she needs to be taken for a walk …
Hurts like a motherfucker.
This has been a public service announcement.
Thanks, as ever, for reading.
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