As much as I love this writing life—the time alone to create and revise and dream—it’s hard on the body. I’m not a naturally athletic person, so my morning walk or afternoon bicycle ride is a continual struggle, never mind hourly stretches.
But we must persevere or we will become stoop-shouldered and myopic from staring at the computer screen, our hands frozen like claws over the keyboard, our butt one with the chair and our feet numb from lack of movement. What can we, as writers, do to ward off the effects of the repetitive nature of our calling ?
First, I think, is to move occasionally. As I admitted above, this is a hard-won habit for some of us, but it must be adhered to if we wish to remain mobile and healthy. Excuse me while I fetch another cup of tea and run up and down the stairs
Second, a longer period of exercise is to be encouraged most days. I aim at a walk or bike ride at least 5 days a week, and if I get to it on the weekend, it’s a bonus. I’d rather get some exercise now than end up taking a lot of pills later for muscle issues and a crooked skeleton.
Third, an ergonomic desk and chair is a great addition to our workspace. Mine is relatively inexpensive. The important consideration is to make sure the chair adjusts for height and angle and armrest placement. I have no problem with changing writing locations. Some people write in their armchairs, or at a local coffee shop, or at the kitchen island. I’ve tried all of these and find I like my office desk in daylight hours, but will drift to the island or couch after supper. I can’t write in a coffee shop, but that’s a personal preference. I’m too distracted watching people and worrying about them watching me!
Some writers I know have standing desks so they can stand as they work at the computer instead of remaining in the chair for hours and days and weeks. It’s an option you might wish to look into.
One suggestion I have, besides finding a decent desk and chair, is to follow a fitness blog such as that of Kimberly J. Payne. She offers weekly fitness and food tips, books about fitness, a podcast on health matters, and other cool and healthy ideas.
So let’s unclasp our clawed hands, rise from our writing chairs, roll our shoulders back and breathe deeply. Grab another glass of water, and it’s back to work.