Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

I’ve never paid much attention to ‘ergonomics,’ but I do now

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My manly “machismo” probably is driving this statement: Worrying about how and where I sit while writing on my computer has always seemed silly to me. “Real men” (and “real women”) can pound those keyboards anywhere and scoff at such silliness as “ergonomically correct” workstations or whatever.

Wow, I have changed that attitude completely in the last week.

Now I’m struggling with the way my chair’s adjusted, the way my laptop sits on the table — a table with an array of angles and heights that are adjustable — and the posture I use while I work. If I could afford it, I’d even run out this afternoon and get an expensive adjustable beds to try and sleep better most nights.

Why the sudden change? Why the new found appreciation for ergonomics?

You’ve probably guessed already what my problem is: I am suffering from some sort of Repetitive Strain Injury, apparently, though I’ve not seen a doctor for a formal diagnosis.

I am struggling to work more than two or three hours a day on my blogs, my writing, and my online activities. After two or three hours of steady work, my wrist begins to ache, my forearm joins in the throbbing, my bicep starts to twinge, and my shoulder even feels sore. It’s only happening in my right arm, the one which stretches most to hit the keyboard and the one which uses the mouse most.

I mention all this not to gain sympathy or indulge in self-pity. I mention this as a cautionary tale for all of you reading this. I have been typing/keyboarding pretty much full-time at one job or another and in my spare time for more years than most of you probably have been alive. (Okay, I’m maybe exaggerating there, but probably not by much. I’ve been making some sort of money from writing and editing in one way or another since 1973.) Based on all that, I never dreamed I would be smacked with this kind of physical problem now. Thought I had at least another 30-40 years of good typing left in me??

Be careful how you sit. Be careful how you hold your hands, your wrists, your shoulders, all of those things. Find a good chair, a good table/desk/stand for your computer. Take ergonomics seriously.

I do now.
[tags]keyboarding, ergonomics, Repetitive Strain Injury, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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