Saturday, March 26, 2011

Going to Our Happy Place

Writers are rarely blocked coming up with excuses why we're not writing.  We've got soooo much to do.  People to call, friends to see, websites to visit...

And all of that may be true, but a piece of our reluctance to apply the seat of our pants to the seat of our chair is sometimes it hurts.  Suffering for one's art unnecessarily, isn't noble, it's... dumb.

from BryanAlexander at Flickr

This is how many laptop users work - just put the laptop on any flat surface, sit down, hunch over, and start typing away.  It's great for short 15 minutes bursts, but we can't sit down for several hours and work like this, without ending up with a sore neck or back. Or we put it on a dining room table, which may spare our backs, but kills our wrists because of the awkward angle necessary to reach the keyboard.

When people are "into" pain, it's more a bondage club, leather whip kind of thing.  I've never heard of anyone going to a Dominatrix and begging, "Please, make my back ache like I've been hunched over a computer keyboard for ten hours straight!"

We may not be consciously aware of it, but if every time we write for a solid hour or two, we are in pain for that long or longer afterwards... it will make it harder to motivate ourselves to sit down and write the next time we have that window of opportunity.

from Editor B at Flickr

How long are you going to want to apply your derriere to this chair?

from Kare Products at Flickr

It may be well worth the price to invest in a chair like this one.

Photo via Amazon

Or this one.  Whatever works for you and your body type.

If you use a laptop, consider getting a stand, to bring the screen level to a comfortable eye-level, and an auxiliary keyboard at a comfortable working level for your wrists and elbows.

photo via Staples

When we think of sitting down to write, we need to think of it as "going to our happy place."  Like our writing is a beloved lover, deserving of being "spoiled" with the finest mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets - not some cheap hooker we're hastily doing in the back of the family minivan.

We need to, as much as possible, keep our desks free of clutter, with perhaps a few decorations around that make us feel inspired and joyful about writing.

This Maxfield Parrish print of Ecstacy is my fav.
We may not be able to have our own writing office, we may have to write at an improvised desk in our kitchen, or a corner of the living room.  We may need to put on headphones or plug in our earbuds to block out the noises of the household or neighbors going about their business. 

We must find a way to be kind to our backs, our eyes, our necks, our wrists...  We're going to want to use them for many years to come.  And we need to honor our writing as important and valuable to us, something worth treating with respect.

How do you make your writing "going to your happy place?"
Share your tips in the comments, below.