Okay, as curses go, this probably isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it sure feels that way. Your body becomes rigid and it’s impossible to stand up from your desk without excruciating pain. And when you finally emerge from hours in front of your computer, pleased with the process you’ve made with your latest novel, essay, play, or short story, you realize that you’ve become Quasimodo.
I know. I know. Every exercise guru and health provider will tell you never to stay seated at your desk for longer than 30 minutes at a time. And Dr. Oz will make you feel really guilty if you do. But the truth of the matter is, once you start writing, you simply cannot turn it off for those pesky stretching exercises.
And what about bodily functions? Hell, I once sat for four solid hours with my legs crossed because there was no way I was going to lose the dialogue in my mind that I had struggled so hard to find in the first place. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who does this. But I’m probably the only one who has managed to make complaining about my back an art form. By now, my husband is used to it. That wasn’t always the case.
“Why are you walking all bent over?”
“Why do you think? I’ve been writing for over two hours straight.”
“Well, who told you to do that? You look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame!”
“I’m in agony. I think some of my bones fused.”
“Just try standing up.”
“If I could stand up, do you honestly believe I’d be walking around like this?”
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself. Everyone takes a break when they work.”
“If I stop, I’ll lose my train of thought.”
“Then just write down your thoughts.”
“If I did that, then I might as well be writing.”
And then, there are all of these health related articles designed to help writers alleviate the stress of siting in one position. Are they serious?
Sit at least 18 inches away from your computer screen with your head straight up.
Got news for you, folks. That doesn’t work if you’re over 40 and wearing bifocals. I have to lean directly into the computer until the screen hits the bifocal lens and I can see what I’ve written.
Keep your back straight at all times and do not cross your feet.
Where do they think I am? Back in junior high detention?
When you stretch out your hands, they should be at least 2 feet from the computer keyboard
Some of us actually need to see the keys on our computer keyboard, let alone reach them.
Purchase an ergonomic chair
Who am I? Donald Trump? Have you seen the prices of those things? I’m going to be sitting in it, not driving it!
Don’t’ say I didn’t warn you. Yeah, it’s a losing battle, but a small price to pay for the thrill of completing a terrific hook, a fabulous dialogue, or an absorbing description. Besides, someone has to keep the chiropractors in business.