The Writer’s Journey is a column dedicated to different styles of writing and the exploration of one writer’s path to publication.

Written by Samantha House

When we write, we primarily engage our minds to get words onto paper in a way that best represents what we want to say, but what if I told you, that the body you so often overlook has the potential to derail your writing, as well? What am I talking about? Posture. When you consistently practice poor posture, your body will refuse to do the things you want opting instead to subject you to pain.

Suddenly all that time spent hunched over your computer or notepad looks a little different, doesn’t it?

Once upon a time, I frequently finished my daily writing with a sore back or neck, and it was because I leaned over my desk – sometimes for hours on end – while I wrote. Classic poor posture. As my output increased, so did the pain, and eventually I ended up having to consult a physician about it. Only then was it pointed out to me, that the way I was sitting caused all my problems – not really what I wanted to hear, but after some consideration, I figured, “At least it is something I can fix.”

So here are some tips the internet and my Doctor (the proverbial “second opinion”) gave me. I hope they help you as well.  

  1. Take regular breaks. In other words, get up and move around from time to time. Set a reminder on your phone if you have to, and at least go for a brief walk every hour.

  2. Feet flat on the floor. Alternatively, a foot rest will do, as well. This is important, because it allows for optimum blood flow and reduces muscle fatigue and joint pain.

  3. Pay Attention to Ergonomics. Get a decent chair suitable for sitting in front of a computer for a long time. Invest in a support pillow for correct curvature of the spine if needed. Also look at setting up your desk ergonomically. I suggest researching this because the options range from simple to complicated with angles etc. Here are a couple links to get you started:

    Egnonomics now
    CNET YouTube Video
    Ultimate Ergonomic Desk Setup Video

  4. Picture Perfect! Check out this video for some tips on what healthy posture looks like: Proper Desk Posture. Try keeping a picture demonstrating correct and healthy posture available at your desk, so that you can use it regularly to check your own posture as you work. Checking your posture from time to time could also constitute taking a quick break, so get up and stretch while you’re at it!

  5. Stretches are Your Friend. Stretching can prevent muscles from deteriorating which is common for those of us who sit stationary for long periods of time. Here’s a YouTube video with a few stretches you can do right at your desk: Desk Stretches.

Since implementing these changes, my pain levels have decreased and movement (such as walking) is easier. I’m also finding it more enjoyable to write which, in turn, has increased how much I can write in a single sitting. It is a wonderful domino effect I had not anticipated and one I’m thankful for. I hope these tips help you improve your writing ability and diminish any pain you might experience along the way. If you have any tips for good posture, please share. Have a happy and creative week everyone!

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