Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Watch Your Posture

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How many times did your Mom say, "Sit Up Straight" or "Don't Slouch?" How many times did you ignore that advice, or maybe still do?

Listen to your mother. Posture is important to everyone, including writers. You may ask, how could sitting in one spot and not doing physical exertion possibly be harmful for your body?

Believe it or not, how you hold yourself while using a computer can mean the difference between feeling fine or developing unpleasant body aches or worse. A league of problems can arise from bad posture at the computer -- to name a few: a stiff neck, pinched nerve, carpal tunnel syndrome, sore arms.

Some don'ts I've heard are:

  • Don't lean forward
  • Don't hold your elbows and arms in the air while typing
  • Don't reach up to type.
  • Don't get too close to the computer.
  • Watch out for glare.

    Recommendations I've heard:
  • Sit at a 90 degree angle.
  • Do stretching exercises before, during and/or after you come up for air from writing to relieve the tension your body unconsciously experiences.

True, when you're in the flow and thinking only of your story, it's hard to remember you exist in the real world, but about the other times? If you get into the habit of good posture when you're conscious of what you're doing, it may carry over to times when you visit the other realm. If not, you'll still be ahead of the game.

Can you think of other ways to improve your writing posture or not? If so, I'd appreciate your leaving a comment below.

I'm signing off now. I've got some wrist stretching exercises to do.


Morgan is also at www.morganmandel.com
http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com &


  1. Try to have your monitor at eye level. That way you're not looking up or down for a long period of time.

  2. I read something about having your feet flat on the floor. If you're a bit on the short-ish side, like me, it's better to have your feet placed on something a few inches up from floor height if you can't reach the floor comfortably (I like my chair higher so it's a more convenient height for my desk). It's supposed to ease any pains in the back of the thighs and numb-bum-ness caused by bad circulation.

  3. JC and Kit, those are good suggestions.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Well now this is an interesting topic for this blog! Hmmm - no wonder I get stiff necks. I haven't been following JC's advice. Lemme go get a thick book to set my monitor on top of.

  5. Almost all my "pain-in-the-neck" problems disappeared when I got a laptop. It seems to help me to look down toward the screen, and also helps to have my elbows on the arms of a chair. No neck pain, no wrist pain at all since those changes. Who would have guessed it could be that easy. It wasn't aging at all - just improper posture.

    Thanks, Morgan. Good things to think about.


  6. Actually I have to lean forward at the moment (and for the next four months), and try to have my knees lower than my hips. It's called Optimal Foetal Positioning. And if I could get hold of a kneeling chair that didn't cost thousands of dollars I would be even more optimally positioned.

  7. Sometimes the slightest thing can set off a problem or fix a problem.

    Morgan Mandel

  8. I must be abnormally shaped or something. I have never been able to position my laptop so the screen is at eye level and my arms are at the recommended angle. When I raise the chair so my arms are level with the desk, my feet are no where near the floor. For these reasons, I change positions fregquently. I have a flat box and an angled board handy for feet. When Mark isn't around, I steal his desktop monitor, hook that up to my pc and play with the many possible heights and positions. My back tells me when it's time to move around. I always get the message - loud and clear.

    If there are any height-challenged people out there who have found the magic solution, please, please share.

  9. I do tend to lean forward when I'm reading something on the monitor. I have a laptop and I put it on a stand to raise it a bit, but it's still not eye level.

    Charlotte, my son is not height-challenged, but if I sit in his desk chair, I feel like I'm sitting on the floor. He's six foot ten. I don't know whether he positions his chair that way so he's eye level with the monitor or so his knees will fit under the desk.

  10. Oops, Helen caught me. I didn't realize it, but I also lean forward to look at the monitor. I'll have to remember not to do that.

    Morgan Mandel

  11. Thanks so much for the advice. I've been having some discomfort lately which I thought may be caused by my work at the computer.
    It seems to disappear when I'm up and about more often. Thanks again!

  12. Helen,

    So you need a booster seat to sit in your son's chair? smiling.

    I forgot to mention that I get up and walk around about every hour. If I'm having a bad-back week, I do stretches to try to alleviate the problem...which I wouldn't have if I'd follow all the advice here, do stretches and crunches regularly. I feel a 2009 resolution coming on...


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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