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Ergonomics for Writerly Folk

Photobucket [1]Truth: Writers sit. A lot. We sit and type. We sit and edit. We sit and read. We sit and dream. We sit while sifting through Twitter and Facebook posts, and while digesting blogs. And then we sit and type some more.

It probably goes without saying that it’s important to have a decent setup in our writing spot—that our work area, chair and desk all jive together, and complement the proportions of our bodies. It goes without saying and we think we’ve done all we need to do, but sometimes things aren’t feeling quite right. We have a stiff neck at the end of the day, or aching wrists, or our chair makes us uncomfortable and we can’t figure out why.

Here are a few pointers I hope can help.

On the Desk

Wondering how all of these computer rules translate to use with your laptop? Says Dr. Bailin, “Good upper body posture requires separation of monitor and mouse/keys. A laptop, unless you separate the keys from the monitor, may be okay for head angle or arm angle, but not both.” Bottom line: Try not to use your laptop for long work sessions.

In the Chair

It’s worth nothing that most office equipment is made for the male body. Ladies, you may have to search a little harder to find the right desk-and-chair combo for you.

To Be Continued…In the Newsletter

What I learned while researching for this article: This is a bigger topic than I can handle in a single post, if I want to be thorough—and I do! So I’m going to take on niche desk-health topics–like eye health, carpal tunnel syndrome, standing work stations, the importance of timed breaks and more–in the new Writer Unboxed newsletter. Our first letter, with stretching tips for writers, just went out a few days ago, but you can still sign up to receive it. Learn more about the letter HERE [2], or just trust that it’s awesome and SIGN UP [3].

Have an issue you’re curious about? Let me know in comments and I’ll try to work it into an upcoming newsletter column.

Big thanks to Jonathan Bailin, Ph.D., at ErgonomicsDr.com [4] for his time in preparation for this article.

Write on, everyone–in the right seat.

Photo courtesy Flickr’s lapideo [5]

About Therese Walsh [6]

Therese Walsh co-founded WU in 2006 and is the site's editorial director. She was the architect and 1st editor of WU's only book, Author in Progress [7], and orchestrates the WU UnConference. [8] Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [9], was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and Book Riot; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [10] was a Target Breakout Book. Sign up for her newsletter [11] to be among the first to learn about her new projects (or follow her on BookBub [12]). Learn more on her website [13].