Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Take a Break by Morgan Mandel

Since becoming unemployed at the beginning of the year, I've had more time to write. My goal is 1,000 words each day on my paranormal thriller, Forever Young. Sometimes I achieve it, sometimes go over. Also, sometimes, my neck or back gets sore.

Writers do face a danger of injuring themselves if they don't use proper posture. I know I tense up when I type fast and unconsciously sit the wrong way, lean over, or press certain keys harder than the others.

To try and offset this tendency, I've decided to take a break when I type. It's not always easy to do that when I'm in the flow, but I do it as soon as I can in those instances. How I do this is by keeping a kitchen timer next to the computer. I set it for 35-40 minutes. When the timer goes off, I get up and move around for maybe 5 minutes, then go back to work. It seems to help the cause.

What do you do to prevent writing injuries and soreness?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career now 99 cents at
Kindle and Smashwords.


Pump Up Your Book said...

The only two afflictions I have when I'm at the computer for a long time is a) I get sleepy and 2) my back starts hurting. I beat two birds with one stone and go to bed. BTW, your new book sounds absolutely wonderful!

T. Forehand said...

I do take breaks, 15 minutes here or there to throw in load of laundry, grab a snack, let the dogs out, that type of thing. It can actually be distracting when I am not in the flow. When I am really writing well, I don't feel the need for a break so much.


Milt Trachtenburg said...

I always write several hours in the very early morning (5:00 AM - 8:00 AM) as my "scheduled writing time." I also write when I pass the computer and just feel like writing. That is not scheduled nor counted upon but it occurs quite frequently.

When I am writing a first draft, I can write through the day and night. I completed a 100,000 word first draft in six weeks while working 70 hours a week at a "regular" job. I rarely slept more than a few hours but I wasn't tired until after I had completed the project.

When I edit and revise, however, I want to be at my best because that is the writing that will either be publication-ready or destined for Circular File XIII.

I shopped until I found a chair that has great back support and "seat" comfort. Too many writers I know economize on this writing necessity. I no longer get the backaches and by having the proper height adjustment, I no longer am plagued by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, either.

I also got a keyboard that fits my fingers. Too many of them have keys that look like they were designed for mouse paws, not people hands. I applied bright letter appliques on top of the keys which need little light to shine bright. Eye strain from improper light is another hazard of writers and when letter is big and bright it reduces the number of times I will hit double keys and have to spend all that time backspacing.

The physical act of writing will never be fun. But it doesn't have to be torture. I figure I spent an extra $300 - $400 to have the right equipment. But as a colleague of mine said many years ago, "Margerine covers the bread, but I like butter."

Morgan Mandel said...

Funny, but when I had a day job I didn't get as many sore muscles. I guess I moved around more, or maybe I wasn't typing as intensely.
When I get really into the flow, I tend to type faster and not pay attention to my posture.

Morgan Mandel

Cheryl said...

I get up and stretch. Sometimes I dance in the living room when no one else is around. When the weather gets nicer I'll walk for a bit.

Rebecca said...

I have the right ergonomic chair and desk setup so it's easy to sit in front of the computer for hours. I usually takes breaks on the hour.

Jaime said...

I've never really thought about this, to be honest. I try to write in different places as well as shifting positions when I'm writing in my recliner at night.

Joan Hall Hovey said...

I sometimes take my dog Scamp out for 15 or so minutes, and throw the ball and let her chase it. Especially fun in the snow. She loves it. Gets me a little exercise and fresh air too. Then I'm ready to get back to the writing.

Gloria Oliver said...

Ah, I don't normally have an issue with this. My bladder is my timer and it will make me move whether I am looking for it to make me or not. I guess there are SOME benefits to getting older. lol.

April said...

Great posts! I think taking a break is very important for both body and mind!