How do you deal with it?
Most of us writers spend hours typing madly and doing endless research, all while staring at the computer screen. I find that some days when I really have to get down to the nitty gritty and finish a project, my eyes are weary and my brain is just simply fried. And headaches are also an issue, too. As much as I love writing, some days it is a struggle physically. How do you deal with these problems when writing is your life occupation?
I would love some feedback from other writers with similar issues!
You use laptop or a desktop? If its desktop, try having an LCD monitor, that might help your eyes at least.
There's a lot of research these days as to the damage a sedentary lifestyle can do. Sitting for long periods isn't just uncomfortable, it's downright dangerous. You really do need to take regular breaks to do some stretches and movements to get the blood flowing and relieve pressure on your back.
If you're getting headaches, get your eyes tested to make sure you don't need glasses. Or maybe you just need an anti-glare screen on your PC.
The other alternative is you're craning your neck forward to see the screen - tension in the neck will cause headaches. A lot of people push their screen too far away to create desk space, then lean forward to read it. Very bad for you, you'll end up stuck that way - like a turtle.
writing is not my livlihood, but I have spent more time sitting and writing these last 9 months and my body is not used to sitting for long periods of time. I've had some of those long days too and I can see how it can be difficult. bodies aren't designed to sit for long periods. we're designed to move. our bodies will 'tell' us to adjust or get up and do something, we just have to listen. maybe just making a few changes can help you feel better.
I think some of the suggestions mentioned above are great.
early morning exercise gets the metabolism going and feeds the brain with good oxygenated blood flow. taking breaks every couple of hours. even a quick walk around the block if you live in a neighborhood. put on some dance music and dance around the room for 5 or 10 minutes. if you have a pool, take a short break and get in and swim some laps or dance around in the water.
posture also is important if sitting for long periods. I have a hub that I wrote about posture that gives some good tips and also touches on ergonomics and how it can make a big difference in how our body feels.
I read somewhere that our brain needs water each hour we're awake. I try to remember to take a drink every hour, even if just a few sips. I keep it close and take a bottle with me when I go out, plus I live here in florida where now it is hot.
I hope this helps. and hope you feel better.
just go out and live your life, you can grab ideas from anywhere, and write anything that seems interesting, don't hold back even if it doesn't go with what your trying to focus on, there is always the next story
I find that using Focus Booster really helps me to focus when I'm working and to take lots of short breaks to make the day easier.
I am highly organized chaos.
A lot of my research gets fed to be by RSS feeds. Also, I tap people I know--for example, a professor of radiology is going to assist me on some biological technology for a short story I'm writing.
The key is to have self control, and no when to take a break. If my brain becomes too crazy, I stand back and take a breather.
Actually, for me it's the other way round i.e. if I don't write when I need to, i feel my mind will explode! I'm restless... can't focus on anything and the words keep going in circles in my head till I've pinned them down. Were I kept from writing for too long, I'm sure I'd go crazy!
(Mercifully, I'm involved in so many writing projects that there is no shortage of outlets, just not enough time!)
If if didn't love beer and hate exercise, I would blame writing for my, uh, broadening horizons. But I don't.
My problem is concentration. I just can't seem to get down to work. There's six hubs in a series that I need to write. I've done 3 of them, one of them is an overview/capstone type one that I write as I write the others. Now I'm on the 4th and I can't seem to get it together. I just can't stop procrastinating.
I sit all day and have developed some back problems that may be assoicated with that. The writing is good for my soul, so i feel like there is some trade off. Overall my eyes are probably taking the brunt of the strain.
I write to release thoughts so usually the process is a relief. When my writing is personal issues I may end up crying which will then give me a headache...so, balance is the key!
Remembering to get some exercise is a good thing...all I have to do is remember it...
Take breaks now and then, go for a walk, bike ride, swim or even a shower helps. One has to use other diversions simply keep focused. This may help with your headaches to. Walk away from your computer and come back refreshed.
From my dingy little garret overlooking the Left Bank I have a most inspiring view. Some days this panorama is all that keeps me going, when my fingers become numb from typing 13 hours straight and the air is so cold I can see my breath (Mme. Randa assures me the radiator will be fixed before summer's end.) No matter. I let the electric kettle boil and fix myself a cup of tea (or "the" as they say here in Paris), not so much to warm my insides, but to restore my hands and fingers to life. It matters not that my only sustenance is stale bread and a rind of cheese -- assuming that damned rat hasn't stolen it. My clothes are moth-eaten and threadbare. But what do I care of such things?
No,such trivial inconveniences of the flesh are a badge I wear with honor! After all, the great masters have taught us that great art is worth sacrificing for!!
LOL @ you sitting in your tiny writer's cave, eating moldy bread and old, mouse-nibbled cheese, staring through pink rimmed eyes and round wire spectacles at your spotty blotter, maybe hacking a rheumatoid cough that blows dust from your tired old lungs, whirling in a cloud that settles, eventually, upon the windowsill and amongst the spider webs as you make your art.
Just lol @ you.
I feel for you MM.
Seriously - nice post!
I write in the one room of the house we can actually live in. I do tonnes of exercise in the day time and write at night, whilst my other half is drilling/sawing/hammering in the room above. I already ache and the chair and gate leg table are uncomfortable. Despite all of this, I love it and can't wait to get started. Inevitably, I will go to bed too late and be knackered next day. But I love it!!! I have found all the fresh air and exercise stimulates the old brain cells no end and my head is full of ideas. The rest of it is just so much detail. Mind you, you've caught me on a good day. In the winter when the joints of my fingers were swollen I was a right miserable cow!
saddlerider1 is right about taking breaks. You should take a break at least every two hours. Get up and do some stretches or go for a walk. Sitting all day isn't good. If you are getting headaches they could be from eye strain or tension in your neck and shoulders. Make sure your monitor is in a good position to prevent eye strain. It should as far away as you can put it and still see it clearly. Change your position regularly to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Our bodies were built for moving around not for sitting still. I hope that helps you some.
For one, writing is not my life's occupation, so I can't relate fully to your problem. I can offer some of my own advice though:
If try not to force my writing. If I am inspired, or in a relaxed and thoughtful mood, then I will write. If you have a laptop, I would suggest trying new scenery. Take your computer to the library, a coffee shop, a park, your backyard etc. Somewhere fresh in hopes of bringing a freshness to your writing. If you exercise, do it before you begin writing, even if it means waking up earlier. If you don't exercise, start. It will quiet your brain (probably help relieve that headache) and prepare you for clear thinking. That is all I got for now.
Wow, I received so many helpful thoughts and much encouragement here! This morning I was really feeling low…a combination of sick children who were up nearly all night, tight deadlines, and a rainy day that left me exhausted, headachy, and stuck indoors.
I too love my writing and live for the quiet moments when I can sit down and pour out all the thoughts and ideas I have been collecting. But I know I need to plan more breaks and activity into my schedule.
Thanks all for the advice…I have been sitting here reading and re-reading the comments. It is nice to have a place like the forums to turn to for fresh inspiration and encouragement when you really need it.
Yup, it's just me, the spiderwebs, the fromage-stealing rat, and a coupla strong woodchucks. They are most useful for tossing logs (well, kindling is all I can afford on my writer's wages) onto the wood stove:-).
I keep a couple of 2 or 3 lb handweights on my desk for stretching the arms, necks, and shoulder. (Before starting to do that I'd get a horrendous knot in the back of one shoulder if I accidentally moved the monitor and didn't realize it.
Other than the neck/shoulder thing, paleness is pretty much my biggest "issue" I'm pale anyway. Now I pretty much glow in the dark.
After I finish a few things that need to be done, my plan is to start working outside several days a week during the Summer (or at least mornings).
I used to have a lot of issues with soreness and such, but not so much anymore. My husband went out and bought me a really nice cushy office chair and a massage/heat pad for my work area, as well as an ergonomic keyboard that really helps with the wrist and arm strain...and I bought myself voice recognition software, which works great for roughing out some of the longer pieces and giving my fingers a break.
My day generally goes something like this...I get up, make myself eat a decent breakfast whether I feel like it or not, dink around checking my affiliate accounts, messages, etc. for about half an hour after, then do a vigorous workout (well...less vigorous these days until October or November...can't be beating up the baby!) and then buckle down to work. I try to work about 1 1/2-2 hours at a time and get up and move in between, running the massage pad at intervals throughout my sitting time, which helps keep the blood going. My husband gets home at 3:30, and by then my body is feeling pretty good...but my brain is always fried, sometimes to the point that I can't talk straight for a little bit. I rarely get headaches, but then I do have a plasma screen that I have tilted so I can see it perfectly from a healthy sitting position...though that gets changed sometimes when I decide to recline my chair, set my keyboard on my lap and work that way for a while .
Honestly, the headaches are getting a little out of control. I type for an hour or two, and then it hits and I start having trouble concentrating. The problem could be lack of sleep (I have a little one that is only a couple months old in the house…I'm sure all mothers here can relate!) I would like to start going to bed earlier, but nighttime is when my mind really comes alive and it is so nice and quiet!
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