Considering that writing is such a peaceful, calm activity, it can lead to more than its fair share of health risks if you sit at your table or desk for hours every day. Because of the repetitive motions and lack of stretches involved in typing multiple novels, many writers are prone to repetitive strain injuries--which makes writing even harder and can effectively ruin the positive aspects of the experience.
Just as sitting still for hours isn’t great for your health, moving more can also boost your creativity. There are reasons why taking a walk is one of the most popular ways to beat writers’ block, after all. Getting your blood flowing challenges your brain to become more alert, which leads to clearer thoughts and better ideas.
If you want to shake up your routine or work more fitness into your writing life, here are some alternative desks and chairs to get you started.
A standing desk is a basic idea, and it’s easy to fake if you’re on a budget since the only requirement is raising your monitor, mouse and keyboard to an effective height. This is even easier if you’re a laptop writer and can use something as simple as a spare shelf on a bookcase.
Standing desks are largely passive, unlike the next entry on this list, so you don’t feel like you’re working out, but the act of standing and balancing yourself as you work will keep you more actively engaged.
These treadmills can cost a pretty penny compared to the other options listed here, but also offer the unique experience of being able to write while you go on a walk. Even if you stick to a slower pace, you’ll be more energized and refreshed as you work than you would if you were curled up on a couch.
Convertible sitting/standing desks.
This is what I use, so I’m a little biased. A standing desk converter rests on top of an ordinary desk, and you can use levers to raise it to a standing position whenever needed. It’s more affordable than a treadmill desk or a dedicated standing desk, but it has the convenience and flexibility to be whatever you want it to be. If I’m going to be typing for hours on end (like right now as I write this post), I raise it to a standing position for better circulation. If I’m jotting down a quick note, reading from a favorite blog, or working on laying out my site, I shift into a sitting position for a more relaxed ambiance.
This can pair well with an under-the-desk treadmill for an extra layer of activity, or it can pair well with the ideas listed below.
Recent years have seen some new and creative additions to an active workspace, including under-the-desk bicycles and ellipticals. If either of those sounds more engaging or fun than a treadmill, you can trade in sitting still for one. Either is better than sitting still!
If you’re attached to sitting or have no workable way of adding a standing desk, consider swapping out your office chair with a more active alternative. The more traditional route here would look something like the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair, a chair with a balance ball built in to sit on.
If you write with a cat on your lap, a balance ball might not be a good long-term solution. In that case, alternative ergonomic chairs and stools like this one give you the same level of stimulation without the inflatable ball.
You don’t need to turn your writing nook into a gym to introduce a refreshing change of pace to your routine. Any movement or balance you bring in can help your creativity and keep you in better shape for further writing endeavors.
As always, please share your favorite writing workouts in the comments below or join my group of self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook for further discussion.