Exercises For Writers

Reading & Writing


No, not writing exercises, these are ways to stop you cramping up in writing, or any desk job where you’re sedentary for large portions of the day.

1. If You’re Stiff, It May Be Your Glasses

Back, neck, shoulders tight after writing? Get someone to photograph you from side on. If you’re craning forward it may be because you can’t see clearly. Your shoulders rise to protect your neck, you hunch and tense – change your specs or move the screen nearer (forget all that stuff about sitting too close to screens) and use a spray on your eyes; when you concentrate, your blink-rate drops. Try to ones that you spray onto your eyelids – they work better.

2. RSI Begins At Home

With a mouse you cramp your hand unnaturally; if you can, use a trackpad, take frequent breaks and always keep changing your position, however subtly. Laptops are brilliant for this but come with a literal downside; we look down (and hunch) at our screens. If you have a large Mac trying raising the screen height. There’s a great exercise that alleviates this problem. Stretch your arms out from your sides with your hands at eye height and push out with the heels of your hands until you feel a burning sensation in your shoulders. Alternate by doing the same thing in front of your eyes; check online for posture tips to this exercise. Sixty of these little buggers will rejuvenate you!

3. Sitting Is The Enemy

Posture is important. There’s no law that says you have to work in a chair at all, but standing isn’t for everyone. A cushion at the base of your spine helps you to sit upright. I quite like typing on my laptop on the floor, laying on my stomach, just for a few minutes at a time. As little as five minutes of exercise morning and afternoon makes a gigantic difference to how you feel when you work. Be aware of sitting (and standing) upright by imagining there’s a string to the top of your head pulling you upright, chin tucked in.

4. Sleep It Off

Until the late 17th century we slept twice a day. The advent of lighting and factory hours forced us to sleep in a single longer block. I start very early but take a break at 2pm for a short, sharp power-nap that works wonders. If your body is saying you need a quick doze, obey it if you can. Snacking will make you feel tired. Run a diagnostic on when you feel most creative; for me it’s at 6am and 5pm – everyone has different peak hours.

5. Concentrate!

Finally, don’t procrastinate by browsing, watching TV or watching viral videos of Russians driving badly when you should be writing. Set a target the night before so that you have something definite to do when you sit down to work. There’s nothing worse than pulling up your chair with no thought of where you’re going today.

3 comments on “Exercises For Writers”

  1. Vivienne says:

    5 is very valuable.

  2. Anchovee says:

    I have a 2 litre bottle of water beside me throughout the day from which I regularly take a sip. As well as being hydrated I find it makes me get up and have a wee every 15 mins – a walk to the loo giving me the opportunity to stretch the muscles.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I have an app that reminds me every hour to stand up. http://getstandapp.com/ You can set the point in the hour that you want it to remind you. While I rarely sit for a whole hour (and am often standing and working for the hour), it’s always good to be reminded.

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