How to Handle the Physical Demands of Being a Writer

Carole Kirschner Physical Demands of Being a Writer.jpg

Sitting all day can lead to vision, back, and health problems. Here are my top 5 tips to protect yourself while pursuing your writing career. 

 1) Protect your eyes.

Eyes are the window to the soul… and productivity. To help with the eye strain that inevitably comes with staring at a computer for hours, try screen protectors that block LED light and use eyedrops to moisturize when your eyes are feeling tired. 

2) Take the right amount of breaks. 

Taking breaks is a science. There are many apps that will remind when to take breaks and for how long so that you can maximize your stamina in front of the keys. “Time Out” is an app that will remind you to look away from your screen for fifteen seconds every fifteen minutes, and to take a 10-minute standing break every hour. 

3) Make sure you have all the right moves.

Let’s face it, writing all day typically means sitting all day, which can lead to back, hip, and posture problems. To combat this, make sure to include core and lower-body supporting squats, lunges, and stretches (like hip openers) into your daily routine. Wrist exercises and stretches can be very helpful to writers, too. Click here for the fifteen best exercises to strengthen your wrists. 

4) Get the right equipment. 

Lumbar-supporting pillows, wrist wrests, laptop stands, and standing desks can all help with the bodily fatigue that comes with long writing sessions. Make sure to pay attention to slouching and your neck position to avoid long-term posture problems. I use an adjustable standing desk that goes up and down and it’s made a huge difference in how I feel after a full day at the computer. I stand for an hour and a half, then sit for an hour, alternating throughout my workday. 

5) Know when to call it quits. 

As a writer, it’s easy to feel like you should be writing all the time. But pulling an all-nighter or working on your script for twelve hours a day could be working against you. One study showed that humans are only productive for about three hours total in an eight-hour work day. To hit maximum productivity andavoid burnout, set a humane schedule and stick to it. 

Make sure to build in time to work on the “business” part of your show business career, too. Stay on top of the industry’s current events by doing research and reading the trades. Make sure you’re building your network by getting lunch or drinks with other people who work in entertainment, and follow up with folks you haven’t connected with in a while. You never know where your next opportunity might come from. 

Let me know what strategies you’ve found helpful to handle the physical demands of being a writer. Tweet me @CaroleKirsch.