Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Comfort While Writing

Get the violins out: I’m having comfort issues when writing.

Usually I sit upright at my desk on a hard-backed chair with back and bum cushions. I find that an upright position helps to avoid slouching and laziness, which I am prone to after about, say, two paragraphs of graft. I have a slow old fart of a computer which keeps me off the internet and focussed at the task in hand. This position has seen me through a novel, a dozen short stories, two academic essays and eighty blog posts. So it works.

Sometimes I use my flatmate’s computer to write, but this has reverse success. The chair is too comfortable and the computer has a super-quick Pentium chip, meaning it’s easier to think of something at random then go raking up the internet for details. However, it is more comfortable and a more pleasant writing experience, if somewhat slow and snoozy.

But now, finding the hard-backed chair too draconian, and the other chair unavailable, I’ve reverted to using my laptop in a very comfortable chair indeed. A chair in which I can lean forward, slouch back, put my feet up and reach hot cups of cocoa. This gives me the best of both worlds, but the snag is that Microsoft Word does irritating things with punctuation on the laptop, I can’t hook it up to a printer, and the broadband cable is sticking out the back like an IV drip. And it keeps disconnecting if I move a quarter inch. There it goes again!

So, the point I want to make is... aaaaarrrrgh! This is an infuriating dilemma! Do I select discomfort, discipline and neat wiring over messy wires, comfort and small laptop snags? Eh???

For now, I find the laptop easier to write on. Not having to lean forward over a desk is a boon, as is having a smaller monitor that doesn’t strain the eyes so much. So for now, the future for me lies in the laptop. If I improve my productivity using this thing then I might switch to this writing method in future. Ha-ho-haw! I’m easily excited these days.

Now tell me how you write so I can laugh at you. Go on, tell me, slouchy McPoopypants. I dare you.



    Sorry. Had to be said. May I recommend an exercise ball to firm your core while not stressing your bum cheeks?

    But what do I know. I sit in my basement wrapped in blankets because it is too cold and tolerate the endless background noise of 'the Office' because it seems to be the only common denominator among my family members.

  2. Being Insulin Dependant Diabetic means zero fat cushioning on my rump. 80Kg pressing uncushioned muscle against any hard surface becomes uncomfortable in 5 mins, bum numbing after 10, and bloody painful from then on.
    So, I use a semi-padded chair but tilted backwards and I lean back with feet up on my desk and keyboard on my lap. This distributes my weight so it's not all on my bum.
    Drawback is that I have to have a 32" monitor and the keyboard wobbles, slowing down my typing. Even then, sore bum occurs within an hour or so. I suffer for my art! :)

  3. Tart: But the chair is so comfy! Plus I can do arm-stretching exercises without walloping coffee cups off desks!

    Your writing arrangement sounds Nietzschean: the dear old philosopher was trapped in his basement in his older days pondering on things while his family watched "the Price is Right" upstairs.

    Mike: That is suffering for your art! My set-up looks super-comfy in comparison. Perhaps a laptop would better suit your needs, or some sort of keyboard holder? I know they don't make those, but I might have just spotted a massive gap in the market and could be on the cusp of a breakthrough. My patent! :)

  4. I often write strapped into one of those big plastic balls as I roll around the countryside. It keeps me awake and loosens my neck muscles.

    The rest of the time, I sit in a cheap office chair that's two loose screws away from falling apart. I hunch over the keyboard, so my partner comes in every once in a while and straightens me (and yells at me for sitting hunched over).

    My desk is adjustable, so I should raise it for a couple of hours each day so that I'm able to write while standing. Yeah, right.

  5. We should get two balls and go a-rolling. That way, we'd be the ball sac of contemporary fiction.

    I'm surprised how many people (well, three) like to be uncomfortable while writing. You people are, if not sick, then deranged, or insane, or loopy, or mad, or wacko, or crazy-pants, or damaged, or neither.

    I love you.