Friday, August 19, 2011

Help Me, Nora!

My butt is sore – and not in the fun, spank-me-baby way. Nope, it’s a side effect of a condition known as BICHOK. Are you familiar with it?

Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard.

I first heard about BICHOK from a Nora Roberts interview. It’s her secret recipe for getting books written—you keep your butt in the chair and your hands on the keyboard. I figured, if it works for Nora, maybe it’ll work for me. I always listen to the best of the best.

But Nora never mentioned anything about her butt hurting! Or her neck or shoulders or any other part of her fabulously successful self.

Recently I went in for a massage and got a lecture too. You’re in a SITTING PROFESSION, I was told. You have to take the time for real exercise, the kind that gets your heart rate up – not just fast-walking to the bathroom for pee breaks.

It’s true – I’m in a sitting profession. While my mind and imagination are off doing crazy, wild, occasionally sex-crazed things, my body is slumped in a chair. (You can skip the lecture about my posture. Been there. Ignored that.) And if I keep up with this writing career the way I want, I’ll be slumping for hours and days and years …

So how can I sit and write, and not hurt my body? I’ve already bought myself an ergonomic chair – even a desktop computer because apparently laptops can’t possibly be ergonomic. I know the proper posture, and sometimes I even deploy it. But still. All you authors and readers and anyone who puts in hours of chair time … how do you do it?

Here are some suggestions I’ve gotten:

Write at a standing station.

(That’s not me, by the way. If it were, we could skip the whole exercise portion of the lecture.)

I’m just not sure this would work for me. If you’re standing, you have to pay attention to your body to make sure you don’t fall over. I like to forget everything and lose myself in the world I’m creating.

Sit on an exercise ball.

(Again, not me.)

I may try this one, but again, there’s that whole falling over thing. And I’d be tempted to bounce a lot, which might lead to typos. More than the usual number, that is.

Write in a zero gravity chair.

Looks good for a nap, but I’m not sure how much work I’d get done. It would have to be a lot to pay for the $3,995 price tag (chair and desk combined.)

So I’m open to suggestions. Right now I try to take plenty of breaks, throw in some neck rolls and a yoga practice here and there. Drink lots of water. Water helps everything, right? At the very least, it increases the number of pee breaks.

Anyone else have any wisdom to share? Nora, care to chime in?


daydrmzzz said...

So sorry Juniper!! but thanks your butt for me - it has made a great sacrifice for my reading enjoyment xoxox. I have the ball n I love it BUT I have lost my balance n fallen lol. best of luck- xoxoxo for the bum.

Kinsey Holley said...

I hear you. In fact, I have a numb butt at the moment. I usually write on the couch - bad for butt, and back, and shoulders. My day job is as a law librarian - i.e., in a chair hunched over a computer.

I got out of my very regular exercise habit right after Christmas and I'm still trying to get back it.

I so admire/envy Nora's work ethic. I can spend hours on my butt with my hands on the keyboard - but that doesn't equal writing.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Those are actually really good suggestions! I'd love to have a standing workstation and I have tried the ball, but mine's not quite big enough. A good chair is a must and make sure you're set up ergonomically with elbows at 90 degrees and wrists neutral, monitor at eye level and directly in front of you. Google stuff about ergonomics and you'll get good info too.

Sky Robinson said...

Great suggestions and thanks for the reminder that I need to get off my butt. I'm going to try the ball thing, really I am, someday...

Juniper Bell said...

My sister has the ball and I love rolling around on it -- it's great for stretching the back. But I doubt I'd be able to write on it without bouncing off. But maybe I should try! I admit that one appeals to me the most.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions!

PG Forte said...

I tried the ball too--for several months. It was too low, so I had to pile pillows underneath...and then my knees wouldn't fit under the desk so I had to lay the keyboard across the open drawer, yada, yada, yada. Eventually, though, I kinda got tired of tensing all my muscles just to keep from rolling away or falling over.

I had an ergonomic chair once too--loved it.

But standing for hours at a time? No. Not happening.

swamimommy said...

as a physical therapist I can say this is a REAL common problem. I have found that if you have a desk top and have the separate keyboard, put the keyboard in your lap and that helps the ergonomics. Also a lumbar cushion that keeps your back in a decent position, a footrest that rocks forward and backward so you keep changing position of your butt can be a real help, plus it keeps your feet from swelling and causing deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the calf). Try any or all and see if it helps.