The Downside

I love writing. I love it enough that I would do it all day every day if I could. Enough that I don’t stop just because it’s a weekend. I even love editing, although less so, which is why I’m procrastinating more at the moment.

But there is a downside to writing, and in particular to the kind of intensive writing that takes place in November. As I speak to other WriMos this month, I find more and more of us refusing to type or whinging about lost wrist supports and ineffectual painkillers. Repetitive strain injury and various lesser forms of wrist pain strike the writer dumb.

So for my fellow sufferers who read this, I recommend the excellent advice of Joy Haughton, osteopath extraordinaire (and also my best friend, but she really is good and specialises in RSI) here: Unless you are fortunate enough to live in Cambridge, UK, she won’t be able to treat you personally, but the advice on her blog it still very useful.

Otherwise, here’s a few hints that I find help.

1. Wrist support. They are expensive but last pretty much forever. I can’t wear it to type, but I find if I wear it the rest of the time, it helps when I am typing.

2. Regular breaks. Download workrave ( to force you to take breaks, then make sure it’s turned on. And obey it. You can set the timings to ones which work for you, even really short breaks will help.

3. Massage your arms. For example when watching tv or waiting for the bus. Dig your opposite thumb into the muscle between wrist and elbow and ease it looser. An hour and a half of this is like a miracle cure (and hurts like hell at the time!), but even a couple of minutes helps.

4. Stretch. Again, at the bus stop, watching TV, first thing in the morning or last thing at night. A marathon runner wouldn’t finish a month of races and not stretch out, so don’t let December go by without easing the tension out of those arms. Anything that feels like a stretch is helping so experiment with what works for you. Stretching all over will help with posture and relaxation, but make sure you focus on fingers, arms and shoulders.

Right, better hit publish, workrave is flashing at me angrily.


Filed under Writing

2 responses to “The Downside

  1. Thanks for the wordrave link. Happy writing, Elmo.



    • You’re welcome, Doug. I’m a complete convert now – I’ve never been to a professional about my wrists, but I know I’m lucky. The combination of these things does the trick within a day or so.

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