Monday, May 6, 2019

No Grass Growing Here by Brenda Chapman

Question: Writers sit and write – for a long time. What do you do to stop yourself becoming welded to your writing seat?

I actually have the opposite problem -- how to tether myself to the chair for long stretches of time.


When I worked in a government office, I often had no reason to get out of my chair, but I knew that I should get up every hour to get the blood flowing. Studies have shown that sitting too long is bad for one's health. Think of blood clots from sitting for eight hours straight on an airplane. 

While writing at home, I'm often popping out of my chair to do something else: throw in a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, put the kettle on for tea. I often have a book that I'm reading on the go and will take breaks to read a few pages or a chapter. I aim to write a daily minimum word count and will return again and again to my computer until it's reached, even if I start in the morning and finish after supper. Luckily, I have no problem refocusing.

If I'm heavily involved in writing a scene, I sit for longer stretches but rarely for more than an hour at a time. I take breaks to refresh my brain and to let my subconscious work. Sometimes the word or idea I'm searching for magically appears after a break. It's like those times you're trying to remember somebody's name and only think of it later when you've moved on to something else.

I'm also a big believer in daily exercise and often start my morning with an hour workout on my stationery bike and elliptical. This gets the blood flowing and I find that I can sit longer - maybe, because I'm worn out :-) In the summer, I'll break from writing to bike to the store to pick up supper. Afternoons, I'll go for a walk. 

I also alternate writing between my desktop computer and my laptop, which I take outside when the weather warms up. So all things considered, I'm not somebody who likes to stay in one place too long and not even writing can keep me welded in place for long. And now that the good spring weather is  upon us, it's getting even tougher ...




3 comments:

Susan C Shea said...

My comment didn't post earlier so, repeating myself, I also believe in jumping up from the screen every hour or so, be it for laundry, lunch, or daydreaming while wandering in the garden. But I don't have your good exercise habits so it's rarely for that, alas.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

I'm with you, Brenda. It's harder to keep myself tethered to the chair, rather than keeping myself from becoming welded to it.

Brenda Chapman said...

Susan and Dietrich - Good to know I'm not alone in my restless habits :-)