Writers Need Ergonomics

Note: The tumult with Romance Writers of America has bumbled on with no real resolution. A whole page and a half of publishers have stated that they cannot risk publishing authors who are connected to RWA at this time. My own chapter has sent a letter to the Board outlining what they need to see before they can continue to be part of the organization. Everyone seems to agree that the President of the board needs to step down or be removed. I’m not sending in my dues until I see this happen. I didn’t want to spend the whole blog talking about it, but some people don’t get the updates. Now you know.

When I worked in an office with 90 or so individual persons employed to sit at desks, do data entry, and answer a bazillion phone calls, plus sort paperwork and go to interview people in small rooms, I took training on ergonomic stuff. That qualified me to evaluate their workspaces and their habits. I measured the distance from their faces to the top of the monitor. I adjusted keyboards and mouse positions and phone distances. I requested foot stools, headphones, and a lot of chairs. So after a while, I could do it in my sleep. Not fun.

010920 random desk

Let’s start with the basics. Writers need a chair with lots of adjustable points. The best feature which I never have seen is if the chair dumped you out every hour and wouldn’t let you sit down for 10 minutes. You need an adjustable back, lumbar support, a seat that doesn’t hit the back of your lower legs when you sit, and enough cush to be comfortable for an hour or longer. You do not want arms on your chair. Arms encourage laziness. Leaning over, resting arms, and sometimes putting a leg up. No need for that. This Hbada model has arms that can be moved out of our way while typing, then lower when you are gaming or goofing off.

010920 chair

You do want adjustable height on the chair, but you also need to be comfortable at your desk. Very few desks are adjustable but if you are lucky enough to have one, then your chair will be easier to make work for you. However, if you have short legs and a tall desk, you will need a footrest. Trust me on this one. That will keep your legs and feet in the correct El shapes.

010920 footrest

Your arms should be in a perfect El as well. Adjustments can be made to some extent. But your fingers should be lower than your wrist. Tendinitis, carpal tunnel, and other ills happen when you crank your fingers upward. Sadly, most keyboards have legs to elevate the wrong side of the board. Do not use those. Instead, fold a newspaper or something similar and lift the edge of the keyboard closest to you. Even the super fancy ergo keyboards will need to be toyed with. However, this Kinesis FreeStyle is very adjustable and one can purchase lifters for the correct side of the board.

010920 keyboard

We still need to cover monitors, lighting, phones, and implements you may need while writing. Here’s a brief look at making your workstation ergonomics. I’ll return next Thursday to finish up. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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