you're reading...

Note 248 – How writers can end up with posture problems

As a project manager by day and a writer by night, I spend a lot of time on the computer (mixture of desktop and laptop sessions) which results in head and neck aches.  What I’ve noticed over the Christmas period is that these symptoms seem to have gone away, which is interesting to me as I have been spending less time on the computer. 

“If you want to be a faster writer and a happier writer you must learn about ergonomics” says John Soares on his website Productive Writers (article: Writing Ergonomics: Top Tips for Proper Posture, Alignment, and Movement). 

So, what is ergonomics? 

John Soares says that “ergonomics is the science of work”.  Wikipedia explains that it’s “the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user”.  Both sites show the same excellent diagram showing how to sit correctly at a computer.  According to Wikipedia “ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity”.  How you position your body and the way you move when you write are all important things to be addressed.  You need to be able to do all of this in a way that ensures a minimum amount of strain on your body along with being able to maintain maximum productivity. 

Writing at work and at home

A friend of mine had a long period of time off work following back and neck problems.  She was only allowed to return to work once her workstation was set up correctly, and now it’s set up specifically for her, she quite understandably doesn’t allow anyone to reposition her chair or touch anything on her desk.  You may have heard of ergonomic keyboards and padded wrist rests for use with the keyboard and mouse, which some people use if they either have repetitive strain injury (RSI) or to prevent it.

At home things are usually very different.  Even if you have a fixed workstation, you may choose to write or type in bed, or sitting in an armchair.  I’m usually slouched on the settee with my laptop propped on my lap or perched at the dining room table on a chair with no back support.  Sometimes I even prop myself up in bed for a bit of cosy weekend writing (which is where I am editing this right now!).

I really need to learn to sit properly and maybe invest in a new chair now I’ve read this (and a proper desk for that matter). 

Other things I hadn’t realised (or I am not doing):

  1. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle.
  2. You should move from the elbow not the wrist when using the mouse.
  3. You should do finger exercises at intervals as well as palm massages and wrist stretches.
  4. Even when doing research away from the computer, you must maintain posture, e.g. when updating notes, writing or reading.
  5. Wherever possible, you should attach a keyboard and mouse when using a laptop (something I never do, and should!).

Other helpful tips

It goes without saying that you should also have regular breaks.  A good tip is to set an alarm or use an online timer, such as, to prompt you to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so.  I’ve used it before and it’s surprising how quickly the time goes (and it’s so tempting to go over that time).

Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any other tips.

That’s it for today

Until tomorrow…

Freelance Writer


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


9 thoughts on “Note 248 – How writers can end up with posture problems

  1. That is something I always wondered; could the writing be doing more damage to our overall posture than good. I’ve become more aware of how I’m sitting at my desk at work or when I’m writing. I’m very fortunate to be doing martial arts on a regular basis because it keeps the blood flowing and my body, mind and spirit stretched. Hope you had a great new year’s day and I look forward to reading more:))

    Posted by wartica | January 3, 2012, 9:30 pm
  2. You are quite right! I’m pretty sure the recurring shoulder pain I’m having is from how I sit and use the mouse when typing on my laptop. Great idea, about setting a timer and making myself get up and move around. That would help the “secretarial spread” too!

    Posted by Neeks | January 4, 2012, 2:03 am
  3. Oh dear, this has really struck a nerve *pardon the pun* 😉

    I do all my writing sitting at a dining room table in an ordinary dining chair …..hmmmmm, and I’ve been wondering why I have back aches lol.

    Thanks hon, will look into getting myself a decent chair!


    Posted by Vikki | January 4, 2012, 12:35 pm


  1. Pingback: Pain in the App – Some Smartphone habits not so smart | Hands-of-Faith Holistic Healing Centers® Blog - January 12, 2012

  2. Pingback: How to Set Up an Effective Ergonomics Work Station - Inspired to Write | Inspired to Write - January 18, 2012

  3. Pingback: Note 304 – Laptop stands can help with posture issues « My writing challenge - February 28, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 401 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 183,665 hits
%d bloggers like this: