My addiction to workaholic mode has put my wrists out of commission in just three weeks. That took handwriting about 38k words (circa 120 pages), then typing them up , a good chunk of time spent playing WoW and block of hours playing LoL, some Skyrim while I eagerly anticipate the announcement of the first round of beta testers for ESO, and that’s about it. Count your regular daily habits that require the use of hands, like brushing teeth and carrying a tea mug to your desk, and suddenly you begin to realize how important your wrists are, and how little you can do when you need to stop using them. Yes, I’m writing this blog post today but it’s just going to be a short one. A little extra pain for a little personal gain.
All I want to do today is pass on a writing tip: handwrite your first draft. And in light of the lovely state of my wrists: don’t handwrite 12 hours a day or more, every day. My determination to write my post-apocalypse fantasy book as fast as I can has turned into bullheaded stupidity. Pain means stop.
But my brain is so full of energy; must keep going!
I’m telling you, pain means stop, kiddo.
My wrist’ll feel fine in the morning!
No it won’t.
Yeah, I woke up this past Tuesday and it didn’t feel too great. All I did that day was type up my latest chapter. By the end of the day, my right wrist (I’m a righty obviously) would twinge now and then, which would baffle me. I’d taken days off here and there to rest my brain, even though rest days would make me feel lazy because I didn’t write anything. Surely, I’d be fine in the morning. Yeah… no. I’ve basically turned into a grumpy couch potato who watches a lot of Animal Planet and NatGeo. I tried playing Pokémon on my DS but holding the device induced pain as well. At least I can still take the dog roller blading without incident. The exercise keeps me sane.
Anyway, the reason I suggested handwriting your first draft is because this magical thing happens in the process. Slowing down to handwrite allows your brain to come up with more ideas as you go, and when you type up what you wrote, even more ideas crop up. All these details to enrich the story present themselves, and suddenly you have a notes scribbled all over the place that you can’t wait to incorporate.
Now, with all that said, handwriting probably doesn’t work for everyone. The idea might make a lot of people cringe. Step away from the computer? Are you crazy, Angie? Of course I am! Sanity is overrated. But in all seriousness: try it. You just might like it. Find a writing utensil that feels comfortable to hold, and feels good as it draws the letters on the page. I like my sharpie pens. Once the paper and writing utensil have been established, find a good place to sit. I don’t have a preference but my wrist likes flat writing surfaces, instead of propping up the notepad on my quads. Get out of your house if there are too many distractions and temptations to get sidetracked. Maybe even turn on some classical music or white noise. I like having a low fan on to smooth out the ambience since it’s too cold to open the windows just yet. Birdsong, tree frogs, and wind through leaves are all soothing. It being still March in New England, the trees are still naked, so the third sound is… yeah. Not happening just yet.
Happy writing and don’t kill your wrists like I did!