Sunday, December 15, 2013

7 Question of the Week: What is Your Best Ergonomic Tip for Writers?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

December 15, 2013

I’m writing this post during my weekly Wednesday night visit to the library. My daughter volunteers here every week reading to pre- and early-readers, and I bring my laptop to work on my manuscript and/or this Question of the Week post. But this week there’s a problem: I accidentally left my mouse at home. Which means, I have to use the track pad. Which means, my wrist is going to be sore. I have tendonitis and/or carpal tunnel syndrome, and while most of the time it doesn’t bother me, using the track pad instead of a mouse aggravates it. By the end of the evening, my wrist will feel constricted and stiff and sore. It’s starting already! When I get home I’ll put on my wrist brace and probably sleep in it all night, and hope that it stops hurting by morning. This situation leads me to my question of the week:

What is your best ergonomic tip for writers?

I do not love my carpal tunnel syndrome.
photo credit: kurichan+ via photopin cc

MY ANSWER: In addition to using a mouse instead of a track pad, I also made a little cushion for my forearm to rest on while I write. It raises my arm so my wrist isn’t bent up at an awkward angle as I grip the mouse. To make the cushion, I fold up a fuzzy sock into a terrycloth wristband, and then I slip it over my forearm, resting my arm on the sock. The wristband keeps it in place on my arm while I slide the mouse around. Admittedly, it’s not pretty, although I tried to make it cute by using a bright pink wristband and a blue and white sock. But it cost me nothing, and most importantly, it works: after I started using my homemade cushion, my wrist pain almost disappeared. Now it’s only aggravated when I stupidly forget my mouse and the cushion at home.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: Do you suffer from common writers’ pain, such as carpal tunnel, a bad back, or a sore neck? What do you do to alleviate the pain? What is your favorite ergonomic tip?


  1. My upper back goes out from my right arm being on the mouse, and from bad posture. The best thing Ive found for this is an exercise video that uses that big rubber ball. After you've rolled on it for an hour, it massages the kinks out of your back. Its wonderful. I used a beginner video by that Buns of Steel lady.

  2. A squashy couch and a neck that cracks easily. :)

  3. good subject. I bunged my back up terribly earlier this fall, now I've gotten a new chair, set things up well, but it is hard. Am back to doing gentle yoga and long walks and it is slowly coming..

  4. Taking a break from the screen and doing yoga stretches now & again helps me. Great tip about the forearm padding - may have to try that.

  5. Well, aren't you clever!! I bought a soft wrist rest at Best Buy. :P It helped a lot, though. My best ergonomic tip is to TAKE BREAKS. Which of course I don't do enough of. Hence, my shoulders are really tight.

  6. For me it's all about the chair - and a wide desk so I can scoot my laptop around to vary arm positions.

  7. Achy back from sitting too long. But I take breaks and stretch my back. That helps.


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