This Week, plus an explanation

Today, I am the featured author over at Here Be Magic, the group blog for Carina Press fantasy and paranormal authors. I wrote about legends, both flawed and … well, legendary. Here’s the link.

Later this week, my guest will be the debut author of a novel that is attracting reviews at places like The New York Times. It’s a different sort of novel for this blog, but I hope you enjoy it.


And now, I think a bit of an explanation is in order, because this blog has been mostly guests these days. I have suffered a upper back injury that has made it difficult to type. The frustrating thing is I don’t even know how I hurt it. The only thing I can blame is time at the computer in postures that probably are not good for my back. Progress on my fiction is now measured in nightly hundreds of words rather than thousands. The fact that my day job requires me to sit at a computer chair has not helped matters.

You know how it is–you think it’s a temporary neck ache, that things will be fine in a few days, and then weeks pass with no change. I will probably have to visit a doctor to rule out major problems.

Anyone have any tips? I’ve been thinking of getting Dragon Naturally Speaking, but I don’t know if such software will work well for writing fiction. I think what it comes down to is supporting my elbows while I write. I’m going to have to think of ways to make my work area more ergonomic.

12 Thoughts to “This Week, plus an explanation”

  1. My biggest tip re: pain issues is DON’T NEGLECT THEM. I’m still suffering and producing far too few pages four months later from having tried to push through the pain when I started having back, hand, and arm issues trying to do NaNoWriMo on a less than ergonomically ideal desk.

    I haven’t tried Dragon Naturally Speaking yet, because I just don’t see how I could write that way–I swear I use a different and far more fluent part of my brain in writing than in speaking. But if the cortisone shots I’m getting Wednesday don’t help, I may be forced to it.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Thank you–I went to the doctor TODAY and got some muscle relaxers along with instructions on how to set up my workplace and how to safely stretch my neck. I hope it helps!

  2. I don’t have any suggestions for making your workspace more comfortable. However, from what I’ve seen friens and relatives go thru, plus what I remember from a little wrist trouble I had a few years ago, sooner is better than later for getting these problems addressed. The longer your workspace causes problems, the more serious the injuries get, and the longer they take to heal once you do change things. Injuries like this don’t heal overnight, as much as I wish they would. {lop-sided smile}

    Anyway, if you were thinking of looking into a wrist rest or a speech interpretation program in a couple of weeks, I suggest not waiting that long. Do it sooner. {sympathetic smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    1. Tia Nevitt

      As I said in my reply to Susanna, I got some medical advice that hopefully will help. I don’t tend to tolerate pain for long. My doctor drilled into me that if something hurts, something’s wrong. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be serious.

      1. Oh good. I’ve long believed that pain is a warning that something is wrong, too. {Smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  3. Deborah Blake

    You have my sympathy. I’ve been dealing with repetitive stress issues for ages–mostly arm, shoulder, and wrist, but also lower back. These days the major complaint is that my tailbone (you heard me) is sliding out of place. No one knows why, but it probably has to do with sitting at the computer in bad positions. Urg.

    Dragon is tricky. I’ve tried to use it in the past, without much success, although I know people who swear by it.

    Try changing positions often and stretching. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and Reiki all help. And be aware of how you sit and which positions seem to cause strain.

    Good luck, babe!

  4. Oh, you poor thing. I have a lower back problem that keeps me from sitting too long. Traditional medicine didn’t help. They just kept pumping me with drugs to hide the pain. I finally went to a chiropractor and for the time in 3 years I was able to sleep on my back again.

    Ref: Dragon
    I haven’t been willing to shell out that kind of money–especially since there’s a learning curve involved. But some people like it. Many computers have voice recognition programs on them. I tried it on mine but I just wasn’t patient enough to learn all the commands.

  5. Tia Nevitt

    Deb, if these ergonomic tips don’t work, I’ll try one of those.

    Maria, many of the reviews on Amazon were dictated using the software, and the way the reviews are punctuated makes me pause. It doesn’t look like it would be precise enough, and I can imagine how tricky things would get when trying to punctuate dialog.

    Someone in my RWA group linked to a deal somewhere out on the internet where you could get it for 25 dollars after rebate.

  6. JenM

    I strongly recommend getting yourself to a chiropractor sooner rather than later, however, ask around because there aren’t that many really good ones (a bad one won’t hurt you, but won’t help you either). I suffered a pinched nerve in my hip last year and could hardly stand up for weeks. At the same time I had a long-term repetitive stress injury in my shoulder. I knew there was nothing a doctor could do for me so I started going to a chiropractor. Over the course of 2 mos, my pinched nerve did get better – mainly because he used one of those gravity chairs where you are suspended upsidedown to stretch and lengthen the muscles and relieve the pressure on the nerve – but no matter how much he worked on my shoulder it didn’t get better. I then switched to another chiropractor and after 4 sessions, she had completely fixed my shoulder and I was pain free for the first time in over a year. I’m sure if I’d been going to her right from the start, it wouldn’t have taken nearly as long to fix my pinched nerve either.

    If you lived in the SF Bay Area, I could give you her name, but since I don’t think you do, I would just recommend asking around in your area to find someone.

  7. Diana Fox

    If you can afford it, I highly recommend taking some lessons in the Alexander Technique. I started studying after a serious back injury in 2007, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. You can Google “Alexander Technique back pain” for more background, but what I love about it is that instead of only depending on a doctor/chiropractor/other bodyworker to treat my pain, it helps me learn about my own habits of using my body–habits which may be contributing to my pain. By becoming more aware of those habits and working to change them, I can learn how to do things more effectively and thereby cause myself less pain and injury in every aspect of my life. This is a long term rather than short term solution, but depending on the person, even a handful of lessons can really make a big difference! There are also some good books that give more details, email me if you want recommendations.

    1. Tia Nevitt

      Thank you for the tip–that’s quite an endorsement. I’ll check them out.

  8. I strongly recommend not resting your wrists or elbows on anything while typing. I ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome from resting them, and I’ve since learned that if you rest them on something, it usually results in your using your wrists like hinges when they really need to be straight while you’re typing so the nerves won’t be compressed as they pass through the carpal tunnel.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon!

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