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When things are flowing and I'm in the groove, I can easily produce 10,000 words per day. However, my body cannot. Anything over 4k words/day and my back hurts and my hands cramp up. I have tried everything. Standing desks made my feet and knees hurt. Dictation made me too wordy. The list of things I have tried is endless.

Finally, I think I'm on to something.

First, I solved my back problem by getting a good recliner and a 40" monitor. I put the monitor above my regular monitors on my corner desk and I sit in the recliner about 15 feet away with a wireless keyboard and mouse on a laptop tray on my lap. This, combined with regularly getting up and walking around a bit has kept my back from getting sore when writing for 6-8 hours at a stretch.

I tried various keyboards, finally settling on the Logitech K350. That helped a lot, but it still didn't make me able to type past 5k/day without hand pain. So, after a lot of research I finally splurged on a $300 Kinesis Advantage Pro keyboard. I received it today and I am typing on it now. So far, I am pleased. The design is extreme and the layout slightly unusual, but it definitely feels like it is less effort to type. Right off the bat, I can tell that I do not have to reach as far to reach the keys.

What I am most excited about is the ability to remap keys at the hardware level. I have always wanted to remap various punctuation symbols to make them easier to use. (For fiction, I don't want to have to use the shift key unless I'm capitalizing a letter.)

I suspect that it will take me a few weeks to get back up to speed on this keyboard, but I think it will be worth the effort. $300 is a LOT to pay for a keyboard, but if it decreases my discomfort and enables me to put out more work, it will be worth it.
 

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You aren't the only one fighting this battle. I do use a recliner and have for some time now, but nothing makes me able to sit and type for long stretches. I really tore myself up over the last book in the editing stages because I'd get so involved I'd ignore creeping stiffness and then be barely able to walk when I finally got up. I bought a timer in hopes it will keep me from doing that again. Hands and back aren't my problem. Neck, shoulders and legs (I broke a hip some 25 years ago and it's never been really right since).
 

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I've got a concussion right now. Bike accident a week ago. Man, it's killing me. I'm still working, but I'm STUPID. (If I say anything unusually stupid, that's why; please forgive.)

Oddly, I wrote my best-loved book while I was extremely sick & in a ton of pain. I blame Vicodin. What I need for breakout success, clearly, is drugs. Serious drugs.

But, yeah. The times when I've been healthy doing this have sure been easier. On the other hand, writing is the one thing I can do in almost any state, the one thing distracting enough. Great job in that sense.
 
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Thanks for sharing this.

I do writing and typing all the time.

1) Normal chairs just kill me.

2) Standing desk doesn't work. Feet are paining by the end of the day.

3) I'll try a recliner if I can figure out a setup.

4) I found the Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard is really good for hand and wrist comfort. I used a Das keyboard (no lettering, mechanical keys). It's superfast but wrists start paining after 3-4 weeks of typing. I'd strongly recommend it (or any other mechanical keyboard) if you want to improve typing speed. Works like magic.

I strongly second getting a very good mechanical keyboard. $300 isn't much when you consider how often you'll use it.
Just test it first to make sure you are comfortable with it.

The Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard is just $39. It's really good to use as a main or a 2nd keyboard because it really reduces stress on wrists and hands.
For using a mouse you can use a mousepad with a wrist rest. really really helps. And make sure you get mouse that's the right size for your hand. That can be one of the biggest sources of problems - using a mouse that is too small or too big for your hand.
 

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I'm experimenting with speech to text software at the moment. Have to say I don't really like it - as the brain to fingers process and the brain to mouth process feels quite different. But I suspect that's just habit. I remember a day when I felt I couldn't be creative unless I had a pen and a piece of paper!

It's not 100% accurate (it's ok though) but might be worth a try?
 

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I see people talking about recliners here but I have one question, what kind of chair were you using before?

If you were using a couple hundred dollar chair from Office Max, that's your problem. Those chairs aren't made for long-term use. You need a more expensive chair that is made for long-term comfort while sitting.

I got lucky and my mom works at a bank and recently they were junking old chairs. The chair I got is normally like a $600 chair and it's pretty amazing. I have no problem sitting long term.

I should also mention, I normally have back problems when sitting in low quality chairs. A few years ago I had back-to-back classes in the same room and I strained my back sitting in a really crappy chair for 5 hours and have had recurring back issues since that first strain.
 

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I'm saving up for a zero gravity chair. I have a $200 chair from Staples. It's okay for the first hour, then I start to have problems. A combination of dictation and mechanical keyboard make a huge difference for me. I also use the built text to speech on my laptop and phone to read back to me to reduce eye strain. I work all day in front of a computer, so every little bit counts when I'm home.
 

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I just got a new mechanical keyboard to try and help my hands. I spend most of my day at work on a computer, and then I come home and write for a while and the more I write in the evening, the more of a strain it puts on my hands. I havent had a chance to open it yet (hopefully tomorrow), so we'll see how that works.

I will say that I did get a 200$ chair at Staples and I absolutely love it. I've nearly killed it (I need a new one), but it's the only thing that helps my back after a long day in a crappy office chair.
 

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Rosalind James said:
I've got a concussion right now. Bike accident a week ago. Man, it's killing me. I'm still working, but I'm STUPID. (If I say anything unusually stupid, that's why; please forgive.)

Oddly, I wrote my best-loved book while I was extremely sick & in a ton of pain. I blame Vicodin. What I need for breakout success, clearly, is drugs. Serious drugs.

But, yeah. The times when I've been healthy doing this have sure been easier. On the other hand, writing is the one thing I can do in almost any state, the one thing distracting enough. Great job in that sense.
Sorry about your concussion. I got a concussion at the end of November when I fell on the ice walking my dog. Very scary. Researchers say fish oil may help.

To the OP, thanks for the info here about the keyboard.
 
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I sit in an office chair at my day job so when I get home I don't want to do that.

My desk is in my family room (if it wasn't, my daughter would never see me,) and I have a comfy couch beside it. I sit on the couch with a wooden board on my lap, wireless keyboard and mouse on the board and the monitor on the desk, turned to face me.

It works incredibly well for me. I can sit and type for hours at at time and never have a problem with back, neck, wrist pain or anything like that.

Best way to do it is to find what is comfortable for you while staying productive. Sitting at a desk isn't always the best way.
 

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I often dictate, reclining in a goodish office chair. But I also often switch to this:



And I noticed that my desk top needs to be slightly lower than what is the usual height.
 
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I'm travelling so it makes it hard to get equipment to suit me and the cost of buying it at location isn't viable.

As a result I have three problems: The first is that my sitting end develops sore patches so I pad cushions which have to be changed/rearranged periodically. In Corfu I had a kitchen chair with THREE cushions on it (and it still gave me problems); The second problem is that I have what is commonly known as 'writers slump' resulting from improperly positioned laptop and inability to adjust heights of everything. This is giving me a gut that I fully intend to shift to my ankles or big toe before the summer is over (if I cannot make it vanish); Thirdly, I have incorrect posture at the neck as my laptop is too low and this is giving me a form of tinnitus caused by restricted blood flow up through the neck. It feels like blood pressure (which isn't what I have) and keeps me awake, or gives me slight dizziness when I get up and stretch my neck.

Why am I telling you this? - well, because my Doctor isn't here to tell me everything is fine, ("just take these tablets.")

and because I fully understand why Rykymus is spending $300 on a keyboard. The idea of leaning back and typing into something that costs that much and looking up at a 40" screen sounds brilliant. I'm going to have to write another book to pay for all of it. :D

Has anyone considered a water-filled chair?
 

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Rosalind James said:
I've got a concussion right now. Bike accident a week ago. Man, it's killing me. I'm still working, but I'm STUPID. (If I say anything unusually stupid, that's why; please forgive.)

Oddly, I wrote my best-loved book while I was extremely sick & in a ton of pain. I blame Vicodin. What I need for breakout success, clearly, is drugs. Serious drugs.

But, yeah. The times when I've been healthy doing this have sure been easier. On the other hand, writing is the one thing I can do in almost any state, the one thing distracting enough. Great job in that sense.
Take care of yourself! Those head injuries can be exhausting.

I am working on my setup. I don't have a lot of time to sit at the desk, but if I work more than usual my back/hip gets worse than usual. I move between sitting at the desk in a $80 Ikea chair (big improvement over the rickety old hard dining room chair I used before), lying on my belly on the ground, and standing. I think I can get by for a while with this setup of changing positions often, but I'm starting to think I should get something with a bigger screen because of the eyestrain I get after a while with this 13" (or so) laptop.
 

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1+ to both the speech to text and the pilatus ball. Those two right there are real solutions.

Both take a lot of getting used to but they are viable workarounds for mortal problems for a body over thirty five sitting upright, banging away on a keyboard and shunting a mouse for 8 hours plus.
 

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Nic said:
I often dictate, reclining in a goodish office chair. But I also often switch to this:



And I noticed that my desk top needs to be slightly lower than what is the usual height.
Nic your pilatus ball looks too soft. Pump it full of air and work those abs and what have you around the middle. Seriously though, it needs pumping up or it won't be providing a solution to the back problems like it should in my books. Cool that you post the pic.
 

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I've been sitting 10+ hours a day behind the computer for about 5 years now as part of my job. And I've been an avid computer gamer for 2 decades. No pains of any sort.

The key? Regular exercise. Especially for the lower back but also the abs. Of-course I train the whole body, but for long time sitting you really want to have a strong lower back and abs to keep you balanced. Good upper back and shoulders is important too, but lower back causes the worst pains when left untrained, so that's a priority. Regular walks during breaks is a very good idea as-well. As is massage.

Taking care of the body isn't as hard as many think. It's just another habit to develop.

I bought some weightlifting equipment 10 years ago and I still use it to work out at home 4-5x a week for an hour. Just step up from my computer chair, do the work-out and sit back down.

A few chosen supplements can also help of-course. :)
 

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I normally write in many different places. Kitchen island on tall chair with curved hard back, game table with basic chair that sits a little too low, recliner with laptop on my lap, recliner with laptop on a laptop desk, outdoor table in a metal chair with extra cushion on seat, etc. Doing all that I never had a problem with my body. My charger cord died. I'm using a cord from an older computer and it puts out lower wattage. It's enough to operate the laptop but not enough to charge its battery. The result is I can't move my laptop from place to place without a full shutdown and restart. That takes forever on my laptop. Guess what? My back is hurting, I have a sore shoulder muscle, and my neck is stiff. I'd better get a new proper charger cord.
 

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Two things I couldn't live without: a good chiropractor and a good massage therapist. I exercise almost every day. I have a treadmill desk, a standing desk, and a memory foam pillow beneath my bum for when I'm sitting. Still, being locked in one position (and you usually don't notice you're doing it) for a length of time takes its toll. I get terrible (myofascial) knots in my back, shoulders, neck. My hips/glutes are the worst. Scheduling a massage once a month (I'd go every other week if it wasn't so pricey) has been a lifesaver. If I get really out of whack, my chiropractor puts me back into alignment.

A lot of the muscle pain that people experience is due to myofascial pain (also known as trigger points). If one muscle gets overworked, it will develop a knot. As you get older, your muscles and tendons are less pliable. You can identify these trigger points by a tender spot somewhere along that muscle. Sometimes, these knots can produce other knots as your body tries to compensate. A massage therapist who does myofascial release will know how to identify the trouble spots. Can't recommend it enough. The relief is amazing!
 

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N. Gemini Sasson said:
A lot of the muscle pain that people experience is due to myofascial pain (also known as trigger points). If one muscle gets overworked, it will develop a knot. As you get older, your muscles and tendons are less pliable. You can identify these trigger points by a tender spot somewhere along that muscle. Sometimes, these knots can produce other knots as your body tries to compensate. A massage therapist who does myofascial release will know how to identify the trouble spots. Can't recommend it enough. The relief is amazing!
Two of the things I'd like to do if I were rich: Weekly massage therapy and hire a housecleaner.
 

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I type all over the place on my laptop, and I know it's not really doing me any good. Something to look into after the wedding, I guess. I may give dictation software a go at some point as I work in front of a computer all day, so it would be good to get some of my writing done without staring at a backlit screen.

+1 for the weekly massage and housecleaner!
 
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