Standing while you work

Word count: 263 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers. Today I discuss an article on standing while you work, recently published by the Economist…

I have a bad back. What started as a simply annoying pain in my thoracic spine has lasted seven years (!) and now migrated towards my lumbar spine. I thought I’d tried everything — massage, Pilates, yoga, physiotherapy and chiropractory. Still, the pain persists.

But I have a new strategy. I now write standing up.

One of my readers suggested this to me and, it turns out, that other writers through the years have used the technique as well. Hemingway, for example, preferred to write standing up. (That’s him in the photo, above.) So did Winston Churchill. For more on the history of standing while working, check out this interesting article in the Aug 10/13 Economist.

If you want to try the same thing, let me make one suggestion. An anti-fatigue mat is essential. It’s hard on your legs and feet to stand for even an hour — never mind a full day! The anti-fatigue mat is an inexpensive way (mine cost $33) to make it more bearable.

Unexpectedly, I even find it easier to write while standing. Easier as in the ideas seem to flow more rapidly and reliably. But it’s too early to tell whether it’s going to help my back. I’ve been doing this for only a week so far. Will report back as soon as I know more.