Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 19, 2014 - 9:50am

When you guys sit down to write, what do you do first?  Well, I already said it: sit down!  You don't even think about it, you just sit right down at your desk, whether you're in the mood to write or not.

What's my point?  Well, your body and your brain are very connected.  (Google "nervous system" and you'll see...)  When you sit down, your brain turns off a little.  Want a little anecdotal proof?  What happens when you take a really important phone call?  Ever find yourself standing up, even walking around?  How'd that happen?  For that matter, why do people talk with their hands so much?  Brain-body connection!

So, since I bet all of us sit down to write, I have an idea.  Take your laptop to a counter and stand up to write.  Okay, so standing gets uncomfortable- then lean!  Lean on the counter, put a foot up one at a time on a bar stool, but be upright!  Try this, everyone, and get back to me, let me know if you think it makes a difference.  Then we'll have to talk about the placebo affect, but still, the science is already out there.

Alma's picture
Alma from Denmark is reading Warm Bodies + The Haunted Vagina May 19, 2014 - 10:49am

Awesome idea! I'm currently looking for a new desk that's tall enough so I can stand up and read/write. When I worked as a teacher I never sat down in the classroom and now, being back in college, it feels like I have a lot less energy, and I think it's because I sit down all the time :/

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer May 19, 2014 - 1:25pm

Hemingway wrote standing up. It's worth a shot.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 19, 2014 - 2:47pm

The company I work for founded an accelerator/incubator for startup businesses, and built a really cool creative space that's more conducive to collaboration. Anyway, we've learned that some of these folks like to conduct their meetings standing up. They find that it helps keep things on track and people don't want to screw around as much, so they get done faster and back to what it is they really need to be working on.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 19, 2014 - 4:35pm

I would like to combine that idea with a treadmill (set to saunter, not jog!) so I could move around some. I don't know about you guys, but it's easy to get sedentary in the South, now that our famous humidity is finally  coming 'round and will be with us until January, probably; it's challenging to get outside when you've got allergies and the atmosphere is so thick you need a machete to hack through it.

Gordon, is the company selling stock in that idea? Awesome idea for editorial meetings (yuck!).

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 19, 2014 - 4:36pm

G: the "yuck" was for the editorial meetings, not the concept your company came up with. :)

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami May 19, 2014 - 4:57pm

It might help, I've been sitting all the time. Though I'm not sure if that would help to much, as I write in a notebook first.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) May 20, 2014 - 3:33am

Justwords - you can already buy writing treadmill desks. I've heard good things, though they don't come cheap.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions May 20, 2014 - 4:14am

 You don't hear about it much, but I don't think it's too uncommon.

Thomas Wolfe might be the most well-known example. He was tall for his time, 6'6'', and supposedly stood and wrote longhand using the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Apparently he wrote a several thousand page first draft of Look Homeward, Angel, all in longhand, on top of his refrigerator.

I recently saw a writer interviewed on the Rumpus that had pictures of his stand-up desk made of an old barn door, but I can't remember his name right now.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 20, 2014 - 9:29am

I always sit while writing, but it's true that a good number of said ideas come to me when I'm not. I experimented with bike-writing while writing my last novel (details here), and that was extremely productive. I would dictate into my phone's voice recorder, and then transcribe and expand upon that later. It wasn't good for coming up with new ideas, but if I had a little bit of an outline, I could brainstorm it and flesh out the action well. There was no stopping and rewinding, just (mostly) forward progress, so it was even better than writing longhand in that regard. There's no visual component to distract your eyes with words. It required a lot more editing than I'm used to doing, but for sheer word count, it was an excellent method.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 20, 2014 - 6:57pm

@Adam-- Thanks! I had no idea they were available to the general public. What is your idea of "they don't come cheap"? 

@MattF- Refrigerators in Tommy W's time were the short ones-- I think icebox is better description? Saw his home in NC

@G-- I think the outdoors is extremely inspiring; did you have an indoors or outdoors bike? Plus, I have found writing full on and then going back and editing is worth the effort; generally your ideas have a chance to percolate and the editing is smoother and at a deeper level, if you know what I mean?

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 20, 2014 - 7:40pm

If I tried to compose a story out in the world while cycling, I'd end up splayed over the hood of a car in less than five minutes. Stationary bike for me (or, really, in this case, more of a … wait for it … stationery bike).

 

And it's a recumbent bike: far more comfortable on the tuckus.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 21, 2014 - 4:49pm

Yes, recumbent bikes are a good thing! I was thinking more along the lines of the dictating, but yeah, I guess it was a stupid question.. (sheepish grin).. I've done a lot of my most productive soul-searching while I was walking along the neighborhood nature trail.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 21, 2014 - 6:34pm

You could always go for a walk.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 22, 2014 - 4:39am

Most times first thing I do is pet my dog.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 22, 2014 - 1:12pm

That's a good thing too; I have 2 dogs, but one isn't doing very well; she's hanging in as well as she can at 12.

I've read that having a pet close can help lower your blood pressure too.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 25, 2014 - 9:12pm

^ It's a stress relief / happy thing

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby May 27, 2014 - 12:32pm

I'm all for happy things!