Jane Yolen is a prolific writer of children’s books and poetry. On her website, she answers some FAQs, including this one:
“Do you have a secret that makes you so productive?
Want to know my secret? BIC.
That’s right. BIC. Butt in chair. There is no other single thing that will help you more to become a writer.
William Faulkner said: “I write only when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”
Whether you are a writer or not, so many of our “productive” accomplishments require sitting down and focusing on the task at hand.
Still haven’t organized photos from two years ago? You need to get your BIC. Catching up on a mountian of email? BIC. Deadline at work? BIC. Writing a novel? Certainly BIC.
So what happens once you have overcome all the procrastination trolls that life throws at you? When you actually sit down, with BIC, and do the work?
For one thing, stuff actually gets done. (Huh! It works!). For another, you may experience a problem I encountered when I finally sat myself down and wrote a novel-length manuscript.
My BIC became a big pain in the aspirations.
My solution involved an orthopedist and a physical therapist, but if you start early and take care of your assets, perhaps you can avoid this route.
Here are some things that worked for me:
1) Pull out the old baby stuff. Who else has a “Boppy” in their closet? It makes a great soft seat and can help encourage a more upright posture.
Also, an old nursing stool can be the perfect height and angle for a foot rest under a writing desk. Adjusting my leg positioning seems to help; you may want to give it a try, too.
2) Beyond the Boppy, I tried several sit-upons that at least provided temporary relief.
The big ball! So much fun, so good for your back and bum. Mine is a little short for my desk, and I do find my concentration is not as great when I’m bouncing around. But for the end of the day tired tuchas, nothing beats the ball.
3) The standing desk.
Many writing friends of mine have gone so far as to build treadmill desks, which I think are fantastic. But try just looking around your house until you find a counter surface or table that’s a good height for you. (I am fortunate that the bookshelf in my writing nook has a cupboard door that opens to the perfect height for me.) You will burn more calories while standing, but also, you will be able to keep working! Added bonus points if you have a squishy gel mat you can move to your standing area.
4) If things are already to the point of pain, try this simple exercise:
Stand on one leg. Now, try to close your eyes and balance for 30 seconds. You will need to squeeze your standing-leg butt cheek very hard to keep from falling. Repeat several times a day to minimize pain and get “maximus” power.
5) When all else fails, get a dog. I guarantee you will not be able to sit still for more than an hour at a time without being encouraged by your little friend to get up and go for a walk!
I wish you a happy, healthy, productive day!