Thursday, February 3, 2011

Aspiring Advice: When The Hand Breaks

Let's imagine for a second that you are able to write for hours on end without interruptions or distractions - just you and the keyboard. Nice thought, isn't it? But like the moderation of things, too much of anything can do you harm. What can be more heinous to a writer then a bad case of tendinitis or carpal tunnel? It's never a nice thought, but it happens, more often when you're in the zone and can't let off the throttle of your creative cycle. Here are some ways to cope with a sore wrist.

Stop - it's okay. Take a break. Your story is probably wonderful, but it's not worth going into corrective surgery over. Take it easy for a day or two.

Wrap It Up - if you have a brace or gauze wrap, use it. It will provide ample support and allow your sore tendons to relax. Wear this overnight for best results.

Pace Yourself - prevention is usually the best medicine. Set a reasonable word count goal and stop for the day when you reach it. There's always tomorrow.

Alternatives - hand writing or longhand is not nearly as ouchy as keyboards in terms of sore wrists. Maybe you can find someone who is willing to take dictation, too.

There are other therapeutic methods, but these are common and effective for most people. Whatever your writing endeavors, take it stride. You'll feel better about yourself and your hand will live long . . . and prosper!

I'm David, and you guessed it - my hand hurts.

How do you pace yourself to prevent sore wrists, and what helps you cope if-and-when carpal tunnel sets in?

Don't forget to check out my Cosmic Critique Contest! Click here. Read the rules and enter before Feb 8th.


  1. Oh no! I'm sorry about you hand!! Dictation? Yea that's all the advice I have. When the writing fever is caught the only remedy is to write! So, no idea...

  2. I always try to adjust my keyboard- I find the culprit of sore wrists or carpal tunnel like pain is from the wrong position of a keyboard. I'm all about the ergonomics! I do have a type of arthritis in my joints so I actually can't write long hand- I can't grip a pen long enough to write anything- it hurts too much. Typing is better for me. I guess I don't have the problem of hurting hands afte writing for hours because I don't get to write for hours ;p I get to write for like, an hour at a time usually!

  3. Colene - dictation is fun if someone is willing to help you. My wife is a real trooper who has done that for me on occasion. Thank you. My hand is much better now :)

    Abby - ergonomics . . . I totally forgot to mention that. Absolutely! For me, I find it better to have my keyboard at an angle. Thanks!