All Rise…

stepper

Hysteria Writing Competition 2015

The prize money in the Hysteria short story competition has just gone up to a very tasty £400 for the first prize and £200 for the flash fiction and poetry winners (all thanks to a new sponsor), so if you haven’t already thought of entering, that might tempt you.

The competition is open to female writers of any nationality writing in English (sorry guys!). Details are here and the closing date’s 31st August 2015.

RIP Laminator

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before (members of my writing class know!) but I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for laminating. Well, this morning, disaster struck! My laminator died – by eating 2 of my published short stories, that I’d just fed into its mouth.

Warning: do not leave your laminator unattended!

I left mine for all of 30 seconds, while I went into another room to get more laminating sheets and when I came back, there was no sign of the sheet that I’d left chugging its way through the machine. I thought I was going mad. I looked everywhere. I even accused the dog of doing something terrible to the sheet, perhaps, as it floated to the floor. Then smoke started to come out of the laminator and when I peered into the slot, I could see the crunched up remains of my two stories in there. I expected the laminator to burp. Aagh.

Protect Your Back – And Get Fit!

And finally, you must read this post by Belinda Pollard (which my writing buddy Sally first alerted me to, via Twitter) – it’s all about protecting your health and specifically your back when you write (and let’s face it, we’re probably all guilty of slouching or not having our desk/chair at the right height). When you spend hours (and hours, as we all do, of course!) sitting, it’s really important to think about posture.

I dare you to read the section on ‘back care’ and not sit up straighter/put your feet on the floor and sttrrettchhh…

I don’t like to scare-monger – after all you don’t read this blog to be worried or stressed, do you – but it’s been in the news lately about how too much sitting is bad for you. Maybe we should all write standing up (like Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway, amongst others)? Or lying down in bed (like Truman Capote and Edith Wharton)?

These are the tips on the NHS website, for adults aged 19 to 64:

Adults aged 19 to 64 are advised to try to sit down less throughout the day, including at work, when travelling and at home.

Tips to reduce sitting time:

* stand on the train or bus
* take the stairs and walk up escalators
* set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
* alternate working while seated with standing
* place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
* stand or walk around while on the phone
* take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
* walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling
* swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies

I must admit, when I first read that novelists Kath McGurl and Cally Taylor were getting a ‘stepper’ and a treadmill-with-laptop-tray, respectively, so they could stand and exercise while they wrote, I thought they were .. well, a bit mad! (Struck me as being like that patting your head and rubbing your tummy exercise. Too much to think about!) but now, well, Ladies, I salute you. It’s the right thing to do!

Maybe, instead of a new laminator, I need to get a different kind of exercise machine! What d’you think? Exercise bike with laptop tray, anyone…?

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9 Responses to All Rise…

  1. Wendy Clarke says:

    Those are the exact mini-steppers I got fort birthday!

  2. And what are they like?! Have you been using them? (while writing?!)

    • Wendy Clarke says:

      I don’t use them while writing – I have them next to me and when I feel I’ve been sitting too long, I do 100 steps. Last week the backs of my calves were killing me!

  3. Ooh, good idea. (I want some now!!) And clearly they’re good exercise!

  4. kathmcgurl says:

    I was on mine yesterday while writing. Only did about 20 minutes (knees still a bit sore from a Lake District trip). I found I wrote well while using them – was less inclined to keep flicking into facebook!

  5. Kim Fleet says:

    Nothing quite kills creativity like back pain! A timely reminder to all of us to move about a bit, and to get the correct kit to help our posture. When I got engaged, Himself was amused that I asked for a special chair to protect my back when I’m writing instead of an engagement ring. I got a rocking foot rest, too, which helps boost your circulation! It may not be sparkly, but I’ll never leave it on the side of a washbasin in the ladies loo.

  6. rosgemmell says:

    Love the idea of mini steppers. I’ve been reading a lot about standing too and my newish desk is higher so I try to remember to stand every now and then!

  7. juliathorley says:

    My top tip for keeping writer’s bum/back/mouse-arm at bay is to set the timer on your phone and every 30 minutes stand up and stretch – yes, even if you’re in the middle of a sentence. Move your whole body. At least once an hour, walk somewhere – to the kitchen, to the loo, to the dustbin and back. And of course – do some yoga!

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