For weeks, my left arm throbbed, pain shooting down, leaving my forearm tingling and fingers numb. I was either going to die from the longest heart attack on record or from lack of sleep.
I did what any person in denial does – drank a huge margarita and pumped myself with Motrin each night. I also took a baby aspirin before bed, just in case it was indeed my heart. All those years of medical transcriptioning were finally coming in handy.
After tossing and turning in agony for far too long, I cried “uncle” and went to a masseuse with hands of a warrior. Those gladiators in 300 had nothing on her. She left bruises on my body and gave me pain worse than childbirth, but after 90 minutes on her table, she diagnosed my problem – writing.
For the last month, I’ve been busier than ever. Each morning, I would sit at my laptop literally on the edge of my seat, mulling over my long, intense to-do list. I would write for a couple of hours before realizing I hadn’t sat fully back in my chair yet.
Just one more sentence… maybe one more. Another hour would go by, and I still hadn’t left my perch.
Then it dawned on me – I wasn’t just sitting on the edge, I was living on the edge, and my body was leading a revolt. It wanted to breathe.
I think your body should breathe too. Do it right now. Sit back in your chair and close your eyes, then inhale and exhale slowly ten times.
No cheating… shut your eyes and do it. Don’t make me come smack you aside the head, cause I will. You, over there… I see you not breathing!
1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9… 10
Look! The world didn’t come crashing down because you took a few moments to breathe. Imagine that.
Over the past week I’ve been consciously forcing myself to sit back in my seat. If I find I’m creeping forward, I stand up and stretch and take some deep breaths, then sit my ass all the way back in my chair.
The pain is dissipating… slowly, but it’s working. But more importantly, I’m listening to my body.
But I did just notice I crept closer to the edge. Damn, I need a seatbelt!
Maybe writers do need seatbelts to strap us down in the proper position. It might even keep our asses in our seats long enough to get more work done. I should market it and sell it to Staples. Wouldn’t it be funny if that were how I got my big break?
Pay attention to the signs your body gives you. It’s miraculous how it knows what you need. Your job is to get off the edge, sit back, listen, and breathe.
What are your tricks for keeping the aches and pains of writing at bay?