A Hazard of being a Writer

While on a recent holiday, I treated myself to a back massage… well what else can you do while on a cruise on the Queen Victoria across the Atlantic? Lots actually, but I wanted to do some serious chilling out!

And I was shocked. My shoulder muscles had knotted themselves into steel balls that just refused point blank to return to relax mode.

I discussed this with several people since. The bottom line is that having a desk job means your shoulder muscles will naturally tense up and stay tense! There’s too much lactic acid that needs to get out of the tissue. Desk job? But all writers are basically doing a desk job. So that means… yep, you got it… all writers end up with tensed up shoulder muscles, unless they do something about it.

Of course not everyone can afford the luxury of professional massage. So what to do?

You can to a certain extent massage the shoulders yourself or you can get your partner to do so. But remember to do it with some oil, and to drink water or green tree with a dash of lemon afterwards. The latter is to help flush out the waste lactic acid from your body.

Of course being a science fiction writer, facts like these are grist to the mill. You never know where a nice little scientific fact can produce a story. But in this case, this scientific fact could help people realise why they are uncomfortable and what to do about it.

This kind of story may actually increase the popularity of the genre, because it is not only relevant to tomorrow, but also very pertinent to today’s way of life.

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4 thoughts on “A Hazard of being a Writer

  1. Same with my wife, and like you she only discovered her knotted shoulder muscles when a masseuse had a go. Apparently my amateur massaging on her are useless – at least… but enough of that.
    In my case although I spend hours editing and writing at the screen, I am self-employed and so give myself permission to leap on my bike every hour or so and pedal furiously up a Welsh hill or across Cheshire. This break in posture definitely helps.

    1. Hello Geoff,
      Sorry to hear your good lady wife is also a sufferer, but I’m not surprised other people have the same problem. Your tip about taking exercise (in your case cycling) is a good ‘un! Thank you.

      The real issue seems to me that writers, desk job people etc should know about this, so they can take steps to stop whatI’m going call the steel bolt shoulder muscle syndrome.

  2. This is definitely true! I also get a lot of tightness in my lower back. Laying with a rolled-up towel under my back on a flat surface for about 10 min a day really helps to realign things back there. I also recommend “downward-facing dog”, even just 20-30 seconds twice a day. We need to remember that we are at our computers or hunched over a notebook writing a LOT! The worst is getting an injury which means you have to stop writing–especially because it doesn’t mean your brain stops coming up with ideas! Great post to raise awareness.

    1. Hello Christa and welcome.

      Thanks for the tips. I’m left wondering if the science fiction writing conventions ought have exercise classes – or at least talks about how to avoid muscle tightness.

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