Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Beautiful Standing Desk

***Warning: may contain Tyler-Rose whining about her ailments like an 80-year old***


The Writing Life lends itself very easily to becoming almost completely sedentary if we aren't careful. I'm sure there are some of you who are just bursting full of enthusiasm to go and work out or play the organized and sweaty sport of your choice.

But somehow I feel you might be the minority. As writers tend to also be introverts, we often prefer calm indoor activities that aren't going to drain our Energy Bucket* too quickly. Lovely things like writing some more, brewing tea, reading great books, cooking, watching movies that make us weep, gardening, writing again, maybe some yoga, day dreaming.

A lot of those activities are not only slow moving, but also are easiest to do sitting down for the duration of the activity. If you're writing, you require a surface. Most convenient surfaces occur at about mid-thigh height and have chairs of various cushinesses pulled up in front of them making it very tempting to just sit down in them since that is after all their purpose.

However, I rode horses when I was younger and injured my back by doing several fabulous swan dives out of the saddle.** By the time I got to high school, sitting in the wretched one-size-fits-only-the-exactly-average-sized-male desks with the one armrest that kept my writing arm permanently at boob level*** caused me daily agony.

I've had a lot of doctoring since then, so now I can usually make it through the day without having to lay on the floor with a chunk of pool noodle under my neck.& However, if I spend the amount of time sitting that is required for me to finish my word quota for the day, I will be sore, achy, and probably have weird shoulder pains developing by the end of the day.

And I'm not even twenty-five yet. The idea of what my forties might be like often sends me into paroxysms of pure terror.

I can defeat most of the roaming back pain by putting my laptop on a surface high enough for me to stand up at while I work. Then I get the added bonus of feeling superior and healthy because of everything we've been hearing lately about sitting down all day every day being pretty much one of the worst things you can do to your body.

Even this will cause me problems after a while, though. If the keyboard is at the right height for my hands, then the screen is so low that I have to look down while I work, which really isn't good either.

But never fear, because . . .


Tyler-Rose's laptop on a stack of books.
The angels are singing.

Side view of the above with my bookshelves in the background.
Can't you see the light of heaven
shining down on it?

The unfortunate thing is that to create this wonder I had to commandeer both my mother's usual spot at the tall desk and her keyboard, as well as her squishy wrist support strip. Sadly, this means that my beautiful arrangement will evaporate like Cinderella's coach at about 5:30 this evening.

I'm buying myself a keyboard on Amazon right now, though, so I will soon be able to reconstruct this magnificence in a more permanent location.

I also found DIY instructions online for how to construct a standing desk on top of a regular desk for about $22. I will be building this the very instant I set foot back in my frigid, evilly non-ergonomic dorm room at the end of the summer.

My back is so happy right now.


* If you consider yourself an introvert or are an extrovert who is lucky enough to love an introvert, and haven't read the introvert article with the explanation of how Energy Buckets work, you need to. Right now. THEY UNDERSTAND US! *tears of joy*

** One time I fell off right into a pond. That was epic. I think I gave my poor mother a heart attack.

*** That's about nine inches above the level where a writing surface that fits a woman of my size should be.^

^ Generally, I keep my feminism fairly sedate, but good heavens, if you ask me about FURNITURE SIZES I will give you a speech you will never forget.

& Susan knows.


  1. Oh, you poor thing! That sounds uncomfortable, but I'm glad that works out well for you! And I hope it helps your back when you have your own set-up!

  2. Okay, I have a way more lame (I'm totally proud of it) story of my own back injury...I damaged my tailbone as a child dancing to the Backstreet Boys (Backstreet's Back? When they spin and then end up in a sitting position on the ground? Yup.)

    Combined with a slight curvature of my spine, I get tons of back pain, too, so I definitely feel your pain. This is a marvelous idea! Just don't use any books that are too narrow =D Here's to lots of pain-free, productive, energy conserving writing!

    1. Wow, that is kind of a winner of a back injury.

      Also, I made sure only to use nice wide hardbacks :)

  3. I'm surprised my sister and I didn't do ourselves injury attempting that jump up from knees to feet BSB did toward the beginning of the "We've Got It Going On" video. It's not like we ever tried it in an actually open space. >.<