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Monday, January 09, 2006

Something less controversial--writer ergonomics...

My last entry here, combined with some related observations on a message board frequented by many writers created a little bit of controversy. I always find legitimate differences of opinion interesting and don't mind defending my position in the face of argument. However, I am not so enamored by debate that I feel each every post I make here should lead to a fight!

So, I thought I would address an issue near and dear to my heart (as well as my lower back). I thought this might be a good way to take advantage of the traffic spike I am experiencing from those looking at the "cheeseball bottom feeder" debate, too, by trying to solicit some good recommendations in the area of ergonomics.

Not too long ago, I bought a new desk chair and it has really made my life more comfortable. I used to experience a lot of lower back discomfort and that has virtually disappeared. I have noticed, however, that I still have two problems to tackle: Eyes and wrists.

I spend a lot of time at the keyboard and find that after an extended period of typing my wrists tend to get a fairly sore. This seems to hold true regardless of whether or not I use a wrist pad, too. Usually, a brief break and a little hand-shaking relieves the pain almost instantly, but it can get sort of annoying.

I wonder if I would be better off using one of those allegedly ergonomic keyboards that angle the keys to match a more natural arm/wrist position. I have toyed with one before, but found it really slowed my typing. That problem would probably solve itself as I grew accustomed to the keyboard, I suppose. Has anyone ever tried one of those? If so, have you noticed any appreciable increase in comfort?

I also know that after extended periods of work my eyes ar e a bit strained. Sometimes it can even kill focus a bit. Often, when in the process of writing, I will actually close my eyes for a few minUtes just to give them a rest. That usually works okay, although I must sometimes go back to fix some of those "blind typos." I wear contacts and the problem does seem to be a little more pronounced when wearing them as opposed to my glasses. Has anyone found a good way to combat that problem? Larger fonts, different color schemes, anything?