I finished my second novel and all I got was this bad repetitive strain injury…
Ok, I should probably start this post by telling you that I have to use dictation software to write it (Pronounce? Can I really say I’m writing if I’m just talking into my phone?) so excuse me… well, everyone, serious.
Yes guys, I finished the first draft of my second novel… And I made myself completely unable to write in the process, so lol, great to know you all, what a wild ride. For once in my life, I’m actually not exaggerating when I say “can’t write: my right hand, forearm, and shoulder hurt so bad I literally can’t type.” at all for a few days– or even a scroll on my phone for that matter. Which is the worst part of all, to be honest.
(Also: have you ever tried to type anything longer than a text message using a dictation software? Because, let me tell you, it is not one. As in, the paragraph above takes me at least 10 times longer to dictate than it takes me to just type the damn thing. Then I had to go back and fix all the mistakes I made – by hand, natch, so, yeah, MOAR TYPING. Then I was so frustrated, I finally took a few days off, and now here we are, spending a whole week writing one stupid blog post. LORD.)
However. I started writing this post on Monday. It’s Thursday, and even though my hand and arm are a little better, I need all my strength for the second draft of this book, which means all my other projects have to go to the bottom of the list.
This is definitely a bit of a disappointment when you make a living from writing, and while the obvious explanation is that it was the effort to type 90,000 words in a relatively short amount of time that did it, the fact is that RSI is something I’ve experienced quite often in the course of my writing career, makes it astounding enough that so far I’ve failed to do anything to avoid it.
(Actually, now, when you think about it, this book averages about 2000 words a day. Which isn’t much more than I would have written in the same time frame at the peak of my blogging career, let’s say. Or when I was a journalists. So while typing up a 90,000 word novel might sound pretty extreme, the truth is when you break it down to a daily word count it’s actually not that weird for someone who writes for a living.)
But not anymore. My previous RSI attacks mostly affected me only when I was actually typing. However, this one kept me out of action for four whole days – at work, at least. I’m obviously still able to use my other arm and hand, so I can go about my daily life more or less as usual, but I can’t write at all, and, like I said, I even have trouble using my phone for more than a few minutes. minutes at a time, unless I switch to my left hand, which is pretty useful.
So, clearly something has to be done. Thanks to this blog post, I’ve determined that I probably won’t be able to dictate my upcoming novel/post/whatever. My brain doesn’t put out perfectly formed sentences in a way that makes it practical for me, and I change my mind so often about what I want to say that I end up typing almost as much as I want. done in the first place. I’ve always said that one of the reasons I write is to make up for the fact that I’m so useless at speaking, and this little experiment has confirmed that for me, because it turns out I really don’t know who I am. will write until I actually type it. Then I have to go back and change it a million times, and it’s a lot harder when you talk than you type. Or at least it was for me. Oh, and also totally freaking out hate try to “write” like this. So there’s that too.
By far the most useful thing is the vertical mouse —which, as the name suggests, is a mouse that you hold a bit like a joystick rather than a traditional mouse. Here he is:
(I usually don’t put it in planner btw, before you all tell me that’s why I have RSI. I just put it in there to make it look fancy for photos…)
Anyway, it definitely made a difference to my wrist and forearm in particular, but I’m still feeling a bit of pain in my upper arm and, to a lesser extent, fingers, so if anyone has any suggestions for that, I’m all ears. So far I’ve:
* Adjusting the height of my chair and trying to make sure I sit in a way that puts the least pressure on my hands and arms.
* Purchase wrist pads/supports
* Mouse mentioned above
* Multiple wrist/arm supports
* Deep Heat
* Voice dictation for shorter messages
But that’s about it. So teach me your way, people who have been here before me. And, in the meantime, I’m glad this happened AFTER I finished my first draft than before, because the typing involved in the editing I do now is much less than when starting the words. .
On that subject, book #2 is currently slated for release in December (although I may have to push it if the RSI fires again), and you can pre-order it here.
Back to editing…