So I’ve been working – writing – on my trusty little MacBook Air for a few years now. I love the action on the keyboard, the screen is the perfect size, and I’ve been able to write more than thirty stories, and the rough draft of a novel, without any issues. She’s my little workhorse. Her name is Stella.
But back in the day I used to write by hand. Yeah, I know, I’m showing my age, but I was a teenager when the first home computers hit the market and they were well out of my price range. I didn’t mind too much. I was perfectly content to scribble away on a legal pad or in a spiral notebook. I kept a handful of sharpened pencils and notepads next to my bed and spent many late nights writing angsty poetry and bad horror stories.
Recently, I thought it might be fun to jump into the wayback machine and start a story draft the old fashioned way. There’s something to be said for writing by hand. Sure, it’s a bit slower and there’s no spell-check, but it feels organic to me. I used to love to write by hand at night. I’d gone so far as to light a few candles to I could feel like I was Poe or Shakespeare scribbling away in their rooms – minus the quill pen.
But what I didn’t realize is that those particular muscles in my hands haven’t been worked much. Typing uses the hand muscles in a different way and allows more movement. When writing by hand with a pen or pencil, the muscles see less movement and more tension.
The result? Hand cramp.
The sad part is that it only took about thirty minutes of manual writing before my hand was aching. The fingers, the palm, even up into my wrist. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences.
Luckily, my partner was sympathetic and massaged it for me. She also gave me a lecture on stretching and warming up. She does Body Pump three times a week, so that makes her more of an expert. I nodded in agreement because, hey, she was massaging my aching hand.
Did I learn my lesson? Definitely. Now when I get the urge to write by hand I’ll spend a good thirty minutes warming up with calisthenics and yoga.
Or maybe I’ll just stick with the keyboard on my laptop. Less chance of permanent injury. Stella will take care of me.