Take a Stand – This Isn’t a Protest Post

There are days when I wish I had a standing writing desk, like the one good old Ben Franklin used. It may be indelicate to say so, but my posterior gets sore from all this sitting around. I’ve bought a more comfortable chair, and I try to remember to get up and stretch periodically. I even try to take standing breaks when I’m in a good writing flow. I write long-hand, most of the time, so I can sit on the couch or on the porch or even write Truman Capote style, laying flat on my back with a Seinfeld-era Astronaut pen and a legal pad, if I want.

I’ve found, though, that standing is a fine way to break up the writing monotony. And, it gives the back end a rest.

There is another benefit to writing while standing, beyond the back-saving, gluteus maximus-preserving benefits.


Sometimes, when I write, I like to move about. I walk away from the notebook, compose the next line in my head before I commit it to paper. I walk a few steps this way, then a few steps that way. I pace.

I’m a pacer, too, if I’m working through a problem. I would prefer to pace a bit when I’m working on a group project, talking through possibilities and laying out broad plans. The movement seems to get things flowing. It helps me think.

There is no better definition of writing, often times, than “working out a problem” or “working through possibilities” so this pacing works for me when I’m writing, too. It gets the creative juices flowing, points the mind in the right direction, initiates movement. It shakes up the routine and forces me to see the work in front of me in a different light.

Without a standing desk at my disposal, I resort to writing at the countertop ledge that divides our kitchen from the living room. It isn’t ideal. The ledge is narrow and I hit my knee on the dividing wall, but it is one way for me to vary my writing process.

What about you? Do you have something odd you do when you feel physically fatigued while you are writing? Or, maybe, some way you vary your process, circumstances, or environment when you find yourself stuck in one place?


3 thoughts on “Take a Stand – This Isn’t a Protest Post

  1. I’m a fan of pacing, too–and of taking a longer walk during an extended writing session to clear the mind, or allow it to process differently. As ‘cerebral’ as writing can be, there’s a kinetic element, too…

  2. It sounds to me like you are a kinesthetic learner/thinker. Most people who are, get this beaten out of them during school, but not all. I, for one, could never do homework at a desk or table. I did my best, fastest, more accurate work spread out on the floor or on a bed. (Note, I never learned how to use lie/lay properly, so I avoid them at all costs. There was never homework on it, so I only was exposed to those concepts sitting at a desk.)

    Anywho, if you want a standing desk, you might do well to try and get a music stand. Not one of the foldable bits you get to take around, but one of the solid ones like those used in schools (maybe you could buy one from a local school?). They have a nice bottom ledge that’s usually a couple inches to allow for thick music folders. Also, they have adjustable heights and tilts (conductors use them standing). I just did a quick google search, and apparently, you can get one (don’t know how good it is) for about $30.

    Just a thought.

  3. Heminway, as I’m sure you know, wrote standing up most of the time. He said it was like a fighter in training. No surprise there. I recently posted a piece on a similar subject. There I quote Chatwin. He said there are two types of writers, those who dig in and those who move. He was a mover of global dimensions. it’s easier in this day and age to be a bit of both. I visited a Chatwin haunt in India. I had a computer loaded with pen, paper, dictionary, file cabinet and so forth (so to speak).

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