Saturday, 7 February 2009

self harming

Why do we do things that are no good for us? Smoking, drinking excessively, gambling with everything from our money to our health (yeah, yeah I know, all the good stuff.) Psychologically, it's great fun as a writer to dig deep into the flaws of our characters. Professionally, we are at our best when exploring why characters do things that are not in their best interest

But Friday I had to fight through the snow, ice and slush to get to Harley Street to see my new physio. And I was read the riot act. I don't sit properly, stand up properly, exercise properly or work in the proper position. And she was absolutely right of course. But what's more, I knew she was right. Because I'd heard the same things many times before. But for some reason, this physio brought a lot of things home. For some reason, she seemed smarter, more articulate, more empathetic and explained things better than anyone else I'd seen previously. And enough is enough.

My back has been rubbish for over a year. And the last four months of that time have been worse still. Now, I have a medical condition that probably contributed to kicking all this off, and has certainly not helped with what little recovery there has been. But without a doubt, I have not been helping myself either.

What's this got to do with screenwriting? Well, a lot of people nowadays work long hours, sitting at desks, working on computers. But writers may be the worst of the bunch. We like nothing better than to write into the wee small hours of the morning. And for those starting out, who write in their spare time whilst holding down full time jobs; those guys can be doing their sitting at a desk on a comp both at work, and then again for a few hours at night at home!

We've got to look after ourselves better. Plain and simple. There's no moral, no cloaked and clever screenwriting tip here. Just that. Work at a table, not with the laptop on your lap (why the hell are they called laptops! Should be a warning attached) or on the arm of a sofa. Get a decent chair, it's as much as a work investment as screenwriting books, Final Draft or even a computer itself. Sit properly on it. Lengthen spine into its natural balanced position, keeping head held over the shoulders and in line with the buttocks. Tilt seat forwards or level according to comfort/medical requirement. Adjust seat height so hip joint is slightly higher than knee joint.

And that's just the basics. Take it or leave it. What do I care. Except that if you leave it, I know the name of a good physio.


laurence timms said...

Noted. I write websites 9-5 then scripts into the small hours. No wonder my back is getting worse. I'll try to improve my sitting.

mark said...

When I was a work I was featured in a brochure and Power Point presentation as an example on how not to sit! Oh dear.

Jez Freedman said...

well it's certainly one claim to fame!