Rub your word processors with salicylic acid

NOTE: An important lesson about writing is in the final section. It's in bold, and it's underlined. You can't miss it. Skip ahead if you only care about that, and don't want to listen to me complain about my aches and pains.


I spent a good chunk of the weekend doing some home repair stuff involving hard to use tools and very heavy things held at very awkward angles. Since my fingers ache right now, stiff and sore, I've been ascribing that pain to all of that manual labor.

However, before I began all of that, I also spent an hour on a chilly, windswept field, writing in a notebook held on my knees at a strange angle. The sun was bright, but the cold and damp was penetrating enough that my fingers were aching after an hour of it. This was especially pronounced in my writing hand, my right.

When I then went home and starting working with a carbide-tipped concrete knife and the large sheets of concreteboard... well, let's just say that ergonomics were nowhere to be seen. My right hand, and in particular the second knuckle of my right middle finger, are letting me know that I'd better stock up on the naproxin and anti-inflammatory creams if I want to be a cross between David Brin and Tim Allen.

Come to think of it, my right elbow hurts like hell, too. Did I overstrain it in muscling a piece against the wall? Or is this chair too low, and I'm killing myself with a repetitive stress injury?

Since this is a writing blog, not a "listen to me complain about my aches and pains" blog, let me spell out the writing lesson here:

Take care of your tools. 

If your computer had a virus that was making it lock up and misbehave when you tried to write, you'd do something about it.

If your pen were splotching ink all over your page when you tried to write, you'd do something about it.

If your printer jammed and chewed paper before smearing the toner on the draft you're trying to print, you'd do something about it.

Your hands are your most important writing tools. Take care of them.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. So true! My hands have become progressively more difficult to convince they can do what I want. I try to remember to treat them well: massages with deep penetrating cream, rubbing under hot water when sore, taking naproxin regularly and wearing fingerless gloves when it's chilly. I don't always remember. This article will help. Thank you for it.

    Take care,

  2. All this time I've been typing with my nose! I can't iamgine how much my word count will increase if I start using my hands!


    Also, you should search for Llamas with Hats on youtube. There's a "hands" theme...


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