Friday, October 07, 2011

Writing injury!!

It's been a tough five weeks for me. I tore a muscle in my left shoulder, right where the nerve travels between the rhomboids and down into the arm. Incredibly painful. At one point I was on doctor-prescribed anti-inflammatories, Diazapan and Co-Dydamol at the same time - to no effect. My physio, who has done sterling work on the damage, has said that most likely writing in awkward positions on a laptop computer caused the muscle to become stressed, setting me up for the injury. The ironic thing is that I keep fit with both running and regular bodybuilding - I currently do chest-flies with 20kg dumbells in each hand and have never hurt myself. So what caused this final, epic muscular disaster....? Towel-drying my hair after a shower. Won't be doing that again ( using a towel to dry my hair, not showering, obviously ).

Over that time, I've also moved house, a stressful experience in itself.

The bottom line is that I haven't been able to write a word for those five weeks, due to the pain. This is probably the longest in fifteen years of writing that I've been away from a manuscript that I've been working on. With deadlines in effect, this is far more of an issue now than ever in the past. Fortunately, I've gotten far enough ahead of schedule to still have plenty of time to complete Book 3 in the Ethan Warner series before Jan 31st 2012, but it's still a hell of a set-back and it's been driving me up the wall ( along with said pain and resulting lack of sleep ).

Happily, I'm on the mend now and with a proper desk and fancy chair installed in my own office in our new house ( courtesy of my parents, bless them ), I finally have everything I need to work as a professional author. I can't wait to get stuck back into my work, as CONTINUUM was progressing really well before disaster struck!

So, for those reading this, be aware: RSI can affect all muscles, not just those in the hands. If you're a laptop user who likes sitting writing in armchairs , as I did, or at a desk that's not quite right for you, then get something more appropriate sorted. Believe me, it's really not something you want happening to you.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dean.

Sorry to hear about your woes. Hope you get better soon.
I told my wife about your injury as she has been going to physical therapy for the past 3 weeks and has another 3 weeks to go. The doc said she tore the ligament in her shoulder. She can't remember doing anything strenuous to cause this.
However, she got rid of her desktop and got a laptop. Now she sits on a recliner chair working and she started to complain about her shoulder being uncomfortable for a while before the doc diagnosed her.
So maybe she had the same thing as you. Thanks for posting that. It all makes sense now.
Me? I sit at my desk with my desktop...!

John Carson

Dean Crawford said...

Cheers John. Sounds like your wife may indeed have ended up with the same kind of damage! Laptops are okay provided the user sits properly and doesn't hunch over it, and that arms and shoulders are relaxed when using them. Personally though, I won't be using them for actual writing anymore, it's just not worth it.

Anonymous said...

You're right, it's not worth the pain, hunched over a laptop. I used to use a laptop, but in my case, my eyes got a bit worse over the past couple of years. Not too bad but enough where buying a big screen Mac made a hell of a difference.

John Carson

Dean Owen said...

Hi Dean
I had a scare yesterday as the nerves in my writing wrist sent shooting pains up my arm. I'd slept awkwardly the night before and had a stiff neck. This seemed to be the culprit. But my desk is way too low and cramped. Absolutely agree about getting the ergonomics right. BTW, I finished COVENANT and loved it. Probably better to drop you a review via email if that's OK?

Dean Crawford said...

Hi Dean,

If you'd like to review Covenant, you could put it somewhere like goodreads.com, Amazon or similar - always good to spread the word about how you liked the novel... :o) If you don't want to join those sites though, then please do e-mail me instead with your thoughts on Covenant, as I do like to hear from readers and learn about how they view my books, so I can do a better job the next time.

And get that desk sorted - one less cause of unnecessary pain!

vixter2010 said...

Ouch sounds painful. I sometimes write in bed, probably should avoid this :)I found you through your agents as I just submitted by YA ms to them, finger's crossed!

Dean Crawford said...

Hi vixter, good luck with your submission!

Jen Black said...

Hope you're OK now, Dean. Must have been bad to stop you writing.
Jen
PS I see you've gone stateside - using "gotten" - is that because your publisher requires it?

Dean Crawford said...

Thanks Jen. Ah, the Americanisms are indeed popping up in my blogs. My agent asked me to Americanise my books, the better to appeal to an international market, and my publisher agreed.

Looks like my prized English grammar is slipping away from me, y'all...

Jen Black said...

Are they doing an English version for the UK? Where oh where is our clout these days? The trouble is I should think it will alienate a certain sector of the the UK readership.

Dean Crawford said...

The UK version has some slight differences to the US version, but it's more or less the same. It's just the way things are going, Jen - much of the planet speaks English because of our colonial past. Now, it's American influences that dominate...

Sam Tidd said...

I hope the move wasn't too stressful...I thought we had done a good job!!???
Glad you have your own office to put that literary brain to use and keep the novels coming! I will hold you to next year!