Back in August, the keyboard I’d used for forever (about ten years) died. I tried using several other keyboards of various ergonomic configurations, but they all made my wrists hurt by the end of the day.
After weeks of these inferior (to me) keyboards, my right wrist got so bad I had to wear a brace 24/7. Not a good situation for someone who needs to use her keyboard continually. (Especially as I’m allergic to the materials in standard braces, so I had to make my own.) Neither of my wrists even had the stability to hold a book. A book! That alone was torture.
My Tech Guy heard my laments on Twitter and offered to try to fix it. He poked and prodded and called it dead. *sob* I tweeted: “Twitter, it’s official. The keyboard I started with to become an author has died. 🙁 It needs a funeral.”
Of course, by calling it dead, that meant he could try “one last thing.” He washed it. He ran it under the faucet and did all that mixing of water and electronics stuff that’s really, really bad. But hey, it was dead, right? How much more dead could it get?
Then he set it out in the sun and let Arizona’s low humidity and 110 degrees go to work. And then… It worked! *cue Hallelujah chorus*
I tweeted my joy about my #ZombieKeyboard, and all was right with the world. Not coincidentally, after about a week back on my trusty old keyboard and many, many exercises to strengthen my wrists, the pain went away. In fact, I was able to remove the brace within two days of getting my keyboard back. *clutches keyboard to chest* I love this hunk of plastic.
I worried about those wrist problems returning in November due to NaNoWriMo. But thanks to the exercises, my wrists stayed strong despite my full blogging schedule and 60K NaNo words. Others’ wrists didn’t fare as well, however, so I thought I’d share my exercises with everyone.
Wrist Exercises for Writers (and all Keyboardists)
I take a break every hour or so during heavy keyboarding and spend a few minutes running through these exercises and stretches. Also, when I’m just sitting brainstorming what to type next, I’ll often do some of these in the background.
- Rolling Wrists
This is just what it sounds like. Roll your hands and wrists around, like you’d do with your head to stretch out your neck. I do about 2-3 full rotations in each direction.
- Squish Balls
I keep two squish balls (sometimes called stress balls) on my desk in front of my monitors so I always have them handy. One is small and has a Silly Putty-type consistency, and the other is bigger and made of foam. I switch them from hand to hand because the different sizes and resistances create a slightly different exercise. I do about 10-20 repetitions on each ball.
- Stretch and Tap
I stretch my hand out flat (this is a poor picture because I’d usually stretch my hand back from my wrist as well, but taking a picture one-handed is a tricky thing for a klutz) and then I touch my thumb to my pinky finger. I do about 10 repetitions.
- Waving Fingers
I start with a flat, stretched out hand like in Stretch and Tap, and pull each finger and thumb down in order, starting with the pinky, like a wave. After I pull the thumb in, I open the fingers in a wave, again starting with the pinky finger, and end up in the flat position. This close/open wave motion twists and stretches the wrist in a way that doesn’t usually hurt no matter how sore my wrist is. I do about 10-20 repetitions.
- Claw Stretch
I curl my fingers into a claw, and then I pull my fingers and thumb back as far as I can. You’ll feel this one in your wrist, big time. It’s evil. The last picture shows this position from the front to show how the fingers are spread out from each other too. I hold this stretch for about 5 seconds, release, and then repeat for about 3-5 repetitions.
(Thanks to my Tech Guy for sharing this Claw Stretch exercise with me. As a computer geek, he spends as much time on keyboards as writers do. He used to have to wear a brace, and this exercise helped him escape that situation.)
These are all really quick exercises. We can do them while we’re sitting, while we’re thinking of the perfect word choice, or while we’re brainstorming our next scene. In short, we don’t have any excuses not to take care of our wrists and be able to write for years and years. *smile*
Do you worry about heavy keyboard use and your wrists? Have you tried wrist exercises before? Do you have any questions about these exercises? Do you have any other wrist exercises to share?Pin It