Writing Standing Up

After thinking about it on and off for a few years, I finally took the plunge last night and set myself up with a standing desk at which I can write. In fact, I’m typing these words at it right now, and so far it’s all right. My feet hurt, but I’m told that goes away in a few days. I’m willing to stick it out to see if that’s true.

I’ve suffered from upper back pain (in the neck and shoulders, really) for years. It reached its peak when the quads were younger and spent a lot of time hanging off of me. Now that they’re 10 years old, I’ve almost entirely cured them of that, but the realities of sitting at a desk and writing for eight or more hours a day means that the pains come back regularly anyhow.

Ken Hite called this “Writer’s Back,” which tells me I’m not the only one who suffers from it. I usually control it through ibuprofen, icing the sore spots, and trips to my favorite chiropractor, Andrea Gonstead. Still, on the bad days, it’s enough to slow me down, and I hate that.

Spurred on by that and the fact that standing burns more calories, helps you stay more alert, and — according to a recent bit of research — can add years to your life, I decided to give the standing desk a try. However, I didn’t want to spend several hundred dollars on a fancy setup for something I’m still not absolutely sold on. After poking around a bit on Lifehacker, I realized I could build a custom standing workstation for cheap.

I hit Walmart and grabbed an obscenely cheap end table for my monitor, then went to Menards to pick up a shelf and a set of brackets. Altogether, it cost me a grand total of $26.71, and it’s light enough that I can take it down and go back to sitting at my desk instead in under a minute. I also grabbed a chef’s mat to stand on, and that set me back another $14.73.

I’ve only been using it for a few hours, and it’s comfortable. My feet hurt a bit, but I hear that goes away in a few days. I plan to give it a try for a couple weeks and see how it goes. Lots of great writers used standing desks, including Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, and Ernest Hemingway, so it seems this has been a solid solution for writers for a long time.