Putting Your Backside in the Chair When it’s a Pain in the Tush!

Patty
Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since her
parents forced her on boring Sunday drives into the Georgia countryside when
she was too young to stay home by herself. Now she’s happy to share her wild imagination
and love of history with others, including her husband of 29 years, Danny, two
smart and gorgeous daughters, and a Yorkie she spoils like a grandbaby. She
resides in North Georgia.


Putting Your Backside in the Chair 
When it’s a Pain in the
Tush!
Writers are always told that one key to getting a publishing
contract is to ‘put your backside in a chair and write!’ But what if you
physically can’t sit for any length of time without being in a great deal of
pain? What do you do then?
For the last four years, I’ve been going through a season of
suffering. I won’t go into the whole boring medical explanations behind it,
except to say that finding a chair that doesn’t leave me in tears after just a
couple of minutes has become my holy grail. And yet I know, like others
visiting today, I’ve been called to write.
So how do writers who face chronic, debilitating pain write?
Stay in Constant Prayer
Dealing with constant pain usually does one of two things to a
person; either it sends you running in every direction, chasing every lead for
a reason for the pain, a ‘why’ behind the agony or it drives you to your knees.
I’ve done both. But one very important question I’ve put before God (besides the
whole ‘why me?’) is if writing is in His plan for me. I wanted to make sure I
was in God’s will and had to prepare myself if God required me give up writing
or the hope of publication. It’s a dark place at times, but also one where your
faith is stretched in new ways each and every second of the day. 
Equally important is the need to be ready to handle the pain if He
sends confirmation to continue writing. Working through chronic pain or illness
takes a inhuman toughness only God can give. So I’ve turned even more to His
Word for encouragement. Sticky notes on my computer with scriptures–my
favorites are 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Romans 8:28.
Finding a way to write
Okay, you’re prayed up, know that God wants to you write, even got
your scriptures to encourage you–now what? How do you get your ‘backside in a
chair’ when it’s a pain in the tush?
1)  Standing desk and ergonomic rug
One of my favorite people (and best selling novelist!) Camy Tang
came up with a wonderful idea to deal with her chronic back issues. At her
desk, she keeps a box that she places on her desktop when she feels the need to
stand. It’s the perfect height for her computer and allows her to continue
working while giving her a chance to stand and stretch.  If you have an island in your kitchen,
that’s also a great place to work without having to sit. If you want something
a little more decorative, there are many standing desks available on Amazon,
starting for as little as $50.
Another important item that works wonders is an ergonomic rug. These
are designed to help relieve fatigue on the lower extremities and is well worth
the price (which can range anywhere from $30 to well into the hundreds.) I’d
suggest you try it out first–yes, you may look crazy, standing on a rug in the
middle of Bed, Bath and Beyond but better to make sure it’s the right rug for
you than waste money.
1)  Alphasmart word processor
You’re sitting at your desk or in your favorite chair, ready to
write and it’s just not comfortable. You fidget for a few minutes, hoping to
find that perfect position but it just isn’t happening. Maybe the chair
upstairs would work but that means dragging your computer up a flight of steps
and you’re not even sure you can make it without falling down. That’s where an
Alphasmart can help. Weighing under a pound, this portable word processor has
eight individual files which can save multiple chapters and be downloaded into
Word with just the press of a button. And you don’t have to worry about
tripping over cables–four AA batteries is all you need to keep writing for
months at a time.
1)  Egg Timer
I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I get writing, time
just slips away from me. I’ll look up and two hours would have gone by. Good
for my book. Not at all good for my back. So now I keep an egg timer on my desk
and set it for 35 minutes. When that bell goes off, I stand up and move. Take a
bathroom break. Fold a dryer full of clothes. Anything to get moving. Then I go
back to my desk and reset my timer. I may not write as much but I’m not in as
much pain either.
1)  Digital pen
The pain is so bad, you can’t even sit up. So now that you’re flat
on your back, what do you do? Consider a digital pen. A bit thicker than a
standard pen, it has the capability to transfer your writing into Word files
while also serving as a recording. It’s not for everyone, and it’s expensive
starting at $119 (plus the specialized notebooks.) So once again, try it before
you buy it.
5) Pen and paper
Old fashioned, yes, but when you’re flat on your back and desperate
to write, it’s an easy alternative. Not much of an added expense – I can buy my
favorite pens and writing tablet for under $5. With the back-to-school sales
beginning, you can stock up on notebooks and pens for later. Yes, your writing
will still need to be typed into the computer but writing freestyle is very
liberating. I’ve written the first draft of my last four books like this. It’s
slower, but still gets the job done. 

Hearts in Hiding
Engineer Edie Michaels loves her life—she has a good job, close friends,
even a chance at romance with former soldier Beau Daniels. But she could lose
everything if her secret comes out that she’s the German daughter of a devoted
Nazi. When her father sends spies to force her loyalty, everything Edie values
is at risk.
Time in a Nazi POW camp changed army medic Beau Daniels. When he
discovers a letter of Edie’s written in German, he can’t help his suspicions.
Is she truly the woman he’s started to love? Or has she been the enemy all
along? With Nazis on Edie’s trail, the pair must fight for truth, for survival—and
for love.