Last year I purchased a simple perspex writing slope. Its light, see-through and very handy.
I use it to prop my book on when I’m reading, I have my laptop on it now for writing, and put my colouring in and pens on and do anything hand-written on it.
I really love it. When I’m not using it, I can turn it round and store the short end over the side of the table so the slope is now flat. I often tuck my papers underneath this.
With a laptop we are choosing a compromise between a good height for our screen and a good enough place for our hands and arms. I learned to play the piano when I was younger and learned to touch-type as a teenager. Both these skills really help in using my arms well, one long line from elbows to fingers and not needing to look at what my fingers are dong as I type.
The writing slope reduces the chances of me pulling down to my writing as the paper is brought to a better angle and height for me to see. I can better see what my pen tip is doing as I make my marks on the page.
I’m also well-trained in the art of seeing through rotating my eyeballs, rather than having to move my whole head to fit round the viewing points of my glasses (another writing exploration for another day). I also know to let the whole column of my head/back to rotate around my hip joints if I need to see more.
Look around your house and see if you have such a thing already, borrow one from a friend or grand/parent and see if you like using it before you buy one. This particular slope cost about £12 and was posted directly to me. Search on line.
I notice that its easier for me to stay in balance in myself using this slope than without. My wrists are more likely to rest on the keyboard when I don’t use the slope. (Its almost impossible for me to do this when I use the slope.) I know some ergonomists recommend wrist supports of various colours, shapes and padding. I’m not a fan. If we ‘wrest on our wrists’ we are cutting off the lines of energy, adding downwards pressure to our arm joints and are less able to move freely.
A pianist can play piano for many hours a day and they never have their wrists supported. In fact the free movement of their whole arm, body and hand enables them to bring colour, volume and movement to their playing. With a typing keyboard we have a smaller range of movement, colour and volume (not 8 octaves) but a little bit of up and down, left and right within a 13cm range for each hand, coming back to the home keys f and j (for those who touch type).
Please allow yourself to move when typing or writing, don’t fix yourself to the spot and resurface hours later only to wonder why you are stiff and in pain. I encourage you to include a sense of your whole self as you work. And ask yourself:
- where is my support
- how is the breath moving me
- my peripheral vision to includes myself and the room around me
These three pointers can really help to stay lively and attentive to yourself as you write or type. (I remember reading these from Lee Warren, Invisible Advantage.) I hope you use them little and often and find them useful. I’d love to hear from you if you’d drop me a comment below.
Lucy Ascham is enjoying using the writing slope most days in various ways to bring ease to the process of writing and typing.