Writing Assignment: Write While Standing

by Randy Murray on May 18, 2012

Sitting and writing is a natural combination. I do it for many hours every day.

And trust me, all the sitting is bad for me. My back and shoulders are a testament to far too much sitting.

And sitting may not be the best way to stimulate your creative juices, to help you break through the things that are keeping you from writing.

When I sit (I’m sitting now as I write this), It’s easy to let my posture slump. It’s easy to get to a hard part and let my attention drift, perhaps check out the Twitter stream or poke around the web a bit. It’s easy to spend a day and get absolutely nothing done, except sit.

Standing and writing requires focus. You have to search for the right spot that will allow you to stand straight and type or write. You may have to stack some boxes on a desk or table to build the ideal writing height. But interesting things happen when you write standing up.

I find that I write with purpose when I’m standing. I don’t let my attention drift and I don’t mess around. If I’m going to stand here and write let’s get to it!

Today’s assignment is both a tip and a challenge. Write a short descriptive piece while standing. To keep things simple, write a clear and evocative description of where you’re standing and how you feel doing it.

Start simply, with just a notebook and paper. Find a spot where you can write easily without slouching or bending. Then start writing. Take note of the time when you start and see how long you can write comfortably in this position.

Here’s my example, written while standing:

 A quick survey of the house showed me that there are very few places that are ideal for standing and writing, even with just a notebook and pen. But I think I’ve found one in an unexpected place: the snack bar in the lobby of my basement theater.

The height is excellent for writing with pen and paper. A notebook opened flat on the bar is just slightly above the 90 degree angle of the bend of my elbows. I can rest my forearms comfortably and write easily. My handwriting even looks a bit clearer (though not much).

I can even write standing on either side: the carpeted “public” side or from inside the bar, standing on the cool black and white tile. It’s quiet here, quieter than the rest of the house. That’s another and unexpected benefit. The lighting is pretty good, especially if I turn on the bar lights.

I designed this space for entertaining and never expected to use this as a work surface, but it’s a fine one. Standing here I find that I’m more aware of my body than I am when I sit at my desk. I must remember not to lock my knees, to relax my shoulders and not let them bunch together high up. I must remember to breathe. I can step away from this writing surface easily, something that’s harder to do when I’m sitting. Step away, stretch, move, then go back to writing.

This may be my new favorite writing spot.


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The Writing Assignment: Write While Standing by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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