Monday, October 30, 2017

The Writer's Armory: In Praise of the FitDesk!

For the past few weeks, I've been spilling the beans about some tools that I've recently begun using that have revved up my writing and tripled my productivity.

The first was the "MSD," an amazing low-tech boon for under $5, that helps me keep every project fresh, in front of me, organized, and on-track.

Last week, I confessed my love for Leo, my Neo2 Alphasmart old-school wordprocessor. Using Leo keeps me from the distractions of being online and helps me produce usable first drafts in record time.

The final tool that has been a real writing revolution is my FitDesk. A bit pricier than the other two tools I told you about -- but I'd rather spend money on something like the FitDesk than an HDTV. This was my to-me / from-me birthday gift this year, and I couldn't be happier with how it's working out.

The FitDesk is a combination desk and stationary bike. Yes, I know it sounds rather Rube Goldberg-esque. Well, don't laugh till you've tried it. As you probably know, writing has two major drawbacks:

One is in the lifestyle choice of sitting on a couch or in a chair for long quantities of time (often stuffing one's pie-hole without much thought to actual nutritional content).

The other is the creative's dilemma of having the exact answer to your plot problem drop in the moment you leave the couch and decide to get some exercise -- with nowhere to record your brainstorm.

I got the FitDesk 3.0, though there are other brands of desk / bikes out there. I strongly suggest that if you're interested, you shop around and see what features you like the most.

Things I love about my FitDesk:

It has a small footprint. My house isn't big, so I couldn't have some enormous piece of machinery taking up a ton of space. My FitDesk fits perfectly in a sort of dead-end hallway that has always been a place to throw laundry baskets and accumulate cat fur. If I wanted to, I could close up the FitDesk -- it folds up to roughly the size of a large upright vacuum cleaner. But I leave it set up so it's ready to use when I want it.

It's comfortable. My FitDesk has an ergonomic seat with a back, comfortable pedals (if I pedal in my slippers, rather than putting on shoes, as one does), and nifty, nubbly roller things for me to rest my forearms on while I type. At first, I thought the roller-deals were the dumbest things ever. But it didn't take me long to see the error of my ways. Anyone who spends a lot of time typing knows about repetitive stress. Voila! Nubbly rollers help keep that stress to a minimum.

I use it. Ok -- this might sound stupid, but it's true. I dithered about getting the thing because I didn't want to be one of Those People who acquire a piece of fitness equipment and the only exercise they get from it is when they dust it. But, for some reason, that is not the case. I have my notes, my coffee, and my computer or Leo (see last week's post) -- and I'm off! My FitDesk is positioned in front of a window, so I can look outside and see what's going on. I just sit at my desk and start writing. The pedaling comes naturally; I never miss my couch.

So that's what works for me at the moment. Thanks to my MSD, Leo, and FitDesk, I have streamlined my writing process, getting far more done now than I did before I used them as part of my daily routine.

Now it's your turn. What writing tools would you be lost without? Do tell!


stan stewart (aka @muz4now) said...

This is so cool, Ami! Thanks for sharing your "writing secrets".

I have an ellipitical that (unintended by the designers as far as I know) cradles a laptop perfectly on the control console. Otherwise, I'd be looking at a FitDesk purchase. Of course, if we downsize, the elliptical won't make the cut.

Looking forward to reading more from you anytime.

Sending a virtual hug,

Ami Hendrickson said...

Jey, Stan,
I can't believe how much more productive I am if I can keep my feet moving while I work. I call it the "duck principle." :)