Standing and Walking

I’ve always been interested in seeing pictures of how creative people work, maybe because I’m constantly tweaking and reworking my own work processes and tools.

Maybe the most notable thing about how and where I write is that I write in a lot of different places and situations. Sometimes I write longhand, sometimes I type into a simple distraction-free text editor (Byword or Writeroom or Pywrite), though most often I work in Scrivener.

This variety is driven by the need to move around and change positions throughout the day (especially on Sundays, when I wrote from early morning until 8PM) for comfort’s sake, and also in recognition of the importance of trying different approaches.

I haven’t included a picture of my main desk, but here are a couple of alternatives I sometimes use.

First, a standing desk.


In the above photo, I’m using a vertical monitor orientation and a distraction-free (meaning no menus or toolbars or icons visible, just a page full of words) text editor.

I enjoy the change to a standing position, though I doubt I could write like this for an entire day. I tend to move around a lot, and I enjoy standing right between the stereo speakers. Music is a big part of the background atmosphere I use to create the right mental space.

At least once a week, I write on the treadmill.


You can buy expensive “treadmill desks” but I’ve created my own setup by clamping a board across our existing treadmill. In this photo, I’m using a shoebox to lift my laptop to the desired height, but lately I’m using a more permanent lift solution… one of those adjustable aerobic “step exercisers.”

While writing, I walk at a pretty low speed, usually 2.2 MPH. Faster walking makes it hard to type accurately. In order to get myself a bit of a workout — I want to get some exercise, and increase my heart rate, but not get too sweaty while I’m touching the keyboard — I increase the treadmill incline to 6 or 8 degrees.

I find myself getting caught up in the world of the story and forgetting about the walking. Usually I do at least 90 minutes, more often closer to two hours. It’s something I’d very highly recommend to writers who need to spend a lot of hours writing, and lament the usual lack of activity.

There’s nothing too noteworthy about my laptop – it’s a 17″ Macbook Pro and I use Scrivener quite a bit. I also rely on an internet-blocking program called Self Control to prevent myself from using the distraction of social media to escape when the writing work gets tough.

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