Thursday, October 16, 2014

THE PERILS OF WRITING by Jackie Taylor Zortman

All of us who are authors know that getting published is a long, grueling process requiring weeks of full days staring at a computer monitor.  As we write, rewrite and endlessly read our work to edit and polish it, it takes a toll on our eyes, though we probably do not notice it.  Then along comes the editor with their super powers to find things we missed, even though we've read it 16 times, and those corrections demand more time on the computer.

Finally, we send our submission off to the publisher and back comes the task of the long-range marketing plan.  Yep, more time reading research and writing our actual LRMP, which means more deep gazing into the lights of our computer's screen.

If we get lucky, once that's accomplished, our manuscript is accepted and pretty soon we have galley proofs to read.  This is when the real work begins because we are under the gun and virtually tied to the tools of our trade.

A chiropractor once told me that computers are the worst thing for the human body that was ever invented. For example, I have severe neck arthritis from a fall down basement stairs 50 years ago, so have to sit on my big exercise ball when I write.

However, my greatest challenge recently appeared when my always crystal clear close vision suddenly went blurred one morning and remains that way.  Since I am in my 70s and have never had to wear glasses to read or write, I hopped in the car and saw the ophthalmologist right away.  He found nothing wrong with either my vision or my eyes.  His diagnosis is that my eyes have been abused, over-used with reading and writing too much on the computer, they are dry and they need rest because they are super tired.  I am not supposed to read, write or do much on the computer for three weeks until I go back to him for dilation and a more in-depth exam and he wants to see rested eyes when I show up.  He said only to look at things in the distance until then.

So, if you have not yet experienced this nemesis as a writer, take heed and simply pace yourself as much as possible.  Every 30 minutes, stop and look at something 30 feet away for 30 seconds.  Use moisturizing drops in your eyes often throughout the day and give yourself a day or two off from reading or writing.  You'll discover that to be a tremendous challenge, like I have.  I listen to music, meditate with CDs or lie down and just listen to something interesting on television. 

This truly is a slow torture for me and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but a few minutes to prevent it is well worth the time you spend and it saves your vision in the long run.



Bookworm said...

Jackie, its always a pleasure to read your posts. I am so sorry you are having trouble with your sight! I pray that everything will be okay. ~ Suzi

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Thank you, Suzi. Ophthalmologist has seen me twice in a month and finds absolutely nothing wrong. He says it's too much time on the computer, Kindle, t.v. and they need some rest. So, I'm pacing myself. Just finished a book MS and you know how much work that can be.

John M. Wills said...

Good article with good advice. Thanks, Jackie.