I handwrite the vast majority of my works. I use a fancy fountain pen to do it. I write my works in one sitting. (My current record: 60,000 words in 7 days). I type my handwritten works almost right after into Zenwriter in roughly 2-3 days, sometimes 4. The works are usually typed in half the time it takes to write them or shorter. I tend to write in sprints, not bit by bit. When the sprints are done, I don’t touch my pen for a while.
This all means my hand is full of ow when done.
All the ow.
Neil Gaiman talks about hand strain quite a bit but I most likely clock larger daily numbers than he does so I think I can super talk about this topic.
I definitely can.
So! When I’m done writing, my hand is deaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Gone. In the afterlife. Send flowers and cards.
But I still gotta use it, because it is a hand.
And I want to make sure it lasts a long time so I have to take good care of it. Thus, I try to.
What I do:
– Silicone Sleeves: I have a trimmed pack of silicone finger sleeves that are meant to go over my middle finger’s first knuckle and pad it from my fountain pen. It isn’t because my TWSBI isn’t comfy but write with anything for 14-18 hours straight and it’s gonna hurt if you don’t have excess padding. They’re not really pricy, I think $10 or less for a decent pack that, when cut up to fit only over the knuckle, gives you a load of them, in case you are prone to losing things. I can write for as long as I want and I avoid Writer’s Bump (different from Writer’s Cramp, that affects the wrist/hand) and my finger is perfectly fine after writing my books.
– Finger tape/bandaid: I write to the point I basically sand the skin off the side of my pinky knuckle. Again, I write for 14-18 hours straight for several days straight, this is not a change-the-way-you-write thing, it’s an ow-friction-and-determination thing. Yes, I have the pinky glove thing but that’s for my e-note, not for my paper writing. The glove is way too cumbersome for my journal; it covers the blade of my hand, I only need it for my pinky knuckle. That’s where bandaids come in. I would just wrap a small bandaid on my pinky knuckle and problem solved – sorta. Washing my hands means I run through bandaids – which are meant for injuries, not protection from future injury. If I get a real, blood producing owie (yes, “owie”), then I’m out of bandaids. That’s where finger tape comes in. Finger tape is for athletes like gymnasts and martial artists to protect their hands from friction burns. I know about them because I practice Wing Chun kung fu but I didn’t have any because this is somewhat a new problem. (Probably just showing up now because it’s the cumulation of all the times I have done it with reckless abandon.) Thus, a big reel of finger tape is useful. That way, I can wash my hands and not use up all my bandaids. I have no idea if the finger tape is biodegradable, I’ll worry about that later (unless someone knows a Black-owned/Black created, biodegradable finger tape brand, it’s an I’ll-Worry-About-It-Later issue). Not really pricy, around $8-$10 for a big roll.
– Hand exercises: I do flex and rotate my hand and wrist when I write. It is smart to do since my hand is basically in the same cramped formation for literal hours, day after day. It helps prevent cramping and slow down aches from appearing. Very important to flex and rotate your hand if you’re writing for as long as I do or just every other hour. It also helps me determine if I need to crack out the heated hand massager
– Heated Hand Massager: Godsend ;_; It revives my hand every time I use it. It is a small, pressurized device that massages and flexes your hand via motorized compression. It has multiple settings of different pressures and two levels of heated function. It’s about $60-70 but totally worth it. Mine is small, rechargeable and ambidextrous (meaning it can massage either hand, there’s a thumb hole on both sides). If my hand hurts too much or I’m stuck on a scene, I just shove my hand into it, listen to music (usually a single album as a time keeper), and run it through all the settings on the heating functions. I also run it when I’m done writing for the day and am about to go to sleep so that my hand can be fresh and ready to go for the next day. It really does disappear all aches and pains, I’m always astonished when I wake up and my hand feels new again, as if I didn’t attempt to write my hand into an oblivion the day before, or the day before that. It’s a total need. Take off any raised rings and bracelets though, the pressure is strong enough to squeeze them bent.
This is what I do so I can keep my hand up and prim because I do more than write. It’s a hand, after all. I don’t want to have days and weeks of hand strain or wrist strain. I also want a simple, direct, concise system to treat my hand so I can take good care of it without a whole lot of work. Basically, I just want to focus on my writing and my writing strictly, I don’t want anything to take me from that laser focus. I can’t write if my hand is busted, plain and simple.
Thank you that is excellent advice and I’m going to use it before I have to. You’re awesome thank you again thank you:-)