Rise up and Write. Yay or Nay on Standing Desks?

Nicole Melanson ~

Woman working on laptop

Ask any group of authors what the hardest part of writing is and their responses will cover everything from writer’s block to self-promotion. For years, I’d have said that the hardest part for me was simply finding time, but now my answer is much more literal: the hardest part of writing for me is my chair. No contest whatsoever.

Research says that sitting is the new smoking, and my body wouldn’t disagree. I have a perpetual crick in my neck, a sore spine, and raw patches on my elbows where the skin has rubbed away from leaning over a desk.

I used to have a beautiful antique wooden captain’s chair with armrests and a wicker back. Exhibit A:

Antique Captain's Chair

The chair itself was great, but I couldn’t handle all the sitting. I much prefer to perch. Friends swore by their exercise balls (many left over from labor), but I figured having a gigantic, bouncing ball in my office was a recipe for disaster with five little kids around. So, I bought a stool instead—this stool, specifically:

Home Office with IKEA Nilserik Stool

It’s from IKEA and I love it because it both swivels and rocks, doesn’t take up a ton of visual space, and tucks neatly under my desk when not in use. I’m also the only one who likes it, which means I never have to worry about anyone else in the house stealing it for themselves. The problem is, no matter how much I call it swivelling, rocking, and perching, I’m still basically sitting for hours at a time.

The situation has only gotten worse with COVID-induced lockdowns and restrictions. Little things like parents being prohibited from entering school grounds mean I’m no longer dashing in and out all day but instead consolidating all my errands and spending more time at home. And the more I do at home, the more I’m at my desk, which means endless hours of sitting.

My stool can extend to a height of 71 cms / 28 inches, designed to offer support if you’re standing. I don’t know about other parts of the world but standing desks are so trendy here in Australia that you can buy them pretty much anywhere now. I’m just afraid to invest in one in case I hate it, or get as tired of standing as I do of sitting. So now I’m thinking I might try a really basic standing desk converter before I go all out and splurge. I think it might make a nice upgrade from the two shoeboxes I’m currently using (since I have no use for the beautiful, long leather boots they store here in sunny Queensland).

Anyone have any experience with this kind of set-up? I obviously use a desktop rather than a laptop so it’s a bit bulkier to move, but feel like this might keep me from freezing up in one position over the course of a day. Thoughts?

— Nicole Melanson