A new metric for writerly accomplishment

Perhaps this is really an old metric, but if so, it’s new to me because I noticed it today and am not aware of having read about it elsewhere. I suspect that the amount of carpal tunnel-style pain in my hands at the end of the day might be correlated with the amount of writing done. Although I have one of the world’s best computer workspaces, enough keyboard pounding will eventually make the bridge between my thumbs and fingers ache. I’ve learned to use both thumbs to hit the spacebar key, but even so, I favor the right, and it correspondingly bothers me more.

Aside from flattering my inner masochist, the “pain metric” has advantages over other measurement systems like word/page count or time spent (see Writers on Writing from the New York Times for thoughts on those methods) because it considers all that rewriting time as equivalent to new work. This metric also can’t be fulfilled by staring out the window all day. I suppose surfing the Internet might be a confounding factor, but I often disconnect distraction when I have real things to do, and so it shouldn’t provide too much interference.

The major project I’m working on isn’t for blog consumption, and it helps explain why posting has become weekly instead of closer to daily. Should it come to fruition, expect to hear more, and if not, then I guess this post, appropriately regarding pain, will be the primary marker of its existence.

New workspace

A year and a half ago, I uploaded a picture of my writing space. Things have changed, and Nigel Beale’s challenge inspires me to post another:

Notable features include an Aeron, the ultimate chair, ink bottles, a backup hard drive used with Time Machine, a gargantuan, wonderful iMac, and a Unicomp Customizer keyboard that inspired this rave—it’s now the most trafficked post on my site.

From Nigel’s blog I went to the Guardian and found out that Alain de Botton has an Aeron too, which obviously enhances the psychic connection established when I shook his hand and discussed Cooper Minis with him in Seattle. His fun novel Kiss & Tell was on my senior year AP English exam.

Notice also the ink bottles hiding between the lamp, book, and base of the computer. I have an anachronistic bend toward fountain pens, and these days I most often use an ink mix of Noodler’s luxury blue blended with Diamine Mediterranean Blue. Juxtaposing inks that Chaucer might have recognized with the computer he probably would not seems an appropriate homage to old and new.

I’d post bookshelves pictures too were my books not substantially packed in preparation for moving.

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