Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing and Health ~ Taking Care of Your Assets and Avoiding RSI





Writing can take a toll on your body. Your greatest assets are your wrists, hands, fingers, elbows, and back.  Sitting all day can also affect your heart, nervous system, while staring at a computer screen can damage your eyesight.  Not to mention, depression or mood swings that can punch you in the gut when things aren't going your way.

It's good for the body, mind, and soul to prevent as many of these as possible.  Repetitive Stress Injury, RSI, affects over 1.8 million workers each year according to studies done by the  Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, OSHA.  As a writer, you have a higher chance of RSI.  Some of the common RSI ailments include; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, and Trigger Finger.

I recently experienced RSI with one my wrists.  Years before, I had suffered through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which was extremely painful and caused a two year vacation from my writing career.  I've made a few adjustments that have helped and keep me aware.  Hopefully these will save someone from the same painful vacation I took before I realized my poor work habits.

  • Keyboards are important: What type you use, how your hands flow over the keyboard, and how long you spend typing at one time are all factors to consider. 
  • Taking breaks and getting out of your sitting/typing position every thirty minuets is crucial to maintaining a healthy blood flow and recess from the repetitive movement that causes injury.
  • Posture Counts:  Are both feet flat on the floor?  Does your chair complement your back and neck or cause you to strain?

I've made the switch to an ergonomics keyboard which has a very easy and soft touch.  It's slightly different than a regular keyboard but hasn't taken that long to get use to.  Next on my list is an ergonomic chair.  There are many different types and brands on the market, I did some research and read reviews before I chose mine. I also use an ergonomics wrist pad and gloves to help with the pressure and tension placed on my hands during busier days.  A few of my picks are:
  1. Microsoft Ergonomics Keyboard
  2. Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse
  3. IMAK Computer Glove
  4. Keyboard Wrist Rest

A few reminders to help prevent RSI in your wrists include:
  1. Don't type for over 30 minutes without taking at least a 5 minute break.
  2. Don't bend your hands at the wrists, even if you have a wrist pad rest.
  3. Keep your hands and wrist at a lower angle so that your elbows and shoulders are relaxed.
  4. Stretch your arms and get the circulation going.  See examples of stretches here.
  5. Invest in a voice activated typing software such as Dragon Dictate.  See more reviews here
  6. Purchase the necessary tools: Keyboard, chair, gloves, etc.
  7. Practice this simple preventive exercise:


Preventative health is the best type of health, but if you are already suffering from RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, do your research and don't let it stop you from doing what you love.

Thanks for stopping by!
How have you overcome a health situation that effected your job?
(Let me know @Ceajones, #Cindymjones)



Thursday, October 9, 2014

BLOGGING 101 ~ 5 REASONS TO START A BLOG

I've been blogging since the mid 2000's when blogging was relatively new.  Most were online journals where you could follow someone's process through a health or personal situation.  It was a dairy that everyone could participate in.

A good friend, who was also my Bible Study instructor, encouraged me to start one.  It was an extremely difficult season that I was going through and making it public scared me to death. It wasn't till we participated in Beth Moore's re-taping of Breaking Free in New Orleans that something changed.  I saw blogging as an opportunity to reach people who had gone through much of the same problems as I had.

It was the beginning of the writing career I have now.  An article I submitted to Lifeway's Journal for Women was published a year later.  That opened up many more doors.  My blog started as an outlet for healing the inner wounds I had carried for so long.  It gave me the confidence to pursue writing for magazines and web content.

I've had several blogs before settling on the one I have now, and it is very possible that this will evolve as well.  A few of those included:

Chapters of Hope ~ Mainly a online dairy of childhood abuse and what I found that helped.

Writers Connection ~ Devoted to my love of writing and writers.

Bookends ~ I reviewed books that I received while attending writing conferences and those who contacted me that needed a little help in promotion.  

There were a couple of others, some I did with a few friends.  If you read through the archives of this blog, you'll see much of the same type of content.  I have a flow cart that I use for my weekly posts. Each is a different category, but all are things that I enjoy writing about or feel compelled to share.

Here's a breakdown of my blogging schedule:

1st Thursday ~ Author interview or book review
2nd Thursday ~ Blogging or Writing 101
3rd Thursday ~ Health
4th Thursday ~ Family, Faith, Focus ~ My stories
5th Thursday ~ Moving On, relocating and travel

These are broken down into categories which you can view on the right hand side of my home page.  

Starting a blog can be intimidating.  Some of the questions I had included:
  • What do I write about?
  • Will anyone read it?
  • What will I name it?
  • How do I promote it or get people to follow me?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • How do I make it look professional?

These are some of the very same things you will face.  I believe the most important question is: Why do you want to start a blog?

Here are my 5 Reasons to start a blog.



  • BLOGGING INCREASES WRITING SKILLS
  • BLOGGING BUILDS CONFIDENCE
  • BLOGGING PROVIDES FOCUS
  • BLOGGING DEVELOPS CONSISTENCY
  • BLOGGING CONNECTS LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE



So... What are you waiting for?














Thursday, October 2, 2014

Middle Grade Book Review ~ The Invisible Thread by ~ Yoshiko Uchida


I fell in love with this author while doing some research for a short story contest called the SELTI, Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative, check them out here.






The Invisible Thread was the story of young Yoshiko Uchida and her family’s heartbreaking experience during WWII.  After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the government ordered all people of Japanese decent to be placed into Internment Camps, see more here.  

The story is told through the younger sister's, Yoshiko, eyes.  As she and her sister grow up during these formidable years in the different camps, Yoshiko determines she wants to become a teacher.  As WWII comes to a close, she finally escapes the camp and is able to fulfill her dreams.  

This is a story of a young girl becoming a woman of purpose during a most frightful and discriminating time.  

As I began my own story, An Unlikely Hero, I took a different approach.  I chose to use the view point of an orphaned and troubled American boy who finds refuge with a Japanese family when no one else would extend him help.

As news spreads that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor, the townspeople point their hatred at the Japanese family who have done nothing wrong.  In the midst of all the chaos, my main hero loses his courage to take up for his adopted Japanese family and leaves them to an angry mob.  He spends the rest of his life trying to reconnect with them and make up for his grave mistake.



Reading is a necessity to great writing.  For most of the reading I do, I choose Middle Grade books.  I enjoy Middle Grade Readers because they harness the innocence of uncorrupted childlike faith and turn it into a catalyst for courage to change or make a change.  

I hope you will look into the many other books by Yoshiko Uchida, especially with the 70th Anniversary of D-Day this year and the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of WWII (September 1, 1939).  For a history timeline on WWII, click here.


My story, An Unlikely Hero, placed 6th in the SELTI contest and gave me the idea to pursue it further as a possible novel.  To find out more about the annual SELTI, click here.  For more information about those who created SELTI and its purpose, click here.

Mobile Bay SELTI Tourism Writing Contest Official Results
First Place – “Raisin’ Cain” by Mary S. Palmer
Second Place – “Remembrance” by Natalie Welch
Third Place – “The Mother of Mystics” by Steve Joynt
Fourth Place – “The China Doll Heads” by Susan Milling
Fifth Place – “Henry and the Ren Faire” by Carroll Dale Short
Sixth Place- “An Unlikely Hero” by Cindy M. Jones


Here are a few other suggestions for Middle Grade reading about the Interment Camps.

By: Yoshiko Uchida

The Bracelet


Journey Home
Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family
Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation
A Jar of Dreams
Desert Exile

Others:

Baseball Saved Us by: Ken Mochizuki, Dom Lee




Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family’s Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by: Katie Yamasaki
Barbed Wire Baseball by: Marissa Moss
Take What You Can Carry by: Kevin C. Pyle
I Am An American by: Jerry Stanley




For more resources from The Best Children's Books, please click here.