Thanet Writers Research Standing Desks

Writer David Chitty researches standing desks on behalf of Thanet Writers.

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Rembrandt / Public Domain

Standing desks—desks that are higher so that you can stand at them instead of sit at them—have been around for as long as we humans have been working at desks. However, they have seen a recent resurgence as more and more companies are offering their workers the option of working standing up and the science is becoming increasingly conclusive: sitting is bad for your health.

There’s some evidence that making use of a standing desk can lower your blood sugar levels, lower your chance of heart disease, decrease the chance of obesity, help your mood, reduce back pain and generally help you to live longer. While this area of study certainly needs further work, it does look as if standing, instead of sitting for extended periods of time, is better for your health. But what does that mean to us writers?

For starters, being healthier is going to help every aspect of your life, but there does seem to be some evidence that standing increases your productivity and creativity. The vast majority of the research into this topic has been looking at businesses and whether their workers are more creative when standing, leading to companies such as Google offering standing desks to their staff. While there is a lot of work still needed on the effect of standing, small studies have shown that people who complete tasks while standing are performing those tasks in a more creative and collaborative way. Some of these studies, however, have shown that there isn’t a tangible difference in the end product, just a difference in the methodology.

Some of history’s most celebrated literary figures made use of standing desks. Hemingway, Carroll, Woolf, and Dickens all purportedly wrote at standing desks for the majority of their works. But, before you rush out and buy yourself a very expensive standing desk, plenty of other authors and fantastically creative people have weaved their masterpieces while sitting. So, while it is almost certainly a healthier alternative to sitting—my days generally consist of sitting in an office all day and then coming home and sitting with a laptop—it doesn’t seem like standing while writing is the thing that will make you more creative. Having said that, as with most things in the creative world, do what works for you.

If you’re struggling with your creativity, a relatively easy thing that you can do is change the physical way in which you write. Try a new location, a new setting, or try standing and doing a bit of writing. It’s worked for writers throughout history; it might work for you.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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