The Writer’s Guide to Avoiding Carpal Tunnel

For writers, carpal tunnel can, unfortunately, be a common reality. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through the front of the wrist. Over time, this compression can lead to constant numbness, burning or pain. Weak hand muscles can contribute to the condition, as can arthritis. If you’re a writer, here are some tips to help you make sure that you don’t fall victim to this inconvenient condition.

Carpal Tunnel: A Writer’s Worst Nightmare

Writers can spend hours at their keyboards, and many may find that they don’t do a good job of monitoring their posture, wrist position, or any pain they may be experiencing. CTS worsens with time, and without treatment, you can find yourself unable to perform the basic duties of your occupation as a writer. As soon as you notice pain or fatigue, break away from the keyboard for some simple stretches to reduce pressure on the median nerve.

Stretch Your Wrists and Arms Frequently

There are simple stretches you can do at your desk to lessen the risk of CTS. Performing a gentle wrist bend for five seconds, both up and down until you feel the stretch in your forearm, is a great way to give your wrist rest and provide a break for your brain.

Another easy exercise you can do from a seated position is to press your hands together in prayer position directly in front of your sternum. Lower your pressed palms until you feel the stretch in your wrist, and hold this for five seconds. You can also stand and press your palms flat on the table in front of you. Gently lean forward with your arms straight so that your shoulders extend to the ends of your fingertips or until you feel a stretch in your wrists.

Increase Your Hand Strength

People with weak hands are more prone to developing CTS. Simply stretching your fingers and then grasping them tight into a hard fist is a great way to strengthen your hands. Do this for one minute, then shake your hands out for another minute.

If you walk on the track for any part of your workout, try to carry a hand weight with you for a lap or two, then set it down and shake out your hands for a lap. As you do these exercises, make sure to take a stretch break to both ease tension in the wrist and loosen up the newly worked hand muscles.

Use a Timer

Writers like to get in the zone or lose themselves in the document they’re working on. Unfortunately, this can lead to several hours in a chair before you realize that you really should move your body and stretch your hands and wrists. Many cell phones have a clock feature that includes a timer. Set this timer to go off in an hour and put it across the room so that you have to get up and turn it off. If you’ve got wrist problems, taking a break is critical.

CTS impacts more than just your writing time. You may find that your hand hurts or goes numb. It may feel cold no matter how warm the rest of your body feels. Over time, you may lose gripping strength or start to have problems with dexterity. Take care of your wrists on a daily basis to reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Are you in need of someone to look over your story and tell you if it’s any good? Let me help!

Elements of an Exciting Car Chase You Need for Your Book

What an exciting book! Surprised young woman reading a book while sitting at the library

Many of us read books, not knowing that the person who wrote the story often took a long period of time crafting even a single page. This is especially true when it comes to action scenes. Being able to convey the excitement of an action scene while still being able to tell the story can be harder than people think. This is most noticeable when an author chooses to insert a car chase into their book. The following list entails some of the things to keep in mind when writing such a scene. 

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How to Write About Injured Characters

Writing about injured characters is challenging for writers of any genre. However, in fantasy or science fiction writing, there are considerations related to the characters’ injuries that should always be kept in mind. Even though this type of fiction requires readers to believe the unbelievable, you still want to strive for a touch of authenticity.

Injure Them Realistically

Injuries that characters sustain should be consistent with what injured them. For example, a description of an injury suffered during a sword fight should not be similar to a gunshot wound. An injury that happens because of a fall should be consistent with the height, such as not having catastrophic fractures occur because of a short fall.

Another important thing to be considered should be what type of protective gear, like armor or a spacesuit, the character was wearing. Keep in mind that protective gear is not perfect (unless it’s magical and supposed to be that way), and characters can still get injured through it. For example, people can still get head injuries even while wearing a helmet.

In fantasy, a character fighting a dragon might receive burns even with protective gear. Science fiction characters who are nonhuman might withstand injuries that would injure humans pretty seriously. The story’s setting always matters.

Use the Right Symptoms

Paying attention to symptoms and appropriate reactions associated with the injury type is important to writing convincingly. Accurate medical sources regarding different injuries can help you present an injury accurately, even in a setting for removed from “real life.”

For example, describing pain bearing weight on an injured leg would be accurate, as well as symptoms similar to gas poisoning resulting from an encounter with toxic potions. Always remember that even the most unbelievable fantasy or science fiction storyline has some inspiration from real life.

Don’t Ignore Pain

Many writers find pain difficult to write about, at the risk of downplaying their characters’ pain. However, unless some plot device in the storyline allows for supernatural pain resistance or magical healing, you will most likely have scenes that involve characters being in pain.

Another consideration in writing about pain is keeping it proportionate to the injury. A person who receives burns from dragon will have more pain than someone who trips mounting a horse. Try to put yourself in your characters’ shoes as much as you can.

Writing about injured characters is a unique challenge for writers. When you are writing about them, you want to make sure that it seems realistic so you don’t alienate the reader. However, by following the above tips, writing about injured characters will become easier over time.
Want more writing tips? Check out this other article on how to write empathetic characters without boring your audience!

Why I have Been Gone

In June of 2018, I suffered a mental collapse brought on me by stress and an undiagnosed mental health condition. It had caught me by surprise that I had gone from going along to massive mood swings, mild paranoia, and hyper-alertness. By August, my beautiful wife convinced me to go to the VA and speak with a mental health professional, and it turns out that I had Bipolar disorder. Since June, my life has completely changed.

What Happened

In 2010, I served eight months in Afghanistan and to put it mildly; it was packed full of stress, anxiety, and sheer terror at times. Since getting married and having children, I have always struggled with my temper.

June was a turning point for both good and bad. I had come home from work and collapsed in my chair and suffered a fit of sheer fury for no reason which slammed into a high manic state which scared me. Susanna, my sweet, long-suffering wife, talked me through it and told me with no uncertainty that I needed to speak with someone and recommended the Veterans Affairs. She thought it was the best choice as the visit would be free (due to me having a combat badge from the war) and they would be more understanding of the things that I experienced.

My doctor found that I was Bipolar and that what I thought was part of the PTSD was something entirely different and that I had to change a lot of my life around to consider this. That was why I disappeared; I needed to figure out how my online presence was going to be now that I know what’s going on and have the support to get through it.

Why Am I Saying All Of This?

Mental illness has been shoved in the corner far too long which has allowed horrible people to treat those with mental illness as second class citizens that should be locked away and forgotten. Because of people spending so many years refusing to talk about mental health, it has been regulated to the world of mystery, and when someone mentions it, others get uncomfortable.

I’m not going to do that. It’s a part of my life I now understand as best as I can, and it’s something I will talk to people about if they want to listen. If it makes someone else with a mental illness comfortable and to know that I can relate as much as feasible, then I feel that I have done something right.

If anyone watched my Twitter feed, they would have seen the gift I got for my wife as a thank you which turned out to be so much more. Susanna and I have liked the Teen Titans show, and I found that my favorite voice actor who voice Susanna’s favorite character Raven (this would be the wonderful Tara Strong). I discovered that Ms. Strong had a profile on Cameo and requested her to do a positive message from Raven.

What we got not only helped cheer my wife up but made me realize that other people understood. Ms. Strong could have done something basic, but the recording felt like she took the time to figure out what Raven would have really said.

So, besides making me realize that I’m not alone in supporting those with mental illness (and making sure I’m an ardent Tara follower), I knew that it was essential to speak out and that’s what I’m going to do.

What is the future?


I’m coming back. There are a lot of projects that have sat on the shelf for half a year, and it’s time for me to get them done. I have a few more novellas, adventures, and even a program coming out soon. There is also the new Star Traveler #4 book in the work!

Thank you for listening and make sure to look to those with illnesses and let them know they are safe and supported.

What do you think about society and mental health? Want to keep up with more of my writing? You can do so by subscribing to my blog! Promise, no spam!

I’m going on Hiatus for Awhile

Jennifer Tracy ready for the hiatusI never wanted it to happen, but there is nothing I could do about it. I am going on hiatus. For the last two years, my life has become more and more stressful with family health issues, my own personal and professional responsibilities and the inevitable appearance of burn out. Writing has become extremely difficult, and even this blog post has drained what little creativity I have.

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Now Utilizing Book Ratings!

It all started with a comment from my wife who was going through Amazon. She was looking for a book for our boys and was a bit irritated that we couldn’t get an idea and that we should have ratings like fan fiction websites do. I thought it was a brilliant idea and decided to do some research and found fictionratings.com.

They have an MPAA like system that was pretty self-explanatory though most of the website was a single page. As I have wanted a rating system for my books so people know what they are getting into, I have decided to adopt the fiction rating system on my website.

For all the books, you will now be able to find out where they are sitting before you pick them up!

Want to keep up with more of what I do? You can subscribe to my newsletter (promise, no spam) or to my blog in the right-hand corner of this page. What are your thoughts on ratings? Mention them in the comments below!










YWriter6 – The Software I develop All my Stories in

YWriter6 Software logo
(c) Simon Haynes

Just a little while ago I was talking to my best friend Jessica Werner about the software that we use to write our novels. If you have been in the writing world long enough, you know there are quite a lot of options out there ranging from the simple pen and paper to the complicated and advanced Scrivener.

It dawned on me that I haven’t shared the program that I use to write my novels and novellas and why I like it. So, to rectify that mistake, here is my discussion and review of Ywriter6.

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Yep…Creativity has a limit and I found it.

I had a strange and ill feeling when I finished The Bastion at the Edge of the Universe, and I did not like what it boded. I remember putting together the last of the Ebook, staring at the screen as it uploaded to Draft2Digital and said to myself. “I’m burnt out.”

There. I said it. Words that, once spoke, make me exhausted and sick feeling. I feel like every ounce of creativity has been drained and then some. It had gotten so rough that I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the next story and even begin typing. This blog is a struggle to get done.

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The Bastion at the Edge of the Universe – Released!

Gosh, I love to write.

I also know that I’m stating the obvious but as I sit back and look at the new novella I release, I can’t say that I don’t enjoy the satisfaction of going from 0 to complete. There is just something about seeing my work out there and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

That being said, I am happy to announce the release of The Bastion at the Edge of The Universe, a pulp influenced story that I started back in 2014 on the now-defunct Jukepop series website and finally got completed (cause the story needed to be completed).

You can, of course, find them in their usual spot through the universal book link or on smashwords.com.

I would love to hear your input even if you don’t like it. I can’t improve unless I get feedback and even if you read it and don’t say anything, I appreciate you taking the time to download it.

books2read.com/u/m0xpGl