Monday, January 30, 2017

Making writing possible despite illness/disability

It truly breaks my heart that ME/CFS can be so relentless that even a simple action of writing can be so severely curtailed because of the inability to hold a pen. Or that there is no point in using voice recognition due to the inability to find words when speaking.

Morning all,

Yesterday I queried how I can write this blog and not compromise my health. See here. It brought up some communications with other people living with ME/CFS. 

 "I would LOVE to write, but if I write by hand, my hand gets tired and sore very quick. Sitting at the laptop my eyes tire after 10 minutes and my brain gets frazzled which isn't very helpful if you want to put your thoughts into words that are more or less interesting or enjoyable to read." U.H.

Some suggestions, from myself and others which might be of use to others dealing with ME/CFS or other illnesses/disabilities

  • I personally write with a fountain pen. The ink flows easily over the page and therefor not requiring much pressure and strength.
  • Using a smart phone that has a rather large screen, and use a plastic pen to tick the letters on a virtual keyboard popping up on the screen. This is by far the easiest way for me to write as the movement is very small and the base of my hand can remain in contact with the table.
  • Position the laptop on a cushioned tray while reclining in bed. My arms are supported on pillows, so again, it's wrist movement for the most part.
  • I use a decent stylus with a metal not a rubber head so typing with the little keyboard on an iPad mini screen is easy & requires wrist movement only & the hand is relaxed.
  • For laptop-computer writing there is  Dragon Speech Recognition Software. It is a software which learns how you speak, and types what you say. It follows instructions too, like 'delete' or 'next paragraph', or underline, etc. It can also tread out what you have written.
  • The headphone set that came with Dragon I found too heavy for my head. I ended up with severe neck pain. After researching alternatives I purchased this small X-Tag microphone which can be attached to my shirt. It also is not necessary to sit in front of the computer. However, as the transcribing is not always that accurate it might be better to see what you are writing...
  • There are a variety of writing pens available for people with arthritis, which might be suitable for other too. See here, or here , or search in google. From as simple an aid as a rubber piece to put around the base of the pen to have to grip less tightly, to more elaborate designed pens.
  • SIRI is a voice recognition software installed on ipPhone and iPads. (activate it under settings) I use this often to write an email, or dictate a thought or story. It is remarkably accurate. (I just googled if there is an android alternative and this came up: Robin) I can lie dow while 'writing'.
  • One of my main 'tools' is to set my timer and not write for more thatn 20 minutes on the computer. Others suggested this too. Take a break. Come back later in the day to continue writing. Not easy to step away... but hugely beneficial.

Writing is hugely important to me, and to many, many others. Writing helped me, and still helps me to understand my changed world, and to be in contact with the world.

... the reason my last book 'Into the Light' turned into a book with very short thoughts and reflections was because I could not write the longer essays I had in mind...


Unknown said...

Some fabulous hints and links, thanks Corina x

Corina Duyn said...

Thanks Diane

Please share this post with whomever you think might benefit from the hints and links!
And Happy Writing!!

Claire said...

I'd just like to suggest that the issue of screen lighting may be relevant to those sensitive to light. I found glossy screens very hard to take, and also found out by accident that I was sensitive to the LED backlighting which comes with most modern laptops. It's difficult, though not impossible, to get laptops with CCFL backlighting, but easier to get it in desktop monitors.

Corina Duyn said...

Thanks for that insight Claire.
I am sure that is relevent and of use to many others.

Much appreciated!

Unknown said...

change ur screen colours i find black with yelloe the best when writting

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Corina Duyn said...

Thank you Wendy,
That is a very interesting sufpggestion.
Will check it out.

Best wishes