Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Sunday, 21 February 2016

If you sit too close to the screen you'll have square eyes ...

I was forever been told when I was younger that if I sat too close to the TV screen, or the for too long, my eyes would turn square. I also remember overhearing the owner of the local corner shop telling his daughter that if she swallowed her chewing gum it would wrap around her heart and she would die. What have these memories got to do with writing, I hear you ask. Well, apart from inspiring an idea for a short story, they are also reminders about taking a break from your computer screen, and not to swallow your chewing gum.

Recently, I have been concentrating my efforts on writing non-fiction books. This week I have been reading and checking the proofs for one of those books as well as sorting the index out. When I received them, a couple of weeks ago, I was ill in bed with a ferocious and very frustrating chest infection, one that didn't require antibiotics but still had me out of action - the effects I'm still suffering from now. As I lay in my bed I was moaning about the fact that not only could I not go to my day job in school, but I was unable to write, edit or read, either.

So, I had an enforced and unwanted break from my computer screen. This was doubly frustrating because the manuscript for this particular book had been with the editor since July 2015 and it was now January 2016! The editor herself had been ill and had a lot of other clients' work to go through too, hence the delay, and now I was having to delay the process further because I was too ill to go through it.

Frustrating as this was, I now realise that it actually did me a favour. I was forced to rest, recuperate and do nothing and this rest really did me and my proofreading ability the world of good. Taking a break from your proofreading also gives your brain the chance to cogitate on the information it is receiving via your eyes and if you proofread for too long you can miss silly mistakes that are staring you in the face, waving flags, blowing whistles and jumping up and down in front of you.

Also, staring at a screen or text for too long is bad for your eyes and can cause eye strain - or, in my case, migraines as well. So, no matter how tempted you are to plough on, my advice to you is to not. Step away from the screen or paper manuscript and do something else for a while. When you come back to it you'll do so with fresh and rested eyes and a brain that is ready to see what is really on the page, not what it thinks is there.


Maria said...

Taking a break is a good thing, and I agree you do come back with fresh eyes.
Have a good week, glad to hear you're feeling better now.

Julie P said...

Yes, feeling a lot better, thanks, Maria. Think I need the spring to come and the longer, lighter days!

Julie P said...

Yes, feeling a lot better, thanks, Maria. Think I need the spring to come and the longer, lighter days!