How to write fiction

How to write fiction trying not to go blind or at least try in 7 basic advices

If you read What’s a writer’s lifestyle?, you must have already thought that from now on as a writer you have a lifestyle that includes: screens, blank paper, researching books —some in san serif typographies that overkill legibility in condensed light gray; staring into muskrats’ lives until the muse whispers or staring into all the undone laundry.

So, even if you design, draw or write only for yourself for as while the lunch runs and the rest of the day you work in an office; I believe your sight’s in danger. It’s been a time since PC’s[1] and laptops have left way to tablets or smartphones, bringing smaller and smaller typographies or just a non smartphone amicable page in reduced view. Which instead of making us buy special spectacles or a filter[2], endangers us by the constant and uninterrupted use of the thingy (I never let go of my purple baby…oopsie).

So lucky there are a few actions one can do to avoid further trouble:

  1. Buy  eye drops: dry eyes are prone to itch and…you’ll end rubbing them. After touching the surface of your smartphone. Dirtier than the toilet’s lid. You better use the drops and keep your mesmerising eyes well lubricated. And if you’re to wear contacts —as me, since the magnifiying glasses are too heavy to carry around; you should ask the ophthalmologist. Just in case the commercial ones would ruin your contacts’ investment.
  2. Do your eye gymnastics: yep, that does exist. From taking the pen/pencil you’re working with and get it closer and further to your face as you change the focal point of your sight to go and peep on the neighbours[3]…No. Not that one. Erm…to look at the horizon.  YourTelly doesn’t have it all but there are videos you can watch and follow three times a week. There’s a book called  “Aprende mejor con gimnasia cerebral” by Luz María Ibarra[4]  where you can find the exercise of zigzagging your pupils about four times to relax. This video is all about how to look after your eyes and it includes some exercises to relax constrain. If you don’t like this one, there are others using yoga.  
  3. If you haven’t slept the last few nights (and I know you shouldn’t be but are doing equally as I do…we do from time to time), chamomile tea bags. Or any other kind on your eye lids. Tepid, warm or cold, your choice. Cucumber slices will give you a spa look if you feel like mentally traveling…
  4. Fix the height of your chair and screen. Upper or downer, if the screen is not on your sight line, you’ll crane your neck and that is going to give you a massive neck-shoulder soreness you’re going to wish to get a massage. The massage is not a bad idea…help yourself to have one that you want and not one that you need. Plus if the floor is about a few centimetres out toe’s reach…your feet will numb. And I know since most of the chairs remind me of my proud Chanel number 5 small bottle size. I guess tall people have the opposite problem of hunching when the chair is uncomfortable. Thankfully, cushions and books, specially dictionaries are handy. At least that way you will get up to reach the dictionary from under your behind.  
  5. Adjust the size page or zoom in your text editor. To force yourself to see what you really don’t, makes your eyesight worse. If you write in an analog way, make your calligraphy bigger. To study Korean I’ve had to adjust the size of my handwriting since the alphabet is prone to be merged as blocks and I need to guess what side the vowel stroke is. Even worse, the “lovable” ones, tend to make things in the smallest fount size possible. 아이고!
  6. Stop staring at your screen. Look somewhere else from time to time…like right now.
  7. Are you facing eye troubles? Run to the Ophtalmologist. Glaucoma and macular degeneration are irreversible tough they can be stopped a bit. The drops are…expensive to say so. Infections or any other eye trouble related to diabetes must be under periodical control to minimize and keep on bay damages. Nonetheless, any problems as blurry double vision can be a symptom of something bigger. Going to the ophthalmologist will eliminate astigmatism or tired sight before the general physician.

In addition, if you’re a magna myope (more than 6 diopters) you are a strong candidate for: retinal tearing, cataracts, glaucoma and/or macular degeneration starting from 35 years old (depending on the diopters you need to correct). Thus, it is better to get yourself checked. The substitution of the eye lens to correct shortsightness with an IOL (Intra Ocular Lense) to reduce it, is not a good option before you become 50 since it will reduce your eye muscles’ use, causing sight tiredness before you come to know of it.

Your body, dear writer/engineer/designer colleague, is the only tool you can’t replace…yet. And if it is already possible there’s no way to afford it. Take care of your eyes.


[1] Does anybody out reading this nonsense know what a PC is?

[2] Now the trend is to sells us a blue light filter over the plastics of the spectacles, I wonder if in a future we will buy filters anti smartphone.

[3] My neighbours, the ones living around, happen to be lizards and birds living in the apartment complexes of the Evergreen oak and Cypress ones.

[4] Is there an English version? Not of this book and there’s a page about Brain gym…but I haven’t read any of the books recommended there thus, I can’t recommend any other.

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