I think I got my first desk when I was about ten. I sat down for the next 41 years, even though I knew there was a standing writing story that extended through Ernest Hemingway and other great names. First with pen and paper, later with a typewriter and then with desktop and laptop computers.
In my experience, writers don't like to play with what works. For decades, my daily performance was in the range of 500 to 1000 words that were achieved while sitting, and I was not inclined to shake this up.
However, I took note of the modern perception that sitting is death, and at the same time studied my usually much younger colleagues who were hacking at the high-tech standing desk machines (when Business Insider moved our offices to Wall Street, a standing desk was offered to anyone who this can be moved up and down if a magic seat is desired).
I wasn't ready to shake my desk, which is kind of a shrine when I write about cars at Business Insider for four years. My home setup was a different story. I'm using a laptop there (it's a desktop with a large monitor in the office), so I made the switch during a two-week stay in August 2018.
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I spent exactly zero dollars. Fortunately, I had an old cardboard wine box that was as tall as it needed to be, and with just enough surface area when it was turned upside down to carry a MacBook Air. I thought that such a light, el-cheapo approach could easily be rolled back to the old arrangement – and, if I like the new deal, will be rebuilt in wood to create a more polished atmosphere.
My desk is not very big and I want to keep the stuff I have on it, so the space on the standing desk had to be modest.
But although the box was the ideal shape and size, it was eventually worn out. At first I thought about my tailor-made idea, but a few searches on the Internet came up stand stand, a Massachusetts-based company that started at Kickstarter and was founded by a PhD student at Harvard who now teaches Arabic.
StandStand sells a variety of desks, with a large, top-of-the-line bamboo model available for $ 425. I bought the simplest portable model, which is made of birch and costs $ 59. I break it down into three parts so that you can take your high desk with you wherever you go. It is also quite robust. I've been using it for over a year now and I'm over the moon.
My standing desk coincided with the more consistent wearing of my Apple Watch 3, so I now know that thanks to a humble wine box from Foxhorn Vineyards (and later) the stand-stand desk), I routinely hit my permanent goals. I also generally feel better – but not radically better. Anyone who thinks a standing desk will change life is likely to expect too much. The benefits are incremental rather than dramatic.
There is also a physical fit curve to deal with. In my case, my lower back had moderate pain for about a week when I first changed. But I went through it. Worth the fight because I can now spend almost a whole day without sitting. I haven't noticed any significant changes to my writing process either. I started more or less where I left off, only on my feet instead of my buttocks.
Incidentally, I was not the worst sitter in the world. My system was to sit on the edge of my chair to keep my back as straight as possible. However, this is not an easily enforceable discipline. And although I worked well in the days before the Internet when I could write a sentence and then think about the next sentence for the next 15 minutes, the pace of publishing online doesn't allow for that. A digital journalist can see himself sitting for 12 hours in a row.
In the end I am glad that I finally got up. So glad that I also switched to a standing desk in the office.
Of course I kept my chair in both places.
But as far as the home office is concerned, StandStand's $ 60 standing desk is here to stay.