What was the topic again? by Deb Joelle

Last week, I sat down to do my Deb post on deadlines. Then I double checked the topic and saw we’d already done deadlines and the actual topic was love. This week, I sat down to write my Deb post on deadlines. And then I got a sense of déjà vu and sure enough, we’ve already done deadlines. Anyone care to guess what March 1st, is for me? Yep. The deadline my second book is due to my editor.

To be honest, there’s something in the above paragraph that’s not true. I didn’t sit down to write anything. Why? Because I don’t sit down, I walk on my treadmill while I write. Seriously.

About a year ago, the writer Arthur Slade saw a news program about a company making treadmill desks for big corporations. You can watch that video here. Now, Art is nothing if not cheap ingenious and he knew he could make his own treadmill desk for much less than the $5000 or whatever that company is charging people with more money than sense Corporate America, and he built his own. For a long time, despite the fact my husband thought both Art and I were nuts, I coveted Art’s treadmill desk. Last November, I found a used treadmill for sale just about the same time I came into the exact amount of money they were asking for it. Destiny or insanity? I like to think the former. My friend, Ken, helped me move it home and then he built the fancy desk you see in the picture.

Getting used to writing while walking only took a few minutes, but looking down at my laptop screen made me very dizzy, so I bought the large monitor and Ken added a shelf to his innovative treadmill desk design. The treadmill desk has been wonderful! At the end of the day, I actually have more energy than when I sit all day. Plus, it forces me to take a break because I need water!

Side note: I’ve noticed whenever I show this to friends, they invariably call their spouse in to see it and say, “Honey, this is exactly what you need.” They never seem to want it for themselves!

By now you’re all wondering if I sat down to write this week’s post and thought the topic was my desk or something, aren’t you? Well, no. I didn’t. For one thing, I’m not sitting (remember?). I’m walking at a nice 1.5 miles per hour while I type this. In fact, I’ve walked 85 minutes so far today while checking email, doing marketing, and writing this post. That’s 2 miles without leaving my house!

So back to the topic of the week. My next book. See, I pay attention sometimes. Oddly enough, despite what everyone says about your second book being your hardest, this was the easiest book I’ve ever written. I finished it last week, ahead of schedule! I attribute it to the treadmill. For one thing, when you’re walking while writing and you get stuck, your feet keep moving. For some reason, this seems to keep my brain moving too. Oh, and it might be possible that this book was easier because my dare-I-say genius agent made me do a proper synopsis. Of course, when I told him that my second book was supposed to be hard, but it wasn’t, he said, “Well, your first one’s not out yet, so you don’t have that pressure on you while you write it that everyone’s talking about. I’m sure your third one will be really hard though.” Gee, thanks, Michael!

I guess I’ll just keep walking and writing and hope for the best. Here’s a little bit about my second book, due out from Putnam someday (not sure when yet). The Right & the Real by Joelle Anthony follows a seventeen-year-old whose father throws her out of the house when she refuses to join the cult he’s gotten involved with, forcing her to survive on her own; but when Dad finds himself in danger, she comes to the rescue armed with her newly acquired street smarts.

14 Replies to “What was the topic again? by Deb Joelle”

  1. I WANT ONE!!!!

    But I fear my typing would really suffer. Did you make a lot of typos when you first started using it, and did that improve? Or is the kind of jiggle I’m imagining not a factor?

  2. Now I understand why you were getting dizzy! Love the photos of your setup. That’s funny what your agent said! But I predict that you’ll have no problem with #3 either. You’re amazing, Joelle!

  3. This is the reason why Joelle has such great legs. I would buy one of these if they were sold locally and I had room in my house. Right now my treadmill is wedged in a corner of the basement, and the ceilings are too low to use it, but our house is too small to set it up! So I’m doing my walks the old-fashioned way, but I’m determined to follow your lead someday… maybe after a basement renovation.

  4. Joelle totally inspired me to do this. I can’t write on it all the time (apparently I require my butt to be stationary from time to time) but it is quite easy to set up and if you set the speed low you don’t notice the jiggle.

    Can’t wait for the Right and the Real to hit the shelves!

  5. Nice! I’ve heard of people who sit on those big resistance balls instead of an office chair. But the treadmill desk takes it to a whole different level. I love it.

    There is definitely a connection between the body and the mind. It makes complete sense that if your feet are moving, your words come more freely. I remember doing a writer’s block exercise once where you write nonstop for ten minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write, just as long as your hand is moving and making words. The idea is that sooner or later, you’ll produce something worth keeping, because you’re doing the action of writing.

  6. For the first couple of months I walked at 1mph, but then heard Art and others were walking faster so upped it to 1.5. It works great and I like it better at this speed. It literally only took me about 10 minutes or so to get used to typing while it’s going. If I need to read anything longer than a page, I do pause it because it’s kind of hard to read…like a long blog post or something.

    The one downside that I forgot to mention is that it really hurts my back to just stand here without it on for more than about five minutes, so that means I’ve GOT to keep walking. After three hours or so, I’m kind of tired. If I need to do more work then that, I generally unhook it and take the laptop to the desk.

    Another plus is that I don’t need the heat on in my office anymore. After ten minutes, I’m plenty warm.

  7. See now once I show my husband this picture he will absolutely give me more time to write…and watch the baby since he is all about working out…it’s hard having a husband who weighs less than you and runs marathons! Now just gotta figure out how to rig that up safely with ours…hmmmmm.

  8. Walking has a way of relaxing your muscles throughout the body so this makes perfect sense that thoughts/writing would flow better. And, even when staring at a blank screen, you’re still being productive. I believe this is even better than your ability to make butter, Joelle! 😉

  9. Okay, I want this! I wonder if my husband would let me turn the treadmill around. He likes to watch TV while he exercises, but I prefer to let my writing brain wander. If we put a shelf up, he could put a mirror on it and see the TV that way… Hmm!

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