For most of my twenties, I had horrible pain in my hands and forearms. Sometimes it was a steady ache, sometimes a shooting pain, and sometimes it just felt like I was on fire from the elbows down. I’ve had all the tests and lived on Celebrex for a while. (Whoever invented the test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome deserves a special episode of Alias just for them.) It really was never diagnosed as anything specific, and I eventually quit seeking traditional medical care for it.

Once I started working out regularly and eating better, it mostly went away.

Until the last ten days or so.

Lately, my thumb and index finger on my right hand are unhappy again. I’m pretty sure it’s from overuse.

My renewed focus on writing has meant lots more time at the keyboard. But it’s clear that’s not sustainable.

What to do?

In the past, I would only see two roads: keep going and ignore the pain (which only works temporarily) or stop altogether.

Today, I think I see another way. I can acknowledge my weakness and its limitations. Come up with a plan to address them. Test it, and repeat until I find a solution.

So, first thing. I’m going to take a few days off to see if the inflammation will settle down. (This means I also have to stay off my mobile devices too, which could be tough.)

Then, I’m going to try using verbal dictation more.

I’ve always resisted that approach as I’m a very visual person. I’ve always said that I needed to see the words on the page. I’m thinking that self-imposed limitation may rank right up there with the one that said I could only write in the morning. The month of November proved that one was silly.

If you have any tips for using dictation more effectively in your work, I’d love to hear about it.

I’m also very interested in the scripts we tell ourselves. If you have one that helps you address challenges in a healthy way, I’d love to know about that too. It would be fantastic if you would share it in the comments below.