Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tips for a Smooth Writing Day

Are you ready? Really ready? Here's a checklist to help your writing day go swimmingly.

10. Disconnect your computer from the internet.
NO! Not now! Wait until you've finished reading this post! And maybe a few other blogs...and checked your email...and...

9. Know the location of the sugary snacks.
Check to make sure they're still there. Knowledge is power.

8. Have a vague idea of what you're going to write.
This is no guarantee that you will write what you expect.

7. Wander around the room flexing your fingers and muttering encouragement.
The yelp you just heard was caused by, in your daze of self-glorification, your treading upon your pet's tail. Crouch down, apologise and try to ignore the thump of pet-guilt that just wrapped its legs around your shoulders.

6. Go get a sugary snack.
Wash your hands afterwards. Chocolate fingerprints tend to make seeing the letters on your keyboard a challenge.

5. Ignore the baleful stare emanating from your pet.
Really try. It's harder than you'd think. Try not to feel the laser beams penetrating the back of your neck.

4. If you're working on a first draft do not go back an reread everything you've written before you start today's writing.
This is a no-win scenario. You like it and you've lost an hour to imagining which yummy movie stars are going to be clamouring to play your characters and starting to compose your acceptance speeches for both the Booker and the Oscar. You don't like it and the temptation to just stop writing and pursue that career as a welder may become overwhelming.

3. Is there a dragon or other cuddly monster in your manuscript?
Your main character noticing a poster with one on it as he/she is walking past a bookstore counts.

2. Add one scene where someone smells the worst smell they've ever experienced.
This situation can end in horror or humour. You decide.

1. Realize your trod-upon pet is now devouring the sugary treats.
You can't write now - you have to go to the store.


  1. Elspeth - That's exactly what my pets would do, too! Grab the sugary snack. And may I add: Make sure you have a glass of liquid refreshment ; ). Oh wait! It's got to be full, so since you just took a sip, go refill it.

  2. Substitute salty for sugary and I'm in!

  3. You forgot: bring a tissue to wipe your eyes and clean your glasses when you've read a post so funny that tears form from laughter and then you can't write OR see the tail OR find the snacks.
    I have to go find a tissue now...

  4. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I unplugged from the internet and realized I didn't finish reading your post. Great (and funny) post.


  5. I loved this list especially number 9

  6. Margot; The glass of liquid refreshment should always be full. And the right temperature. If tending this takes you away from the keyboard, then that's the price you've got to pay.

    Carol; I"m actually with you on the salt. Sugary is just a funnier word.

    Laura; What a kind and gracious thing to say. Thank you!

    Clarissa; Always read the instructions through to the end.

    Al; Thanks. How are things in Oz? Spring is on the way, I should think.

  7. ha ha. thanks! you had me laughing out loud.

  8. This was one of your better posts (= even funnier than usually).

    And as I *did* stay away from my book, my blog and the internet today (well, mostly), until I had written 2000 words, I feel so virtuous that you wouldn´t want to be near me at all. And right now (somewhere around point 3) I even added that dragon:

    "She just couldn´t face tea with his aunt Minty tonight. She might be more polite than Tuxford´s twins, but it always felt a bit like tackling a dragon."

  9. Robin; SCORE!!!

    Dorte; I'm so proud of you my dragon-shaped buttons are bursting.

  10. I think you might be much too familiar with #6. Who taught you about chocolate fingerprints on the keyboard?

    Laughter is good--thank you!

  11. I'm in! Sounds like the best way for a smooth writing day to me... ;)

  12. Mary; No one taught me. I have a good imagination!

    Elizabeth; I'm pleased to have helped. Don't forget the cuddly monster.

  13. I'm going to focus on revisions for the next three days, so I plan to limit my Internet time to one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon.

    Stop laughing, Elspeth!


  14. Now I know what my books lack- a dragon. Must rectify it immediately. How about otters and elephants, shouldn't they be there too?

  15. Ah - the letters are all worn off my keyboard, so I don't have to worry about obscuring them with my sugary snacks. But the crumbs from the crunchy snacks get in between the keys, requiring breaks for cleaning.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery


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