Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 Steps to Writing this just me?

1. Look for your favourite pen.

2. Discover the pen has inexplicably run dry. Go to the store to find new favourite pen.

3. Reward yourself for finding the new pen by buying yourself coffee.

4. Sit down at your desk and rearrange all the paper that has inexplicably covered it.

5. Read what is written on each piece of paper. Decide it's all worth keeping and you'll file it away. Tomorrow.

6. Reward yourself for coming to a decision about the paper by making a tasty sandwich.

7. Clear your head after all this work by taking a brisk walk around the block.

8. Sit down at your desk and stare at the keyboard. Torture yourself with the fact that all the keys are there to write a runaway bestseller, if you just type them in the correct order.

9. Get up from your desk and pace the room. Notice you're making a pathway in the carpet. Resolve to get hardwood floors. Next week.

10. Sit down. Write one sentence. Delete it. Write another sentence. Delete it. Get fed up and write whatever comes into your head. This sparkles. Don't ask why.

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Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through host-party.comShe has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine Elias. Her blog, It's A Mystery, explores the writing process with a touch of humor. She is on Twitter as @elspethwrites.


  1. Yeah, that sounds about right. :)
    Add in there visiting one blog after another to kill time and you've got my day planned out.


  2. Add in Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and you have my life.

  3. No, it's not just you! Even with a calendar and a to-do list, even with a plan in my head the minute I get up, add problems cropping up with my HOA, to a guest blogger crapping out last minute, or the blogger who was supposed to host me disappearing last minute and not answering my emails, to new Google docs popping up, to a hundred emails...yeah, it's like that. Brianna, yup, add those pesky social networking tools, too!

  4. Count me in, too....although when your writing finally "sparkles" in the end....mine kind of fizzles!

  5. Elspeth--brilliant evocation of human foibles and the miraculous nature of the creative process! (Up until item #9, it also sounded a lot like some of our home renovation projects.)

    I am here as witness that #10 happens. I went to bed last night with a lot of conflicting questions about my novel revision, and woke up with the key to the whole darn novel! Going to ground now (that means offline!) to apply the ideas and make them sparkle. Have a nice day, everybody!

  6. Loved the post and all the comments. There is so much that pulls us away from writing, and the worst part of that is all this interaction is so much more fun than the hard work of writing. Think that's why we find all these ways to avoid it?

  7. After I've spent several hours in the futile attempt to market the books I've already written (emphasis on the word 'futile'), I'm lucky to have enough energy to write that one sentence.

  8. The items on the list may vary, but the process is the same — right down to the sparkle. You nailed it, Elspeth. Great post!

  9. So true! I'd like to add in random conversations with my cat. Hope that doesn't make me sound crazy there (I have a very vocal cat).

    Glad to connect with fellow writers! Starting a small writers community on my blog

    Let's connect!


  10. I'll add to your list:
    Check email countless times.
    Go to Facebook and Twitter constantly.
    Walk the dog a few times.
    Work on the website.
    Time for lunch.

    Morgan Mandel

  11. Michelle; Don't think of it as killing time, think of it as networking.

    Brianna; Pinterest? What is that?

    Karen; It sounds as if you've had a tough few days!

    Becky; I'm sure you have your sparkly moments too.

    Kathryn; We're about to start renovating our bathroom. 'Tis the things of which nightmares are made. Thanks for your kind words and best of luck with your project!

    Maryann; It CAN be tough to disengage and shut the door, can't it?

    Christopher; You ARE able to write the phrase 'the books I've already written'. SCORE.

    Linda; Thank you!

    Anna; My cats refuse to talk. They just stare in quiet, baleful judgment.

  12. Morgan; Those are (of course) necessary additions.

  13. Add stopping to play "Words With Friends" a few times in between and you have captured my day! :-O


  14. Sushiboofay; I really have to start playing that game.

  15. Sounds like me, just add in: read everything you've already written on the manuscript, check email, twitter and Facebook, then go back and re-read your manuscript.

  16. Yup! Been there, done that. Great blog.

  17. Hey, I just found a great YouTube video with Dusty Springfield interviewing some very young Beatles. Very cool - I can use that in some pithy piece of writing... someday maybe... now must edit all these pointless elipses...

  18. So funny! But occasionally this is exactly how writing goes. Shame on us. haha. Well, I've found if I put in my ear buds, pump up the bass of my iPod, and start typing, I get into the writing mood. If I don't do this, I'm gonna fail for sure.

    Great and very comical post. <3

  19. LOL. That's me! I can find all kinds of things to do instead of writing!!

  20. Yes ... and there is a video on you tube (you can google it as adult attention deficit) and it is a hilarious dramatization of the many procrastinations one can encounter in a day ... we ought to ask someone to make one for writers!

    Enjoyed your post!

  21. Phase 1b. One more Wonderful way to check if the truss rod on your guitar demands adjustment is to maintain your left hand index finger on the 1st fret of the low E string and your ideal hand pinky on the highest fret of the neck. Then tap on the 12th fret with the index finger of your right hand. Bryn Haworth The Long And Winding Road


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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