Wednesday, June 13, 2012

12 Lessons I've Learned (So Far)

12. Without even trying, I can write really, really poorly.

11. Liquids and computer keyboards do not mix.

10. For every five minutes I spend tapping away on the keyboard, I'll have spent an equal amount of time staring at the screen.

9. Fear often disguises itself as writer's block.

8. If they had a third hand, many writers would use it to hold chocolate.

7. Resist the siren call emanating from the delete key. 'Cut and paste' will prove to be a far better friend.

6. Mistakes are easier to catch if I read my work out loud. Judgmental facial expressions add to the merriment.

5. I may not be as good as I'd like to be, but I'm not as bad as I could be either.

4. Don't look to the cat for approval. It will not be forthcoming.

3. I can type wearing the ugly clothes. However, it is prudent to remember to change before going out into the world.

2. As a deadline nears, my need to do housework increases.

1. It's much easier to write about writing than it is to actually write.

Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her latest mystery game,  "A Fatal Fairy Tale" was published in February. Her next game "Curiouser and Curiouser" will be published this month. All her 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

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  1. I'm in awe of your ability to only spend five minutes per five staring at the screen as opposed to typing. I can spend days on the staring part.

    And I would rather type one-handed than give up my chocolate hand.

  2. To this I would like to add that sitting and thinking is actually a writer at work even if it looks like they're doing 'nothing' to everyone else :)

  3. Number 10: A one-to-one ratio? That's pretty good ... mine is more like a one-to-twenty.

  4. Have you been spying on me? I relate strongly to each and every lesson.

  5. Oh Elspeth, another enchanting list! As for #11, it seems that these two lovers cannot be held apart. We know this rule—no drinks near the keyboard—yet this is how our mishap occurred:

    Husband checking e-mail on laptop. On lap.
    I say "you're sitting on the afghan and I'm cold."
    Husband lifts butt cheek.
    I take afghan.
    Laptop makes descent on newly created quadriceps incline.
    Slides three feet from lap across coffee table to interact with beer.
    Beer somersaults into air with a grace that neither Jackie Chan nor a time machine could reproduce.
    Beer parts with glass and splashes all over keyboard.

    If this mishap should befall you, yes, blot the surface, turn your laptop upside down to dry, and hope for the best. Yes, use a hairdryer several times per day to encourage air circulation—but don't use the heat function. It warps the keys and they all fall off. :(

  6. I love this one "Fear often disguises itself as writer's block." I have finally learned that writer's block is actually an indication that I'm on to something good - something that on some level I don't want to write. Pushing through those moments tends to lead to really meaty, if scary, stuff.
    One Writer's Mind

  7. Okay, that whole list works for me except I not have a cat. May I substitute: the dog's need to go out is directly proportionate to how well your words are flowing.

  8. No drinks at the keyboard? Wut? How can I write without a G & T? ;)

  9. I need my third hand to use for a cat pillow when she's in my lap.

    She doesn't like it when I type over her, so she grabs my left hand and holds it down with her paws and head...then goes to sleep.

  10. Elle; I've become quite nimble at typing with one hand.

    Xan; That's true - but sometimes I really AM doing nothing.

    Linda; LOL!

    Christopher; Sometimes,you just have to gird your loins and start typing.

    Patbean; I'm glad you liked it!

    Kathryn; Thanks so much for sharing this story. I know I shouldn't have laughed...but I did.

    J.A. ; I agree. Good luck!

    LD; That makes sense.

    Dani; LOL! May I suggest a looooong straw? How do I know this? I'll never tell.

    Pat; That's adorable! Annoying (I'm sure) but adorable.

  11. What fun. My cat has little to say about my work, too. LOL

  12. This is great! LOL. I can identify. I used to have a cat who would cuddle up on my shoulder and I had to type one-handed. The cat I have now sits right on top of whatever paper I happen to be working from.

    And yes, a third hand for chocolate would come in mighty handy!!

  13. Maryann; Cat or no, you're almost finished your book! Heartiest of congratulations.

    Heidi; I suspect that cat was a pirate's parrot in a previous kitty life!


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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