Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 Signs of a Typical Writing Day

I wrote this post on my blog back in February and it seemed to strike a familiar note with many people. Enjoy!

10. The mug of coffee by your side seems to have cooled incredibly fast. You know you couldn't have spent that much time reading emails and checking in on Facebook.

9. That idea that kept you up last night (and you were so sure you'd remember that you didn't take notes) has vanished without a trace.

8. At the same moment that your fingers touch the keyboard, your previously peacefully snoozing pets leap up and begin a vigorous reenactment of the D Day landings at Normandy.

7. The dialogue which sounded so bright, witty and (let's just say it) literary in your head has revealed itself to be trite, cliche-filled and (let's just say it) stupid on paper.

6. You've spent the last 15 minutes imagining how you'll feel when you finish this manuscript. You're presently on page 10.

5. You love your plot. You love your characters. It's your actual writing of which you're not so enamoured.

4. Your coffee has cooled again. You know you couldn't have spent that much time reading and commenting on your favourite blogs.

3. You decide to get up and get active. Whilst moving around you can't help but notice your feet are sticking to the floor and you wonder idly how long it's been since you washed it. You immediately decide this line of thought could be dangerous to your writing, but grudgingly admit this sticky a floor might be dangerous to your health.

2. Moving to a bookshelf, you pick out one of your favourite novels for inspiration. After only a few sentences you know in your heart that you will never write as well as this author. Practice self-restraint and reach for the cold coffee instead of the wine.

1. You sit back down and face your blank screen. Summoning the inner strength of St. Joan of Arc, you pound out a sentence. It isn't completely awful. Resist the urge to belt out "Tomorrow" from "Annie". Your pets will judge you. Harshly.

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Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through She 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. Followed to here from twitter. Your list is spot-on. Especially the part about the idea that kept us awake all night but has vanished in the morning.

  2. Well, the thing I related to most was the coffee cooling so fast ... what's up with that?

  3. I hate those vanishing ideas and cold cups of coffee. Fun post.

  4. #6. That hits way too close to home.
    I'm a legand in my own mind.

    Once I sell my second book, I'm going to hire a cleaning lady. Um, I still need to sell the first book. But after that second book, my house will be spotless!

  5. Lol, #9 is me all the way! I even keep a tiny notebook on my night table but sometimes I'm just too tired to reach for it. Oye, I've kicked myself many times for not writing down middle-of-the-night ideas!

  6. Alison; Thanks for following the link! Isn't it annoying when those ideas evaporate in the morning?

    Christopher; If you figure it out, let me know.

    Maryann; I've got myself accepting cold coffee is better than *no* coffee.

    December; At least you have a plan.

    Laura; I never learn. However, I'm sure if I was organized enough to have the notebook, I wouldn't be organized enough to have a pen.

  7. Too True!

    Morgan Mandel

  8. except for the part about the cold coffee, this is me. great list.

  9. My dog doesn't so much reenact the invasion at Normandy. He's more of a WWI kind of dog. I get gas attacks that make my eyelids and sinuses blister.

  10. Michelle; I'm glad you liked my list!

    Scooter; That made me laugh! Please give a pat for me to your WWI-type dog.

  11. Well, it's a mug of tea instead of coffee and usually the phone ringing instead of the pet invasion (my old girl sleeps most of the day) but the rest of it sounds VERY familiar.

  12. Linda; I've noticed my tea seems to cool at an extremely fast rate too. As for the phone...I screen.

  13. yeah, that sounds about right :D

  14. Thanks everyone - this has been fun!

  15. Blogger has eaten all the comments save Alison's! Boo Blogger but I'm awed by Alison's obvious powers.

  16. Yes that list hits home with a lot of us as I can see by all the comments.
    Personally I do hate when I forget those great plots, characters, or lines because I am so sure I will remember them in the morning!

    As for the cold cups of coffee, don't know what it says about me, but I started making iced coffee.


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