Dear Writer Revisited: Letter Five

Giving Up Housework

Now there is an idea I can get behind!  Although, as a sidebar, sometimes when I really need to force myself to slog through a patch of difficult writing, I will use the washing machine's cycle as a timer to make myself write in thirty minute bursts.  But vacuuming?  That's for chumps.

As a writer, you must be prepared to treat your writing as priority number one, says Virginia in this letter, which is really more of a memo.  That means that it is your full time job, and your other full time job is just 'that thing you do so that the bank doesn't kick you out of your house' (or in my case, that thing you do so that you can pay your phone bill and buy pretty things, because I'm super cool and still live with my parents.)  You must never ever ever think of yourself as a special snowflake who can write a great novel on a time schedule at the same time as raising angelic children, keeping your house immaculate and having a freshly baked tray of cookies available for unexpected guests.  You probably can't do this, unless you're Kate Morton, in which case, you certainly give out the impression that you can, but who am I to say if she's faking or not.  (Man I love Kate Morton...)  It's just safer to assume that you cannot do it all at the same time, so the book simply must be in the driver's seat.

Find yourself time to write, and find yourself a space where you will not be disturbed.  I find announcing to my family that I am writing usually works, although just not replying when they knock on the door to tell me it's dinner time works too.  Do not answer your phone if it rings.  Do not text your friends (guilty) and do not check Facebook and Twitter.  In fact, turn your phone off, unplug your internet and hide the book you're reading because you mean business.  Short attention span be damned.  As Joyce Carol Oates ironically tweeted, the shattering of your concentration span is as deadly as it is ubiquitous.

As for Fitzgerald?  Well he said that WRITING IS SACRIFICE and he would know.

Indeed, ol' sport.


  1. Oh, to have that luxury...
    I'm pretty sure Kate Morton has a whole hoard of supporters/ carers/ cleaners! Did you know she's about to add to her brood? From the outside looking in, that woman certainly leads a charmed life.
    As a mum and a teacher, other things have to come first at this time in my life. I look forward to the day when writing can be number one, but at the moment, it's definitely a side project.
    I admire your commitment. xx


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