Fifty Ways to [Not] Write Your Novel – originally posted on
“The problem is all inside your head,” she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically.
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free –
There must be fifty ways to not write your novel…” — based on Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover via

1. Look up the proper lyrics to the earworm inside your head.
2. Alternatively, fit your own words to the earworm’s tune to fit a specific reason.
3. Check out tv shows you want to record on your dvr because you’re too busy writing to watch them while they’re on.
4. Delete shows you recorded but watched already while you were taking a break from writing.
5. Log in to Facebook – ‘nuff said.
6. Call your cousin you haven’t talked to in 25 years but just friended on Facebook.
7. Try to figure out Google +.
8. Tweet that you are #amprocrastinating and keep up with the conversation.
9. Try to decipher acronyms like FMTYEWTK, YOLO, NE1, UG2BK, DUST, DGTG, COS, NMP, Def
10. Log in to Pinterest.
11. Follow links to recipe for How to Make Homemade Doggie Deodorant.
12. Check pantry for ingredients. Remember you don’t have a dog; you have a cat.
13. Attempt to engage said cat in play. Or at least, to move off your keyboard.
14. Hunt down canned air. And the phone number to the Geek Squad, just in case.
15. Log in to email.
16. Delete without reading 9 out of 10 emails.
17. Read the remaining one, follow link, contract computer virus.
18. Wonder why the he** your computer won’t stop spouting audio commercials in the background.
19. Google “Why the he** won’t my computer stop spouting audio commercials in the background?”
20. Follow one of five hundred links to computer geek forum.
21. Read ten pages of instructions for removing virus.
22. Break into flop sweat and consider making the Homemade Doggie Deodorant for yourself.
23. Mess around with your security apps and different buttons on your keyboard that have pictures on them.
24. Reinstall what you just uninstalled.
25. Get college kid on phone to walk you through “Restore”.
26. Celebrate restoring/fixing computer: chocolate and a cocktail.
27. Remember the Great Chocolate Purge of Wednesday.
28. Remember the 5 o’clock rule and take a tiny swig of booze.
29. Swig some more – according to that little clock you just discovered on your computer, it’s actually 5 o’clock in Chihuahua, LaPaz, and Mazatlán.
30. Wander around the house, into college kid’s room. Read his favorite childhood book.
31. Tidy up and discover college kid left behind all the notebooks/pens/checkbook/B&N giftcards/self addressed stamped stationery/white socks
32. Find Easter chocolate from 2012 hidden in back of socks drawer
33. Scarf it down, then briefly consider purging. Chicken out.
34. Collect all the garbage around the house as fast as you can (10 calories burned) then haul heavy garbage can out to curb (25 calories burned).
35. Haul it back – pickup is day after tomorrow (25 more calories burned – thank God).
36. Remember Katie’s show is about chronic procrastinators who can’t get anything done and decide to watch it for “characterization research”.
37. Multitask: Cook brown rice the old fashioned way on the stove while watching Katie.
38. Realize nothing’s thawed for dinner and dig out UFF (Unidentifiable Frozen Food)
39. Microwave it so it thaws; discover it’s fish that’s about the same age as the Easter egg from college kid’s socks drawer
40. Fish + Rice = boring healthy dinner. Google Cheese Sauce recipes.
41. Burn the sauce because you watched Dr. Phil and forgot to stir because you were too busy picking your own jaw up off the floor and wondering what the he** people were thinking.
42. Return to computer for writing after inspiration hits between the eyes.
43. Pour out 1,000 words.
44. Edit until they resemble nothing like the story you set out to write originally.
45. Think about outlining the plot.
46. Think some more.
47. Remember the blog you need to write.
48. Read past blogs and wonder what to write about: conferences, volunteering, characterization, Mardi Gras, fixing the computer virus, acronyms.
49. Write about how you came to procrastinate away a perfectly good day of writing.
50. Upload to blog and return to WIP.


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