Happy Birthday, You Huge Freaking Pain in the Ass
The 2005 Amalah Hot List

How to Write a Book

(First: Wednesday Advice Smackdown? What? It's Thursday. Why are you asking about Wednesday?)

(Second: Holiday hiatus, apparently.)

(Third: How to write a book in one week.)

1) Decide to write book.

2) Make some notes in a notebook. Lose notebook.

3) Take week off work.

4) Vow book will be written within this week, or at least substantial portions of it.

5) Find notebook. Drink wine.


6) Is birthday! Cannot write book on birthday. Drag husband shopping and to Phantom of the Opera, because you are brat.

7) Discuss book over dinner and act really, really serious about it.


8) Sleep in.

9) Start writing.

10) Decide that this is easy. Also decide that it is really, really cold.

11) Have husband call heating guys, because you are busy. With the writing. For real.

12) Realize house is messy. Decide to vacuum and organize closet before heating guys arrive.

13) After heating guys arrive, try to type one-handed while holding a really annoying howling dog who really wants to annoy heating guys.

14) Think of really amazing piece of dialogue while in the shower.

15) Completely forget amazing piece of dialogue 10 minutes later.

16) Realize that after book is done, you will have a lot of apologies to make to your friends and family.

17) Consider posting pre-emptive apology on Web site now; write birthday wrap-up post instead.

18) Decide to take a break at page 10.


19) Start working on page 11.

20) Heating guys come back. Dog yaps. More of the same.

21) Realize you need to write an advice column and provide photos of expensive gifts to satiate online readers.

22) Realize that the week is more than half over and you have only written 11 pages.

23) Change font. 14 pages!

24) Watch Lost in Translation for inspiration of subtle character development and condition of human soul.

25) Realize entire book, idea and brain suck. Eat leftover pumpkin pie.

26) Go out for happy hour with friend. Discuss book, issue pre-emptive apology for composite-like character.

27) Drink wine.


28) Get out of bed when heating guys arrive at 9 a.m. once again.

29) Attempt to communicate with heating guys while unshowered, uncoffeed and wrangling the most annoying yapping dog in the entire world.

30) Re-read existing 14 pages. Huh. They don't suck as bad as they did yesterday.

31) Write this list so others can know your secret to writing 14 entire mediocre pages in one week.

32) Write the damn book already.



So, how's that whole book thing coming anyway? ;-)

sarcastic journalist

I understand. But usually I go to a coffee shop so add in "drink insane amounts of coffee" and "stare at people you don't know."


You definitely need to take up smoking. And drinking bourbon, I think. Maybe scotch. It will help! I'm sure of it!


I like sj's idea about people-watching, that usually motivates me to write, watching the batshit crazy and all, not that I should talk. Maybe if you combined booze and coffee in the form of an irish coffee, that might also get the juices flowing. Good luck, but it sounds like you already have made a great start.


Author! Author!

I decided to write a novel once. I started with an introduction/prelogue thing? which took me a week. AND it ended up not having anything to do with the story I wanted to write. So I called it an essay, saved it on a disk, and quit.

So when I read about 14 Not Bad pages, I am wholly impressed - you are on to something!

Good Luck - but don't forget us!

(Ha ha - dog wrangling. . .)

type a

my annoying, howling dog is more annoying than your annoying, howling dog.

at least you have an idea. i just have these disjointed characters and conversations in my head. bah.

Dr. Johnny Fever

As an aside, why did the heating goons need to come back three times? Do they have fused knuckles or some kind of HVAC OCD thing that prevents them from doing the job on the first try?


You can do it. I know you can.


But, wait---you're saying this is a bad thing? Because to me it sounds like your writing process is going just as it should. It is, after all, 80% procrastination and 20% actual writing (to get myself freed from writer's block I once wrote a story about having writer's block; it did the trick). So I'd say you should be happy that it's going so nicely. :)

P.S. I've been reading your blog for a week or two now; like it!


Wow, I've written that exact same book!


Yeah, writing a novel seemed like such a great idea, until I actually sat down and tried to write it. I took a novel writing class, just for the sake of deadlines. I got about 27 pages in ten weeks, so congrats on your 14 in less than a week!


It's all about the procrastination.
I've cranked out 700 pages in two years, but I'm still only in the editing phase.
Girl, only hacks crank out books. REAL writers write about what they, or make something completely else up and call it good after five years. Don't rush the creative process, and drink lots of wine. My creative beverage of choice is strawberry-rhubarb wine, and those bottles have given me tons OF IDEAS.

Fraulein N

That sounds just like my writing process, especially numbers 15 and 25.


first of all - YAY! - your blog finally "remembered me" after many attempts to make it like me.

second of all - YOU are doing wonderfully! the fact that you are even doing it at all is so inspiring. and also? you are just gaining more experiences for the book by letting yourself interact with other humans and wrestle-y dogs in the process.


As a published author, I know what you are going through. Writing under a deadline takes some of the joy out of the process. I finished two books, but was writing on my own time. I think you're putting a great deal of pressure on yourself. Don't be critical, just put it on the page,and clean it up in the edit.

Real Girl

Erm...if it makes you feel any better, most of the writers I worked with when I was an editor throw away their first 15 pages anyway!

Jump yourself into the plot right away, and things will flow faster.

And how depressing is this? I'm aiming for a full, edited, revised draft by May for publication one full year later! Sigh.


Happy New Year honey. I've never tried to write a book but I've had a bitch of a time writing letters..

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