25 Ways To Avoid Writer’s Butt*


Credit: Go Daddy Stock Photo

A handy list for your writing day:

  1. Don’t write.
  2. If you choose to write, don’t eat while you’re writing.
  3. Chain yourself to your desk to keep from going to the kitchen.
  4. If your desk is in the kitchen, you need to move your desk.
  5. Don’t write about food unless you’ve just eaten. It will make you hungry.
  6. A candy treat is a fine reward for a potty-training toddler, not grown-up writers who’ve squeaked out 100 words in three hours.
  7. A single glass (not bottle!) of wine, spirits or beer is a fine reward for finishing your work for the day.
  8. Take your dog or cat for a walk. Bonus points if you’re not staring at your phone.
  9. Exercise before you write. Let writing be your reward. (Hey! Stop laughing!)
  10. When you get stuck while writing and find yourself headed for the kitchen, scream DON’T DO IT at the top of your lungs and do 10 push-ups. Knee push-ups count.
  11. If you’re on the phone kvetching with another writer about the sad state of publishing, your life, your advance, or your Writer’s Butt, wear a headset and walk around and around your office, living room, front yard. Bonus points for each 1K steps you take.
  12. Keep your fridge and cabinets stocked with food you hate, or food that takes preparation.
  13. Get a standing desk and a good mat on which to stand.
  14. Nap, at your desk, or napping place of your choice.
  15. Take your dog or cat for another walk.
  16. When you temporarily forget how to write, listen to an audiobook by a writer who inspires you as you walk, jog, etc.
  17. Don’t write when you’re exhausted. Exhausted writers are hungry writers.
  18. When you’re not writing, make your diet as carb-loaded and awful as possible. Then you’ll have acid-reflux the whole time and won’t be tempted to eat.
  19. Take a dance break.
  20. Write stomach-churning prose.
  21. Wear pants that are already uncomfortably tight instead of yoga pants.
  22. Use the Pomodoro method. This one is online, but you can get yourself an actual timer for your desk.
  23. Write at the library and leave your money in the car so you can’t use the vending machines. Bonus points for parking far away.
  24. When you’re reading, walk around the house. You know you did it as a kid. Watch out for the dog.
  25. During your writing time, turn off the Internet, have a tall glass of water on hand, and write like a demon. You’ll feel so good and accomplished when you look at those pages that you’ll either not care if you have Writer’s Butt (always an option!), or you’ll feel so virtuous that you’ll make yourself a healthy dinner, have a glass of wine (or not), take the dog for a walk, get a good night’s sleep, and do it again tomorrow.

*Disclaimer: I have used all 25 methods at various times, and my Writer’s Butt comes and goes. As to number 3, I have gotten so tangled up in the huge number of power cords around my desk that I may as well have been chained because it was a real pain to try to get away from my chair and go to the kitchen.

Okay TKZ-ers! Please share your Avoiding-Writer’s-Butt strategies. We’re listening…

16 thoughts on “25 Ways To Avoid Writer’s Butt*

  1. #26 – Read Laura’s post while drinking coffee, which causes you to crawl under the desk, trace down the tangled wires she described in #3, unplug the laptop, and take it in for repair b/c you shorted it out with nostril-sprayed coffee. This exercise is worth at least 1K bonus steps, depending on how far away from the shop you park.

    Thanks for a great laugh, Laura!

  2. Don’t write about food unless you’ve just eaten. It will make you hungry.

    Hm. I like writing at Langer’s Deli in L.A. But it’s not nearby, so I have a background picture of Langer’s that I use in Scrivener’s compose view, so my entire screen is the restaurant interior. Then I put on Coffitivity for the background noise. Then I write.

    And within half an hour I want their world-famous hot pastrami sandwich, The #19.

    I guess I haven’t solved your problem.

  3. I’m not a snacker, but I still enjoyed your list, Laura. So creative and fun! I take breaks to go feed the wildlife, which involves a trek down two hilly lawns and back up again. A sit-stand desk would be ideal. Need to add it to the Christmas list. Santa brings those, right? For now, I stroll around the house in between scenes. The problem is, non-writers can mistake the short break as a conversation starter. Sigh.

  4. Great (and humorous) list, though I’m an older guy so my butt is going to bone as we speak. Still, I particularly enjoy number 9, but without the parenthetical information. Whatever else I’m doing, getting to play with my fictional friends is always the reward.

    • You have an awesome attitude, Harvey! I get conflicted about this. I really do prefer to exercise first but I end up getting distracted and lose focus.

  5. Laura, This is great. The only exercise I get (unless I go for a walk in the 80+ temps we still have in Florida), is to go to the kitchen for coffee or tea, depending on the time of day. The hazard of such a trip is the dish of candy corn, that vile concoction of sugar which I try to avoid in other forms, yet it mysteriously appears at my house this time of year and somehow jumps into my hand as I pass, then slides down my throat, adding to the writer’s butt which is already exceeding its limit.

    • Every time I walk by those damn creme pumpkins and fall mix bags at Kroger, I hear siren voices. The sugar! The completely fake, yet delicious flavoring! There’s some kind of witchcraft in those treats. No one can fault you for succumbing, Marilyn. Bonus points for not buying another bag! : )

  6. What a great list, Laura. And such a disappointment to learn that candy is not an author-approved treat. Oh well, my doctor has also made that clear.

    I’m already doing #11, #21, and #24. There’s a certain path through my house where I can walk around and around while reading and never have to take my eyes off the page. Now if I could just get myself out of the comfy chair and do that more often.

    There’s a dance video lying on the printer cart gathering dust. Note to self: Implement #19 immediately. And while I’m at it, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure I’m checking off #9. (Must I?)

    By the time those become habits I should be well on my way to working in the #25 zone every day.

    Thanks for the encouragement. (?)

    • Obviously, the dance video’s presence on the printer cart is no accident! Sorry about the candy thing. ( I find the occasional Cinnamon Altoid very pleasing.) Give #9 s shot? You might be surprised!

      I hoped to be encouraging!

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