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…


The Joy of Disconnection

IMG_0809Having spent a wonderful time in the mountains of Glacier National Park and then plunging straight into back to school has given me little chance to go online or interact via social media. In fact while we were in Glacier there was, for over a week, literally no service. No cell phone. No internet. Nada. And you know what – after the initial frustrations (for instance no blog post two weeks ago from me!) – it felt amazing.

My boys didn’t ask for iPad time (in fact we had deliberately told them no electronics), my husband wasn’t checking his work email slavishly, and I wasn’t feeling compelled to engage in any kind of social media activity. It was liberating! There was just us, nature and a few good books. What else could you ask for in a holiday?

I used the opportunity to think about my latest WIP and jot down notes (longhand) in the small notebook I brought. I introduced my 10 year old twins to the joys of Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express). We hiked, chatted, played UNO and made S’mores…And none of us really missed being electronically ‘connected’ to the world. Yet, it was surprising how quickly upon our return we soon fell back into our old ways. Emails. Texts. Facebook notifications. News alerts and more. Suddenly we were surrounded by the ‘noise’ of our usual highly connected lives.

For me, at least, it was disquieting how quickly that noise became background once more, and I lost that sense of focus and stillness that I’d felt while being ‘off the grid’. So the challenge for me now, after the ‘back to school’ dust has settled, is to try and reclaim this inner rather than outer focus – but I’m not really sure how.  I guess I could artificially induce disconnectedness by switching off the wifi or I could just rely on willpower not to check anything online while I’m working on my computer (a difficult proposition as anyone facing the blank page will know – oh how, easy it is just to procrastinate with a quick check of ‘news’ on the internet!)…but it feels like it’s hard to escape the constant barrage of ‘pings’ and ‘rings’ as every device I own signals for my attention.

Do you find, like me, that being disconnected from the electronic world can be a liberating experience or is it too hard to pull away? How (if at all) do you  try and ‘switch off’ the noise? Do you deliberately takes steps to try and disconnect? Or can you (unlike me) keep your focus despite the ‘noise’ around you?