Bad Writing Day

Here are some of the things that guarantee a bad writing day:

  • laptop making loud and disturbingly ominous noises
  • no fingernails left to bite
  • person writing nearby typing too loudly
  • person writing nearby sighing too loudly
  • too many interesting blogs to read
  • not enough interesting blogs to read
  • the availability of the internet
  • the non-availability of the internet
  • the moon not being in the seventh house
  • the moon being in the seventh house
  • the long google search to figure out what the moon being in the seventh house actually means
  • the siren call of other more interesting novels that want to be written
  • the siren call of other more interesting novels that want to be read
  • not to mention the graphic novels and manga and pile of New Yorkers
  • it being the wrong time of the month
  • it being the wrong time of the year
  • it being the wrong hemisphere
  • a recently developed allergy to typing and pencils and pens and any known means of conveying words in head onto paper
  • helper monkeys being lazy
  • non-availability of replacement helper monkeys
  • novel failing to rewrite itself

Care to add some? I know I’m not alone.

And now I begin this writing day. May the internet not tempt me, the moon be where it’s supposed to be, and the helper monkeys well behaved!


  1. Sherwood Smith on #

    I have only one, but it trumps all: “they” demand all my time for kafuffle and piddlediddle, leaving me generous snippets of thirty seconds here and there. Just enough of a carrot to keep that old mule a-runnin’.

  2. veejane on #


    Now I know the history of the song “Smoke on the Water,” although until Saturday night (10:45 pm) I could not have told you that song was by Deep Purple. Now I can.

    Was I actually looking for Deep Purple or “Smoke on the Water”? No!!

    I am told it was Philip Jose Farmer who said that the definition of a dullard is someone who looks something up an in encyclopedia, finds what he is looking for, and then closes the book; but at least dullards put the book down and get back to their writing.

  3. marrije on #

    bloody $%#@*& one-eye headache.

    and also: monkey novel? justine has to do all the work around here??? is it so much to ask that you pick up after yourself for a change and at least do some rewriting on your own? come on, hop to it and look alive!

  4. Mary on #

    Good list, all true. Lol. Here’s one of mine: I’m too busy antagonizing over the fact that I haven’t heard back from my critique partner over the last scene/chapter I sent them.

  5. Sarah M on #

    i had to laugh at this post because i didn’t do any writing yet today and my excuse is that it is monday (it is here in the USA) and i got up late, and therefore to work late, and therefore had only 30 minutes before work started (darn day job!) and therefore couldn’t possibly get much done–so why try. sigh. i hate poor excuses like work. moon positioning is much more fun.

  6. Rebecca on #

    – food. every time i sit down to write or do homework, i suddenly crave the chocolate pretzels/limeade/popcorn/rotting lettuce in my fridge and am seized upon by an irresistible urge to eat it and eat it now!! but it’s kinda hard to type when you’re rooting through foodstuffs….
    – sleep. once i’ve done everything i possibly can to put off the research paper, suddenly it’s time for bed.
    – grocery store. i think i forgot to buy extra, um, parsnips. yes, that’ll work.
    – showers. i haven’t had one in the last half hour. perhaps i should take another.
    – organizing my binder. it’s so messy, you know. my five syllabi for the year are out of order.
    – my room is a trainwreck. you know it’s bad when i actually start cleaning to avoid homework/writing.


  7. Lauren on #

    my piano, my refrigerator, the unsorted pile of papers on my desk, a stack of unread fashion mags,, and your stupid blog. The lot of you are distracting me from this novel that, no matter how much I pray for it, simply refuses to write itself, the work-shy bitch.

  8. Doselle Young on #

    Bad Writing Day (A Laundry List)

    Domestic chores…including grocery shopping…which wouldn’t be sooooo bad except we always end up going to three supermarkets because “this one has the good pita, but the other one has the hummus, etc.”; listening to friends in ‘crisis’–which usually means someone’s ex defriended them on their effin’ MySpace; reruns of The Shield on DVD; getting halfway through renewing my subscription to SuicideGirls, then lamenting that I’m really twice as old as the average girl on the sight and would rather look at vintage Bunny Yeager photos, anyway because I’m retro and attracted to older women; having written too much the last three days and just being TOTALLY burnt out; waiting to hear on crap that’s all ready out there in the world…the darned treatment…the pitch…the outline…the this, that and the other…; reading “The God Delusion” when I meant to read “God: The Failed Hypothesis”; reading “God: The Failed Hypothesis” when I meant to read “The God Delusion”; hours upon hours wishing I was clothes shopping with Justine; obsessively rereading All-Star Superman #6 until the pages fall apart; planning a faux convention of real people and, well, brushing the cat.

    That’s usually how it goes on Mondays.

    Tuesday…now Tuesdays…those are an entirely different manner.

    “I fought the war…but the war won.”



    p.s. Anyone want to help me construct my Justine-simulacrum for WisCon?

  9. kevin wignall on #

    waiting! isn’t that the biggest headache for any creative artist? the waiting? i’ve got three different books with publishers, not to mention the two film options (which are like will-o-the-wisps), the short story, the foreign rights people, and waiting for the proof copy of the forthcoming book.

    actually, reading that back it looks a tad ungrateful and that’s not what i mean. it’s just hard to write when there’s so much stuff up in the air.

    oh, and I’m bone idle.

  10. calliope on #

    i really try to write, but then i wonder…. has anyone come on chat? has anyone emailed me? has justine or maureen johnson posted something? i want to listen to music. i think i’ll check out itunes store. OMG avril levine is back on top ten! must email all friends/people i vaguely know! ewww, so’s some stupid rap dude. what happened to music? what happened to the world? . . .

  11. Sir Tessa on #



  12. Dawn on #

    My day yesterday was more of a “bad studying day”. I used my brain to write a short story and watch home videos instead of studying. I think those little monkies have a hidden agenda. They are too lazy to help you write unless you’re using it to prevent studying.

  13. Cat on #

    is it my fault that staring at that stain on the carpet is so much more interesting then doing research? I think not!

  14. Colleen on #

    I trump all of you:

    Homeowners Association that has done little or nothing for two and a half years (when contruction began) and has now decided that there should be no vehicles parked on the street. Guess who has parked their truck on the street since she moved in? And guess who lived in first house that was built in this neighborhood? Guess who never thought this would be an issue and was assured by developer that it would never be an issue? Guess who had to ask neighbors today where they fell on the parking issue and is trying to figure out what will happen at neighborhood meeting tomorrow night?

    Here’s the real winner: guess who has no flipping idea where truck will go if we can’t park in the street? (Our garage is too small for both trucks and mine is just a little Nissan!)

    Guess whose husband is ready to pave front yard and just park truck there so everyone can look at it?

    Lovely day around here. I don’t know how I found the brainpower to write this. (And the fact that the most important thing on the minds of some of my neighbors is stupid street parking is enough to drive me crazy for days….)

  15. Chang, in space! on #

    Well, I’m surprised no one else mentioned this, but…

    Masturbation. There’s too much time to do it, not enough time not to do it.

    Along those lines, you simply have to look up that ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, one night stand, one week stand and or lost cause / lost love. Julia Newman, I’m talking to you!

    TV, but yes, CABLE TV!!! I mean, SPIES LIKE US is on 50 times a day. You have to watch it no matter what!

    The cat always needs attention. Sometimes it needs discipline. All day long. Even while you masturbate (please do not attempt to masturbate cat; you will be sorry you ever thought of not writing).

  16. Justine on #

    Y’all are totally cracking me up. You’re all worse than I am! Except Sherwood who totally shames me.

    Kevin Wignall: oh, and I’m bone idle.

    I wish that wasn’t my real problem.

    Sir Tessa: FLARGHLE.

    No rude words on my blog, thank you very much!

  17. katerate on #

    Eff TV, it’s all about Youtube. Once you start one, you keep going onto more until you’ve finally watched all of Youtube.

  18. katerate on #

    Start watching one video, that is.

  19. Rebecca on #

    i feel i left out one very very important addition to this list…. *drumroll*

    Facebook. Oh yes. Worse than MySpace as a time waster. 😀

  20. shelly rae on #

    the list of reasons I cannot write at the moment are endless so I will merely name the elementals.
    *It’s sunny out–why waste a day inside?
    *It’s not sunny out–too gloomy to write.
    *It’s too cold to write and my fingers are blue.
    *It’s too hot to write I’m dripping sweat on the keyboard.
    *The moon is full must go look at it then google moon phases.
    *The moon is not full. Must google moon to find out if it is waxing or waning.
    *A bird landed on the bird feeder must look up species.
    *No birds on feeder. Decide feeder is empty. Then decide it is too dirty for even bug eating birds to eat from. Wash bird feeder, then fill it. Wait for birds. (see previous excuse).
    *It’s snowing. Google real estate ads in warmer climates.
    *It’s not snowing which means it’s raining. Google real estate ads in sunnier climates.
    *Read blogs of people who are getting some writing done. Smack head against keyboard.
    *Drive to AppleStore to replace keyboard.
    *Rise, lather, repeat.

  21. jellyfish on #

    I would add:

    * too much food in stomach

    * not enough food in stomach

    * the wind blowing in the wrong direction

    * clicking of the dog’s toenails against polished floorboards

    * 11am repeats of ‘Scrubs’

    * 2pm repeats of ‘Blue Heelers’

    * 3pm repeats of ‘M.A.S.H’

    * breathing.

    And all I write is schoolwork and blog posts. I feel for you real scribes.

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