Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speed Writer...not so much

Yesterday a friend tweeted that she'd finished a novella she'd been working on. At first, I was all YAY! Go You! Then, I realized she'd only been working on it for, maybe, two weeks.


I asked how she did it so I could emulate and be a speed writer, too.

Tip #1: Ignore everyone until they get it and go away.

That sounded easy enough. I set off right away to give it a whirl, rubbing my hands together with glee because my speed writer future looked gloriously bright.

I made sure my kids had everything they needed and put on my "Mommy's working and ignoring you" face. Here's what happened:

1. My son located a bottle of lotion in a bathroom drawer. He promptly squeezed out half the contents and rubbed it in his hair.

The lotion was just too much to simply wipe off so I had no choice but to proclaim ten in the morning bath time. Got that handled and resettled the kids.

2. Back to writing. Darling daughter calls me from the hallway, a hint of delight in her voice telling me her brother is being naughty and she can't wait to see him get in trouble. Darling son had, apparently, snatched the coffee container from kitchen counter and dumped all the grounds onto the carpet outside his bedroom. I found him tossing fistfuls gleefully into the air.

No choice but to pause writing again and vacuum. Also had to wipe son down to make sure no coffee grounds remained on him, scared that they'd somehow soak into his skin and he'd be awake for 4 1/2 days.

3. Back to writing. Son (yes, him again) breaks the rule of not opening sliding glass door. Sliding glass door does not shut/latch properly without extreme effort and it's Arctic-cold outside. Both kids are joyous--they're using their fingers to dig in the snow on the deck and slide mini icebergs into the house.

I have to put on my freak-out face because we'd gone over this sliding glass door nonsense not even 24 hours prior. After both kids have been sufficiently lectured and punished, I spend a frustrating amount of time attempting to latch the door while sliding on the wet floor. I almost killed myself at one point so I decided drying the floor first would be best.

4. Floor dry, sliding glass door latched, I sit back down. The next hour was full of the worst kind of mental torture a writer can endure. "Mommy, Bo hit me." "Mommy, I'm thirsty." "Mommy, I'm bored." "Mommy...!"

By this point my lips are unexplainably numb, I'm drooling, and I've developed a nervous twitch in my left eye. I give up on writing and announce to my children that Mommy is going to vacuum.

The vacuum cleaner is like performing an exorcism. I plug it in, flip the switch, and the precious little heathens sit on the couch in blissful silence as I electronically suck the sanity back into the house.

It took three hours to lose sight of my speed writing dream. Maybe I'll try again in a couple years. Until then, call me slow poke.

Lesson: What works for one writer does not necessarily work for another.


  1. Ahhh but see...I've been to Julie's house. When I say its chaos, I'm not lying. Take what you're saying and add one more kid LOL. I don't know how she does it...I don't. She's my HERO.

  2. I LOVE this. My friends listen to my family circus style antics and say I should write about those. I'm like "Uh, NO. I'm trying to ESCAPE my life" LOL "not write about it too!" Ha. Oh, how I cant wait for the days my kids won't dump things. It's good to have dreams LOL

  3. Julie, I think it was some sort of curse that I got the writing bug when my daughter was 2 and my son was 6 months. Definitely a WTH idea.

  4. So "write" about what works for one may not or usually does not work for another. Everyone has to find their own way. I love reading about how all the famous writers did their thing, but I never try to copy it. I usually find that I do one thing similar to each of them; therefore, creating my own style. I think!
    I give you credit for trying speed writing, but even more credit for quickly realizing it's not for you. As you know, I've read your writing and really like it. So keep to your own ways and listen to your own drummer--that's the key!!!

  5. I don't know how Julie does it either. I work full time and when I'm writing or reading, I too have the face and usually they leave me alone, although my kids aren't home with me all day and are 6 and 9 and scared of me! (My face is that good!) We all aspire to Julie's gift and will some day look throw her a parade.

  6. Chris- That's the key--find what works for you. I'm like you in that I take little bits from lots of different writers. I really wanted to "speed write" because I have a story I could complete in no time if I just had the cooperation of my kids. I was desperate to try something new to give me a boost because I'm ready to finish this thing!

    JenA- My "face" works well on my 5 yr old. It's mainly the 2 yr old that doesn't seem to get it. Frankly, that kid is not punishable and knows it! BOYS!