11 October 2010

How to write at home

Wake up early on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday morning. Not as early as you would on a work day; don't set your alarm. But don't sleep in either.

Make a cup of instant coffee. It'll taste awful, but you won't risk waking the rest of the house with the smell of a whole fresh pot. You need the caffeine, not the noise of everyone else getting up.

Sit down at your computer desk. Unplug the Ethernet cable from your tower or laptop. If you have a wireless network, disable it.

This is important: don't dawdle. Don't get up to look for something. Don't reorganize your local files. Don't look at photos from last Christmas or your summer vacation. Open your outline, notes file, or work in progress. For notes or an outline, re-read everything. For a work in progress, re-read your most recent chapter. Hit return under the last thing you typed, and start typing something new. Make notes, record ideas, or pick up your story.

If that doesn't work, find a sticky note or piece of scrap paper. Consult a calendar and find the next available Saturday, Sunday, or holiday. Write down the date. Post the note somewhere prominent on or near your desk. Remove the last date note and crumple it into your waste basket. Plug the Ethernet cable back into your computer and load Facebook. Now you're done.