Get On Your Habit And Write

I was asked about making a new start in writing, when you’ve taken a break – voluntary or not.

You still want to write.  You still have ideas.  You are still really a writer, but something happened to break the daily habit of sitting at the keyboard and pounding out words.

That is an habit, and one that has to be built and enforced.  I found this early, even before I had kids or cats.  

While I’m not one of those writers who enjoys having written, but not the process of writing – I could never write as fast as I do if I didn’t have fun doing it – writing doesn’t always go smoothly, particularly in the beginning, when it’s all guess work.  You know just enough to know you’re screwing up, but not enough to know how to fix it, and you get frustrated and wander off to bake carrot cake (this figured heavily in my newlywed days, because my husband likes carrot cake, so it got me instant reward.)  Then you remember that the kitchen floor should be scrubbed.  Oh, and did you ever send a thank you note to aunt Emma?  And what about that trivet you were knitting?  And next thing you know, not just a day but a week or a month has slid by, your story remains undone and stuck, and you haven’t learned enough to get past the hump that sent you baking carrot cake instead of writing.

I refer to this process as rotating the cat.  You’re doing stuff, but after a while it’s not stuff that needs to be done, or that anyone will notice.  You’ve just fallen into a routine of doing little stuff.  
I spent years like this.  When I say it took me almost sixteen years to really break in, it’s hard to contemplate how many of those years were like this.  Oh, when I broke in I had sixty short stories and eight novels fully written, plus any number of fits and starts – so I got stuff done… but not nearly as much as I could have.

Of course in those years, a lot of it was through my being discouraged.  I thought I’d never get published, and after all what I did for the family counted for a lot more, right?  If these words were never to be read?  And there’s some explanation, too.  For six years of that time, I was going through infertility treatment.  Those of you who’ve done this, know what havoc it can play with your hormones, which in turn make concentration something that happens to other people.  I was pregnant for eighteen more of those months – nineteen, really, younger boy was almost a month late.  And with the first pregnancy, I had pre-eclampsia, which meant that I couldn’t do much.  My wonderful husband bought me my first laptop then (yes, it was massive) but sitting up sent me to the hospital, and while something like a netbook, now, might allow me to work, working reclined wasn’t possible.  Also, embroidery sent me to the hospital once.  It was too exciting for me.  And I had toddlers in the house for almost six years straight.  

But explanations aren’t excuses.  Yes, I spent years when the only work that could get done had to get done when the boys were napping.  And years fitting in my writing time in the two hours the younger kid went to pre-school.  That’s fine.  But there were still weeks, months, and at least a couple of years of rotating the cat.

And then I figured out what was happening.  The cycle went something like this: something happened to drive me away from writing – hitting a snag on a novel, or sixty rejections in one day, or… something – and I got into a cycle of rotating the cat.  That broke the habit of writing every day.  Then I got in this weird process akin to insomnia, when you want to sleep but your eyes remain stubbornly open.

It’s not that you lack inspiration.  You really want to write.  You have the story idea.  The words even run through your mind.  You just can’t sit down and do it.  The debris that flowed in to fill your day while you were mute is now everywhere and you don’t have the time to write.  Or the mental space.  Or if you have both, you just can’t sit that long and just type.

You’ve lost the habit.  And habit is a great part of any daily routine.

Now, what always happened to me is that one of the “door blowers” – one of those ideas/inspirations that blow the doors off everything else and MAKE me write them – would come along, grab me by the hair and MAKE me work, and by the end of it, I had the habit again.  

I’m sure this happens to a lot of people, but it’s an unreliable process.  Door-blowers, at least for me, come around once every three or four years, not every time something breaks my habit.  So I had to learn to get around it without the Door-blowers.  You have to, if you’re going to have a career in writing.  Unless you’re a big name and the publishers love you, you can’t do a book every three to five years and sustain a career.  I doubt you can do it in indie, even.  People will forget your name.  They won’t look for you.  (Heck, for various reasons, I’m pushing this with Darkships, which is why I need to start promoting again before Darkship Renegades comes out.)

The best thing is not to break the habit.  You know what they say about the best.  You can’t always have it.  Even I still break the habit regularly.  Take the last two months (please.)  Between kid’s graduation, wildfires, illness, I’ve written cold nothing.

The problem is that – writing four different series, etc. and dealing with the house, and being everyone’s scheduler in chief – my best days were completely packed, even without adding in the indie publishing stuff with its extra duties.  THEN add in an “emergency” or anything unusual – like transitioning a kid to college – and one of the balls has to drop and, out of long habit and also because it’s the most susceptible to my state of mind, that’s usually the writing ball.

So, let’s suppose the same happened to you and you’re out of the habit of writing.  How do you get back into it?

I have several tricks, but in the end there’s only one thing that works: brute force.  You have to make yourself get into the habit again.  I sometimes feel like I’m two people: one a truant kid and the other a stern mother.  The mother chases the kid all over until finally she makes her sit down and write.

Yeah, you’re going to have to force yourself.  You’re going to have to block out a time and a place and set yourself a goal.  “From eight to noon I write, no matter if the roof falls on me, or how many times I’m interrupted.”  Or “I’m going to write two thousand words, no matter how bad they are.”  And then you stick to it.

If you’re whining that you don’t have enough will power – no one does.  You have to grow it.  Failing once is not an excuse to continue failing.  You have to keep on it.

On the other hand, there are some tricks.  Not many, and they all still require will power, but some:

1 – set a time and a place and do your writing there, ALL the time.  Habit can work FOR you as well as against.  Make that a place where you don’t do anything else: no games, no reading the news (my own bete noir), no household accounting.  Set up a desk or a corner or even part of the rarely used dining room table for WRITING ONLY and every day at 2 or 3 or whatever, sit there and write for two hours.  (At least when forming the habit, try not to take more than one day off on the weekend.)

2 – If at first your fail – don’t absolve yourself from doing it.  Do it tomorrow.

3 – Reward yourself.  My reward for finishing a novel – regardless of whether it sells – is a handblown glass float/witchball.  Which is why a galaxy of them hangs from my celing at my office.  They were on my “if we have enough time” evac list.  I.e. after cats, documents and computers were in the car, if I had ten minutes, come in and save the glass floats by throwing them into a box.  (They’re sturdier than it sounds.)  But I know writers whose reward is another song or CD, or a day off in their favorite area, or even going out to dinner.  (THAT depends on what your metabolism is, of course.)  I know one writer who rewards himself with a single malt.  Just make it something really special – after you finish a short or a novel, or whatever.

4 – if you’ve tried all this and nothing is working, break your current routine.   The problem is not that you don’t have a routine, but that you have a BAD routine.  I’ve been known to go to a hotel for three our four days and just write.  That usually means when I come back home I can write again.  If that’s not possible, due to money or time constraints, just REALLY break your routine.  Take a laptop to a nearby park.  Start waking up at three in the morning to write.  Just do something your internal clock isn’t expecting.  (Nobody expects the sneaky writer!)

Depending on how long the habit has been broken, it might take you a while to get it back on.  As with horse riding (which I’ve never done, but I hear this) it’s best if you get RIGHT back on again and try not to fall of.

85 responses to “Get On Your Habit And Write

  1. (Nobody expects the sneaky writer!)

    The sneaky writer’s chief weapon is surprise…surprise and inspiration…inspiration and surprise…. The sneaky writer’s two weapons are fear and inspiration…and ruthless habit…. The sneaky writer’s *three* weapons are fear, inspiration, and ruthless habit…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Kindle…. The sneaky writer’s *four*…no… *Amongst* the sneaky writer’s weapons…. Amongst the sneaky writer’s weaponry…are such elements as fear, inspiration…. I’ll come in again.

  2. Wise thing to do Maam

  3. *sigh* Having just finished Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on this. My goal is 1000 words a day…

  4. ppaulshoward

    Good advice. Now the hard part is following it. [Sad Smile]

  5. A large number of human activities share this trait of being responsive to habit. I find that beginning my work day by daily going through the same setting up exercises — laying out my tools, opening up my computer programs in the same configuration — is highly conducive to my productivity, especially when I find myself sitting down on an off day, when my breakfast is digesting my stomach and my head is floating over my neck.

    I was amused to note how similar your rule #1 is to the core advice offered to people with trouble falling asleep. Similar process for tapping into the sub-conscious mind? At any rate, the process of habituation is indeed useful to conditioning to performance of routine tasks.

  6. I close this window, and move to the window with the text on it that needs additions. And the spouse, rummaging in the fridge for food for kid, says, “You still have leftover nachos.” …AT THAT EXACT MOMENT when I was about to DO something.

    I swear, it’s like radar.

    I yelled at him (he’s in the other room) that I didn’t want to be talked to.

    Now. Let’s try this AGAIN.

    • And a bit later, the kid goes, “‘Scuse me?”
      And I go, “Yes?”
      And she goes, “I wish there were an option in Sims 3…”

      • Useful answer “Are you bleeding on the floor? Is anything on fire? No, then it can wait till after writing time.”

        • That’s about what I said, yeah. I mean, something I could address, that’s one thing. A TOTALLY HYPOTHETICAL thing about her game… GUH.

          *finishes chapter and considers how she might get enough Brain to start into the next*

          • Do you ever get kid asking “When you were a kid and you were playing–” My kids did this CONSTANTLY. “Mom, when you were a kid and you were playing Rollercoaster Tycoon…” I’d go “ARGH. At twenty two I got a Trash Eighty with a back up tape drive. I used it to write. It held a chapter at a time. the games I played were PINBALL.” They looked at me in horror like I grew up in the Jurassic. And once, Marshall, who was the sweet one, patted me gently on the arm and said, “I’m sorry mommy, I didn’t know you grew up that poor.” 😛

            • **SNRK**

              I wish I still had my Apple ][ and its little black and white screen.

              I should fire up the toaster mac sometime, too. Heh heh heh. “No, dear, it’s not just something you sat on when you were a toddler.”

              • Black and white? You had the fancy expensive version, I recall how nice those were when they came out, after using the greenscreens.

                And yeah I started typing on an old manual typewriter, I really thought I was moving up in the world when someone gave me one of the old Compaq ‘portable’ computers (a 286) you know the ones the size of a large suitcase, with the keyboard that tucked into the front over the floppy disc drives and the 6″ green screen.

                • I also started with a manual. I break keyboards now (and don’t brake for them). I do remember the compaqs too. I fixed a couple.

                  • I started on a manual ALL METAL olivetti. My dad bought it for me for my fourteenth birthday, because… I’d always use it. (Head. Desk.)

                    • I had use of Momma’s old Royal. If you typed too fast the keys locked up.

                    • Folk frequently forget that the QWERTY keyboard was Designed(!) to impede (imdige?) proficient typists.

                    • In Portuguese it’s HCESAR — that’s the top row — so I had to change over, too.

                    • (Ahem) Due respect for accuracy requires I reference as follows:

                      This layout was devised and created in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer who lived in Milwaukee. With the assistance of his friends Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule he built an early writing machine for which a patent application was filed in October 1867.[3]
                      The first model constructed by Sholes used a piano-like keyboard with two rows of characters arranged alphabetically as follows:[3]
                      – 3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
                      2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M
                      His “Type Writer” had two features which made jams a serious issue. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or typebars, which would clash and jam if neighboring arms were depressed at the same time or in rapid succession.[4] Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called “up-stroke” design. Consequently, jams were especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what he had typed. The solution was to place commonly used letter-pairs (like “th” or “st”) so that their typebars were not neighboring, avoiding jams. A popular myth is that QWERTY was designed to “slow down” typists though this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams[4] while typing at speed, allowing typists to type faster.[5]
                      Sholes struggled for the next five years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine’s alphabetical key arrangement. His study of letter-pair frequency by educator Amos Densmore, brother of the financial backer James Densmore, is believed to have influenced the arrangement of letters, but called in question.[6]
                      In November 1868 he changed the arrangement of the latter half of the alphabet, O to Z, right-to-left.[7] In April 1870 he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard, moving six vowels, A, E, I, O, U, and Y, to the upper row as follows:[8]
                      2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 –
                      A E I . ? Y U O ,
                      B C D F G H J K L M
                      Z X W V T S R Q P N
                      In 1873 Sholes’s backer, James Densmore, succeeded in selling manufacturing rights for the Sholes & Glidden Type-Writer to E. Remington and Sons, and within a few months the keyboard layout was finalized by Remington’s mechanics. The keyboard ultimately presented to Remington was arranged as follows:[9]
                      2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 – ,
                      Q W E . T Y I U O P
                      Z S D F G H J K L M
                      A X & C V B N ? ; R
                      After it purchased the device, Remington made several adjustments which created a keyboard with what is essentially the modern QWERTY layout. Their adjustments included placing the “R” key in the place previously allotted to the period key (this has been claimed to be done with the purpose of enabling salesmen to impress customers by pecking out the brand name “TYPE WRITER” from one keyboard row but this claim is unsubstantiated[9]). Vestiges of the original alphabetical layout remained in the “home row” sequence DFGHJKL.[10]
                      The QWERTY layout became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, the first typewriter to include both upper and lower case letters, via a shift key.
                      Much less commented-on than the order of the keys is that the keys are not on a grid, but rather that each column slants diagonally; this is because of the mechanical linkages – each key being attached to a lever, and hence the offset prevents the levers from running into each other – and has been retained in most electronic keyboards. Some keyboards, such as the Kinesis, retain the QWERTY layout but arrange the keys in vertical columns, to reduce unnecessary lateral finger motion.[11]

                • Dan used to bring these home to work on over the weekend! And yeah, we thought we were so fancy…

        • Has a pipe burst or is something overflowing? Also is your sibling/guest/pet bleeding on the floor. But unless it is life, death, colaspe of the house or, yes, ok, law enforcement at the door…

          As you might guess The Daughter was a hard child to train to go to and stay in bed.

          • HEH.

            *finishes another chapter, though this one is way short*
            *declares victory for the day*

          • My mom gave me this long list when she started leaving me alone in the house “don’t open the door to strangers; don’t tell anyone on the phone you’re alone; don’t play with matches” (which considering I was like 10 was a little insulting. “Don’t resistance test the walls; floor; my good tea sets. Don’t mix explosives. Don’t test explosives you have mixed earlier without my knowing. I’ll be back.” It’s pretty much what I give the boys when I go out.

    • Stuff like that happens to me all the time, whether I’m trying to do something for me, or for my day job.

    • Understood – I can barely write when the hubby has a day off. He wants to show me videos!!!!!????? ARG – I need to start my habit all over again after the tooth fiasco – ongoing btw

      • See, with me it’s the other way around. I write MUCH better with Dan at home. It’s inexplicable.

        • I need to learn how to do it. Maybe headphones would help. *grin … he is hitting 65 and will be retiring in two or more years. I gotta get used to it.

          • A friend of mine whose husband had been a very busy missionary doctor joked after he finally was forced by health to (mostly) retire: I married him for better or for worst, I didn’t think that meant breakfast, lunch and dinner.

            • My mom fought my dad on retiring tooth and nail, which is why he worked till 80. She said she couldn’t do anything with him underfoot. (Per last phone call, she’s doing a lot — mostly driving him insane by telling him he reads too much. It’s actually reassuring. She’s been fighting this battle for fifty eight years, and yet she persists.)

              I think the reason I work better with Dan around whether at home or not, is that we started writing together (not collaborating, I mean together in the same room) years ago, and it’s part of the habit. Also, it helps me take my writing seriously as “work” if someone else is doing it too.

              • Oh, and I’m puzzled what she means by “underfoot” since he’s six one, and she’s five four… 😛 I think she’s visualizing him as a cat.

              • So, what you’re saying is: your ideal writing situation would be a writers’ sweatshop, say twenty writers chained to desks (four across, five deep; cubicles are too good for you) forced to crank out salable copy, allowed a fifteen-minute break every two hours … a half-hour for lunch, served weak gruel in a tin cup, all to keep those galleys coming?

          • Headphones help a lot. Unfortunately, I need more headphones than I currently have… (I have headphones that the kid filched for her computer use; I have headphones that I plugged into the Big Computer; I have some earbuds that I could use for the laptop (and writing machine), but I don’t like earbuds…)

  7. Kim du Toit

    The guy who most often wins is the guy who shows up. I was never a great blogger, but I showed up every day – every single day – with something to say, and with only a few days off in over seven years, it’s probably one of the only reasons why I managed to amass over fifteen million visits to my site.
    Ditto writing books. Show up at your keyboard every single day, and write something. If the creative muse (that bitch) has deserted you, then edit what you wrote the day before. Writing is not only creation, it’s also (some would say primarily) editing and polishing. I try to write no fewer than five pages per day – ten is better – but even if I only get to write five, they are as polished as I can possibly make them.
    And if one book is giving you a hassle, start another. I have about four or five different novels (or ideas for novels) on the burner, and if I’m stuck on the historical novel about Budapest, I get stuck into the sequel to Family Fortunes, or the fantasy novel, or the one about advertising, or the plot synopsis for the one about the executive prostitute, or WHATEVER. But I force myself to write. Every single day.
    Writing is an exercise like any other: you need to get fit to do it properly, and like getting physically fit, the only way is through constant, repetitive practice.
    And never mind that crap about inspiration. As Hugh Grant said in “Music and Lyrics”: “Inspiration is for amateurs.” I love that line, and I’ve lived by it for years.

    • “That bitch” is about right. The only thing she does for me is to show up periodically and turn my ordered life upside down.

      • Concur. She’s a tease sometimes, cold at others. However, when she shows up for real, it can be a wild ride. Problem is that she never tells us her schedule. 😛

        • Her sister is Pratchett’s Lady, who can be a most cruel mistress. Here I disagree with Sarah to some extent. Rincewind is simply trying his best to stay on his feet. He has no illusions of being special or even being particularly competent. Can he help it that The Lady has taken a liking for him? (Or that a ornery and determined spell has taken residence…)

  8. A usenet group I’ve been on forever calls it “vacuuming the cat.”

    Not sure why it’s always a cat. 😉

    • I think it’s something like “doing the (near) impossible”.

      I’m the outlier here, so I really don’t have much to add. My writing habit is a pain-avoidance technique, just like several other things I do. If I hurt a little bit, I might write, or putter with my stamp collection, or catch up on my reading, or work on the housework. If it’s medium, it’s usually the writing, where I can lose myself in someone else’s problems (from my imagination). If it’s bad, I’ll probably just read my computer, or a book (or an online book), or play computer games. If it’s REALLY bad, I go to bed. I have learned not to try to edit my work if my pain is above a certain level, as it’s an exercise in futility.

      • It’s the no-writing excuses. Sarah said “rotating the cat”. It’s doing anything else useful instead of writing and starting to define “useful” down to the ridiculous.

    • Most of us have cats.

      • Doesn’t your cat get dizzy if you rotate it to much?

        • Um… sometime I’ll write about Havelock (Vetinari, duh) cat and his two brain cells. If it’s not food or pets, he doesn’t care. (One brain cell for food, one for pets. Sometimes he gets confused and licks us — I think to taste us in case we are food as well as pets.)

          • Elrond Half-Siamese will start licking my feet and at that point I know it’s time to get them out of his reach because what is coming is more than a taste – CHOMP!

            • Havey doesn’t bite me. He does these sweet, tiny licks. HE DOES bite Robert, though. Maybe Robert tastes better?

              • Mittens was prone to lying in my lap until neither foot could be felt, and when he started licking himself clean would often take pity on me by licking any of my available bare skin … apparently without considering that my much sparser fur meant he was seriously abrading my epidermis. Seriously – as in leaving me raw.

            • Possibly he’s hinting you need to wash your feet more often?
              /runs away/

            • Zwoot, the mafioso cat, would bite anything that got in front of his nose. Very sweet fellow otherwise, really. Perfectly friendly. But I discovered his biting habit after he’d apparently been stung by something and his face was all swollen up, and I was on the phone to the vet.

              Poor receptionist. I hope the hearing loss went away.

              (Later, I experimented with the other arm to see if his behavior was consistent, or just due to the confusion of being unable to see and probably in pain. The behavior was consistent. Ow.)

  9. I try to do the Ford Prefect approach to making myself write every day. I fall and try to forget to land.

  10. I’ve likened writing to going to the gym – when you take an unscheduled day off, it becomes a lot easier to do it the next day, and the day after that. When you finally force yourself back into it, it can be painful until your body(or mind, in this case) gets used to it again.

  11. I’ve heard it take three weeks to make or break a habit. So I try to not give up too quickly.

  12. Totally off-topic, but I think generic. I switched from Firefox to Opera for Sarah’s site, and haven’t had any more dropped posts or comments. I’m not sure if it’s the change of browsers or the fact that I only have one browser window open for each that’s making the difference, but it’s a relief.

  13. A timer was a godsend for me to get started again – I hadn’t been seriously writing for over a decade. I started out with the timer at only 30 minutes the first day (on a computer that had all games removed and the internet connection turned off) – and it was like pulling teeth the last 10 minutes, but I had to sit there, BICHOKing, until the timer went off. After a few days, I expanded to an hour, and told myself I could always go longer if I wanted to, and within a few days, I did want to.

    Also, for me, a laptop so I could write on my couch was also a huge help. Now I use a netbook, and I can write about anywhere. And yes to starting the same time, same place and all that. And momentum on a specific project helps a lot – starting a whole new thing is a lot harder.

    I wasted so many years waiting to be inspired. Lying around waiting didn’t bring inspiration, but about three days with a timer did. No, I haven’t needed it for years now, but it’s there, if I do (I suspect with the next book, facing the first draft, I might need it again.)

  14. Yes, this pretty much is what I have to do. I know that sometime in the next 2,000 dollars or so, I need to invest in a netbook or laptop of some sort, just so I can separate “writing computer” from my desktop “work/play” computer. There’s certainly places I can go to write. Even in my room, I have a table directly behind me I could use if I cleared it of my crafts/dolls. But it’s kind of hard to move my desktop. >_>;

    I’m generally really good about habits once I’ve set them. It’s always a schedule upheaval (conventions or other trips or sickness beyond regular “blah”) that screws them up. Or, in the case of my fitness routine, the batteries on the bike went out and they’re in an odd size and gosh if I can remember to ask/get replacements. >_>;

    My recent behavior is schedule upheaval followed by sickness followed by mild insomnia. The creativity is there again, thankfully, but I’ve been spending it working on designing/starting the actual script (and costume designs) for a game I want to make. Last night I was trying to fall asleep while my brain was trying to plot conversation trees. So I have been productive, but not on anything that’s likely to pan out this year (seeing as I have to learn coding first and rather than trying to build a mountain with a spoon as my only tool, I should at least wait until I know how to operate a shovel). =_=

    But yes – good advice. And a really good blog entry to have up after I’ve directed someone to your blog. xD Hopefully she’ll read this one as I think part of it might resonate with her.

    • I’ve felt like I CAN finally write again, but words in the long form are still dragging, so today I spent doing art. To be honest it was stuff that needed doing — I’m working on the cover for Kate Paulk’s Consensual. I’m also cleaning up old art to put up some t-shirts and stuff in zazzle and cafe press (well, I have a new range to pay for, and sooner or later my car WILL need a new transmission. It’s giving warning signs.) BUT I MUST get back to the words and soon.

  15. I find I tend to wait until after everyone is in bed and the house is quiet and the phone isn’t ringing before I write. I am too easily disturbed, and feel as if I’m ignoring the hubster; but being a night owl, this works for me. I can stay up until, oh, sometimes as late as 3 or 4am, just writing, and then sleep late the next day. If the plot bunny has bitten hard, I will start writing shortly after getting up and going through my email. If the plot bunny is chewing my butt off, forget the email, I’m going straight to the manuscript.

  16. “Get On Your Habit And Write” — is *that* why Robert’s comic features a nun?


    • I am SO completely not to blame for that boy’s weirdness. Neither is Dan. Perhaps it’s writers and mathematicians marrying? He got a double dose of odd.

      • I am not the first to make this observation:

        Some are born weird, some achieve weirdness and some have weirdness thrust upon them

  17. I’m guilty of rotating the cat myself. My wife can always tell when I’m stuck on something in a story because I start cleaning things around the house that I don’t regularly do, like dusting.

  18. OK, I got 1000 words written and something heavily proofed yesterday. Today I’m going to, barring domestic disaster, finish that scene, revise it, and then fill in the stories in a story that hit me last week on the flying time thread. After the Tour de France coverage wraps up.

    • Well, the scene is revised and another scene has been added for 1000 or so more words. But the fill-in stories are turning into something that would probably be pretty good children’s books if I had an illustrator. That’s not supposed to happen!

  19. This is the first (and so far, only) weblog that I’ve visited that’s geared mainly toward writers – maybe not consciously, but at least that’s the result. So far, it’s led me to at LEAST three new book ideas. I’ve completed one outline, and about 5000 words of the novel itself. Just the rest of you being here encourages me to write. Thank you all!

    Is anyone grilling leftover mammoth steaks today? If I’d been thinking ahead, I’d have had DW make sugar-free potato salad. Head too much in the book, I guess. 8^) Haven’t reached the chapter with the local mammoth hunt yet…

    • I’m making beer brats (First you get all the obnoxious children on the block together, along with all your out-of-date or too cheap to drink canned beer . . .) and a new potato salad that my mother discovered. It includes sweet potatoes and salami, so I’m a little concerned. No sugar in it as far as I know.

      • Reminds me, I used to work with a guy who always said his two favorite kinds of beer were, cheap and free.

        • I don’t know, bearcat. I worked in the Squadron bar in Vietnam in the dark, dank past. There were a couple of brands we couldn’t even GIVE away – even to the Vietnamese.

          TXRed, I LOVE a good bratwurst — too much so to soak it in anything. DW can get good, authentic German mustard at the local commissary. The brats we like best are made in the county. We keep ’em in business, I think…

          The other kind of brats are usually too obnoxious, even (especially) sloshed.

          • At 18 I might not have agreed with you, if it had high enough octane it would make up for any defiencies in flavor (Schmidt Ice and 211 Steel Reserve were commonly consumed). Nowadays, when I might drink a beer or two a year, its going to taste good if I’m drinking it. Good beer needs to be at least as dark as my coffee.

            Reminds me, I have some ground burger in the freezer, one of these first days I need to take it out and make some brats… and some pepperoni… and Kielbasa… and Chorizo… summer sausage… I think I need more burger. You got any mastodon burger your not using?

      • Steaks and baked green beans with parmesan, low-carb corn bread (from mix. Still higher than we like, but it’s a special day) and a salad. Oh, yeah, and cheesecake.

    • Are you kidding??? We had the last of the steaks days ago. Mammoth hash this morning, alongside an order of Roc eggs, sunny-side up!

      • mmmmmmmmmmm rock egg and toast for breakfast. NOW that’s living.

      • I am salivating 😉

        • I keep hearing:

          Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
          They’re the modern stone age family.
          From the town of Bedrock,
          They’re a page right out of history.

          Let’s ride with the family down the street.
          Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

          When you’re with the Flintstones
          you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
          A dabba doo time.
          You’ll have a gay old time.