Once you’ve written a book, one question that seems to come up a lot is how to you get through those difficult writing moments. What does Leigh Evans do when she hits a road bump? Does she appeal to a critique partner? Meditate? Turn into a ball of woe until her personal muse revisits?
First I stare blankly at the manuscript.
For an hour or two.
And then because I have the attention span of a hungry Jack Russell, I start to find myself getting distracted by the things on my desk.
1) My monitor. The curser -- you know why they named it that, right?
2) My keyboard. Occasionally I clean it, noting as I do how all the letters have been worn off the keys. Well, except for these: q, w, z, x, b and p. Sometime I wonder what I’ve got against the letters b & p.
3) One bedazzled shoe, just to the right of my monitor. It’s actually a tape dispenser -- a gift from my friend Julie. Ever generous, she glued red felt to the sole so that her pal Leigh could say “I own a Louboutin.”
4) Speakers. Because sometimes I can fool myself into believing that a little bit of mood music will change everything. One should be very wary of this impulse. (This is particularly important if the neighbour’s motion-activated security camera faces your office window.)
5) Scissors. Mostly I use them to cut out pictures for my inspiration book but sometimes they serve as visual cues. Why don’t I just cut the scene out of the book? No one would know I ever thought of it. Not unless I told the world about this great idea I had with flying pigs…
6) Nail file. Used whenever I’m contemplating knocking off a character.
7) Mouse. I’m on my third one, because I kill mice.
8) A love poem by Rumi.
9) A picture of some wolves. I write urban fantasy. There will be wolves.
10) Someone’s thoughts about how to write a love scene. I keep meaning to take it down.
11) Tissues. For those videos I watch on youtube.
12) Acetaminophen. Backs weren’t designed for sitting.
13) An emergency flasher. Don’t ask why.
14) Mirror and tweezers. I’d be willing to bet that hundreds of plot puzzles have been solved as a woman tidies her eyebrows.
15) Post-its. Weak ideas look like terrific ones if you put them on a post-it.
16) My mobile phone. It pings when I get an email. I keep meaning to fix that too.
17) See that glint of purple in front of the tissue box? That’s the pricey custom-made case I ordered for my phone. It doesn’t fit. I keep meaning to write that guy a letter of complaint. And I will. Eventually.
18) A cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. It’s a Canadian thing.
19) Leather gloves. For when I deceive myself into believing that a nice two hour ramble will work everything out.
20) An e-ticket to Florida. Used for motivational purposes -- I can go there as soon as I finish this wretched first draft.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS:
1) I open my desk drawer.
2) I take out a legal-sized file.
3) I thumb my way through the contract until I get to this:
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