Creating time and space to write: nothing up my sleeve…

I’m feeling a bit down today — I’ve just received word that an old acquaintance of mine committed suicide. The news comes courtesy of my alma mater. Ever-intent upon creating a far greater sense of community amongst its graduates than it ever was at promoting it amongst its undergraduates (at least while I was one of them), its staff tirelessly ferret out information about all of us and promulgate it ruthlessly, both on a bimonthly basis and in a peculiarly vicious form of sadism known as the reunion book, where poor, quivering souls are expected to account for the last five years of their terrestrial existence. Altogether, the university manages to give us all the impression that we’re all of such abiding eternal interest that we must all want to be kept updated on marriages, promotions, publications, and deaths in perpetuity.

Which means, in practice, that one seems always to be opening one’s junk mail and exclaiming, “Oh, I didn’t know he had died. I liked him.” The fine folks at the alumni office cheerfully informed me when they hit me up to give a eulogy earlier this year that the older one gets, the more often one should expect that to happen.

Good to know, I suppose.

Apart from the usual any man’s death diminishes me me malaise about someone I frankly hadn’t thought about in quite a number of years, Alex’s death had got me thinking about my membership in that other group that tends to exhibit an elevated suicide rate: artists in general and writers in particular. He, too, was a writer, and a good one. The sensitive nervous tissue I mentioned a few days ago, that stuff that allows us to perceive lovely ephemeral moments in life and capture them for all time, seems to have a harder time dealing with all of those slings and arrows outrageous fortune sees fit to fling at us all.

Or maybe we’re just better at composing last words than other people. In any case, one of the side effects of a lifetime spent interacting with the kind of fascinating, mercurial, observant souls who devote themselves to coughing up their visions of the world, often at great personal cost, for the delectation of others seems to be finding oneself saying on a fairly regular basis, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! S/he was talented,” even without the intervention of a shared alumni publication.

It’s one of the costs of leading an interesting life. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There are even those who argue, and cogently, that the urge to produce art is in itself is essentially a self-defensive response to an unjust world. “To devote life to a constantly disappointed hope of happiness,” Mme. de Staël wrote, is to make it even sadder. It is better to direct one’s efforts to going down the road from youth to death with some degree of nobility, and with reputation.”

Amazing that someone who never had to query agents was able to come up with that, isn’t it?

Should you ever find yourself wondering why I put so much time and energy into this blog — over and above, of course, having a general fondness for advising people what to do that’s no doubt buried deep in my little Mediterranean lady genes, along with a pathological propensity for feeding bystanders until they burst — you need look no farther than my fellow writers who have fallen by the wayside. I’m not just talking about fine, creative souls like Alex, whose negative was so very final, but to all of the hundreds and thousands of genuinely talented people who have given up writing because the road to recognition is so very, very difficult.

It is thus with a sense of solemnity and a full appreciation of the irony of what I’m about to do that I return to our topic du jour: carving time and space out of a busy life for writing on a regular basis.

I’ve been dancing around this particular topic all autumn, ever since I took my October writing retreat. Back then, I asked you to start pondering a very serious question: what do you actually need in order to write happily and well?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have periodically reminded you of this request, urging you to give the matter a bit more strenuous thought. So if you weren’t expecting a pop quiz to turn up on the horizon, well, you obviously have never taken one of my classes.

Actually, it’s less of a pop quiz than the assignment of additional homework. Last time, if you will recall, I posed a number of questions that any writer serious about making a career of it is going to need to tackle sooner or later, preferably sooner. To recap for the benefit of those of you who missed them:

(1) What conditions would you actually need in order to write productively for a significant, unbroken chunk of time? What are your necessary minimum conditions — not just generic ones, but yours — for retreating to write, even just for a day?

(2) What specific factors — ambient noise conditions, lighting, seating, height of monitor, being able to lock a door, whatever — are of tangible assistance in your creative process, and what is merely nice?

(3) Is there anything that you currently use that you could do without? If you could snap your fingers and replace a neutral factor with a useful one, what would it be?

(4) Conversely, what conditions render the actual act of writing more difficult for you? Be as specific as you can, please: cold drafts blowing across your keyboard, telemarketers calling every fifteen minutes, a bookshelf that threatens to dump its contents onto your head as you attempt to type next to it, fear of rejection? Write ‘em all down.

(5) If you believe taking a writing retreat of any length to be impossible or well-nigh impossible for you, why? Again, the more specific you can make your reply, the better.

(6) What feels like support for your writing? What are others in your life already doing that’s helpful to your writing progress, and what seems like a stumbling-block?

Yes, these are indeed unusual questions to spring upon people at holiday time, when light, fluffy queries like Where can I find the best deal on cashmere socks?, If I add five pounds to the amount of weight I’m planning to lose after New Year’s, is it okay to eat this seventh cookie?, and, of course, Will Rudolph be able to save Santa’s delivery schedule? are ostensibly supposed to be occupying our minds.

However, as anyone who has been reading this blog for more than twelve months could undoubtedly tell you, I believe that the pervasive practice of writers torturing themselves through New Year’s resolutions demanding such unreasonable feats as finishing that long-delayed novel within the next month or landing an agent before Mardi Gras causes a whole lot of unnecessary misery, ultimately rendering the path to publication emotionally harder than it needs to be.

So there.

Call me zany, but in my experience, slow and steady tends to be a better long-term strategy for those seeing fame and fortune through writing than the occasional — or annual — two-week burst of effort, followed by a month of disappointment when those efforts do not yield results akin to Jack’s having planted those magical beans and awakened the next morning to find a beanstalk. Not to mention the months of disappointment with oneself for not having pulled a rabbit out of a hat yet again this year.

Allow me to suggest a much more sensible New Year’s resolution: this year, don’t make any New Year’s resolutions related to your writing at all.

Instead, why not figure out just a few small changes that would help you write more regularly? Or to rearrange your life in a small-but-significant respect to garner more emotional support for sending out a new query every time you find a rejection letter in your mailbox? Or to commit to removing a distraction that regularly comes between you and your genuine passion to write. Oh, if only you had a list handy of what does and doesn’t help you write…

Wait — what’s that you have clutched in your hot little hands, those of you who obediently donned your thinking caps when I requested it? And you thought you couldn’t pull a rabbit out of a hat.


Because everyone’s list is bound to be different, I’m not going to presume to tell you how to prioritize the items on yours. At least not today. I’m going to leave you to ruminate on it a bit more, while we devote ourselves to applying the knowledge gleaned from that list to the long-delayed question of how to set up your own private writing retreat.

Yes, I am trying to clear out my to-write list before the end of the year! How did you guess? Since that’s such a big topic, I’m going to tackle the personal retreat next time.

I do have a little something up my sleeve, however, of a practical nature, to round out our time together today: remember in my last post, when I suggested asking your kith, kin, coworkers, canary, neighbors, and any stray children you may have happened to have taken in recently to cooperate with you in setting aside chunks of time sanctified for writing, agreeing not to bug you with anything less than an earthquake during these regularly-scheduled periods? Let’s give some thought today to how one might go about presenting that request in a manner that elicits neither thigh-slapping and guffaws, blank incredulity, nor doe-eyed moppets moaning, “Don’t you love me anymore, Mommy?”

For starters, I wouldn’t recommend just charging up to your nearest and dearest and accusing them, albeit nicely, of sabotaging your writing progress with their continual demands upon your time and attention. I can tell you from long experience observing and advising writers at various stages of their careers that however dramatically satisfying standing up at dinnertime and declaiming, “Support my writing or I’m leaving, Reginald!” may be in fantasy, it seldom yields positive results in practice.

Why, you ask? For the exceedingly simple reason that in all likelihood, Reginald probably no idea that he hasn’t been particularly supportive of your writing. He leaves you alone while he watches football in either the American or the international sense of the term, doesn’t he? Granted, you may not feel that bellowing at the television in the next room is particularly helpful to your artistic endeavors, nor is wandering into your writing space periodically to demand where his favorite pair of socks are, and sure, these orgies of spectatorship often take place during parts of the weekend when the kids want to be driven from activity — but for heaven’s sake, he’s trying, isn’t he?

Then, too, you may be so myopic that you can’t see that your mother’s nagging you to use your long-planned writing day to visit Grandma more often (because she’s not getting any younger, as opposed to the rest of us, but please don’t feel guilty) is her way of showing that she loves you, you sensitive so-and-so. Or that when you tell your best friend that you have rearranged your schedule so that you can spend Saturday mornings writing for several hours, that what she actually hears you say is, “I have some free time — let’s go to brunch!”

If you haven’t forced your nearest and dearest into a comfortable seated position recently and held them in place until you have explained that you regard such time as one of the greatest blessings of life, consider doing so, pronto. They may genuinely not understand why your writing time needs to be sacrosanct.

And why should they, really, unless they happen to be creative artists themselves? The fact is, dearly beloved, that to most non-writers, the idea of spending hours at a time sitting in front of a keyboard, composing a story from scratch where the grammar and spelling actually count, is not a particularly appetizing prospect. In interrupting your writing time, they may actually be trying to save you from what they perceive to be a grisly fate.

Don’t expect them to read your mind — or wait until you have been interrupted so many times that the only option left for expressing your desires on the subject is in a piercing scream. If you explain calmly and kindly why time and space are important to you, as well as how you would like them to act with respect to it, well-meaning souls will surprisingly often exclaim, “Oh, I had no idea! Of course I’ll leave you alone on Thursday afternoons from 4:45 to 6:15!”

Even better, they may actually do it. Naturally, like most New Year’s resolutions, their commitment to keeping out of your hair may falter over the course of a few weeks or months, but if you presented your case reasonably in the first place, you have laid the groundwork for a gentle reminder, haven’t you?

In order to encourage these sweet souls to make good on their promises, give ‘em a little practical help. Don’t answer the phone during your dedicated writing time, unless you are actually awaiting a heart transplant — and if you are, or if you’re not comfortable making yourself unavailable while your kids are in the house/out of the house/not yet old enough to vote, invest in caller ID or establish special ring tones so you know which calls are actually emergent and which merely Reginald eager to find out where you’ve hidden his favorite sweater after you washed it.

I’m quite serious about this. I know several successful authors who have gone so far as to get pagers and give the numbers only to their children, their elderly parents, and their agents.

Also, avoid the all-too-common trap of keeping your e-mail program or IM open while you are trying to write. They’re just too distracting — and as much as it may annoy your bored friends if you do not respond right away to visitors to your Facebook page, have you EVER received such a message that couldn’t actually have waited an hour or two for your response?

Speaking of distraction, some of you are still thinking about my crack about Reginald’s seeming inability to put away his own laundry, aren’t you? Your antennae are not steering you wrong, my friends: I am about to suggest that you sit down with the other members of your household to chat about how the domestic duties might be reapportioned to give you more writing time.

To put it another way, are the chores you do habitually are actually of such a nature that they can be done by your good self, or have you been doing them because, good heavens, if you don’t, who will? Or — brace yourself, neatniks — because you were brought up to believe that if laundry sits in a hamper longer than three days, it will transform into Godzilla and go rampaging through your house?

If you are the household doer-of-chores, expect some resistance to the suggestion that you are not equipped with an extra pair of hands specially designed for the purpose. As I mentioned last time, engrained habits are hard to dislodge.

Which is why I would not suggest walking into such a discussion unarmed: your argument will be more convincing if you are toting some proof that such chores are eating up quite a bit of your time. A great way to establish this is to take an average week and keep track of everything you spend more than ten consecutive minutes doing. Make your record as detailed as possible, then at the end of the week, tote up how much time you spent on each task.

If you’re like many conscientious chore-doers, you may be astonished at the totals. And if you’re like most time-fritterers, seeing how you’re spending your time may be equally enlightening.

Regardless of whether you will be confronting anyone but your pet cat or goldfish with the results (“I invested three hours playing with you last week, Fluffy! Your tyranny over my time must cease!”), keeping a meticulous record of how you spend your time for a week or two is a good idea. Be completely honest about it, so you may discern can always destroy the document afterwards.

Yes, even if you’re embarrassed about some of the time-eaters you’ll need to list. After all, it won’t help you to pretend you spent six hours re-reading Marcel Proust’s À LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU when you actually spent it watching reruns of Project Runway, will it? I offer no judgments — as a matter of fact, I’m rather fond of Project Runway — but presumably, if you felt you were already devoting enough time to writing, you wouldn’t be trying to find more.

Think of it as a time budget. If you know how and where are you currently spending your time, you will have an easier time figuring out what time expenses, so to speak, can be dropped. Or, to put it another way, would you prefer to invest your time elsewhere?

After you have a reasonably detailed account in your hands, try breaking your normal routine for a week or ten days, to get a clearer idea of what is and is not immutable in your usual schedule. This may require a bit of advance thought, but the results can be fabulously educational.

Switch around chores with your spouse; if you pick up the kids after school, try rearranging your carpool so you drive them there in the morning instead; it may well be that this will leave you fresher for evening writing. If you always do the dishes or laundry in the morning, do it late at night; maybe it will turn out that early morning is your prime writing time, and if so, do you really want to fill up that time with housework?

In short, just how much of that cast-in-stone schedule is actually cast in stone? What could go, at least in the short run, in order to free up more writing time

At the end of your week or ten days of messing with your schedule, after your routines are good and disrupted, look back over your account of how you spent your time. What worked and what didn’t? Where could you fit in chunks of solid writing time on a regular basis?

Could you use this information to rearrange your life so you could get more writing done? It may require some genuine bravery and ingenuity, but most of the time, the answer is a resounding YES.

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but changes implemented in this manner are far, far more likely to still be around six or even three months from now than if you pursue the infinitely more popular route of simply demanding more work from yourself while altering nothing else in your life.

Hey, there’s a reason that the average New Year’s resolution lasts only three weeks.

To minimize the resentment of the rest of your household, as well as to gain a more accurate sense of how you would use your untrammeled time, I advise going on a media fast for that week or ten days when you begin the new Schedule of Joy. It won’t hurt your worldview to turn off the TV and radio for that long, nor to skip the daily newspaper.

Not only will this allow you to assess just how much time every day you are currently spending being entertained and/or informed, to see if you could purloin some of that time for writing, but it will also help you get back into the habit of listening to your own thoughts without distraction.

I go on one of these fasts every year, and it honestly is amazing how much it calms the thoughts. It also arouses the pity and wonder of my household, and reminds my kith and kin just how important it is to me to have inviolate writing time. It reminds them that they, too, are contributing to my success, if only by remembering not to telephone during my writing time. It reminds them that they can actually LOOK for a stamp when they need it, rather than asking me.

Not to mention schooling the cats in who is actually in charge of when that furry mouse gets thrown for fetching purposes.

It also reminds everyone concerned why I am so strict throughout the rest of the year about not wanting to hear what is happening on the currently hot sitcom. For me, getting sucked into an ongoing plot line is a big dispensable time waster. I have seen a grand total of one episode of FRIENDS, two SEX AND THE CITYs, and no Seinfeld at all, but I have written several pretty good books.

I’m aware that the list above is woefully out of date, thanks, and I’m not sure that I could pick Jennifer Aniston out of a lineup. (She was on the first show I mentioned, right?)

Have I made my point?

Is getting a book project finished worth being temporarily out of touch with pop culture? Only you can answer that, but frankly, I doubt that even the most devoted television watchers will be clutching their throats like Vincent Price on their deathbeds, moaning ruefully, “Oh, if only I had kept up with my sitcoms better! If only I had followed reality television more faithfully, I would have no regrets departing this terrestrial sphere!”

And yes, in answer to what three-quarters of you just thought, I don’t believe that anyone Alex left behind wishes that he had spent more time watching television, either.

Which is why, in case you were wondering, that I’m not going to tell you how much time per day, week, month, or year is the idea amount for you to invest in your writing. How you choose to spend your time on earth — your leisure time, anyway — is up to you. If you want to set aside time to express yourself, be my guest; if you’d rather only work on your book sporadically, you have my blessing, too. Ditto with sending out your queries with the clockwork regularity necessary to land an agent vs. stuffing your manuscript pages into the bottom drawer, never to see the light of day. Whatever makes you happy, you should do.

All I’m asking — and I realize that it’s a big, big request, so feel free to say no — is that you make those choices consciously, rather than allowing yourself to be pushed around by the fact that a new year is going to begin in a few days or other people have not to date spontaneously offered to lighten your burdens so you may devote more time to writing. Creating a stellar piece of writing does not happen by accident; 99.9999% of the time, a glorious book is the result of quite a bit of advance planning and sacrifice.

Please do give some thought, in short, to the tender, loving care of your talent and all of that nervous tissue. To help you do so, I can do no better than to show you that Mme. de Staël quote in its entirety:


So let us rise up under the weight of existence. Let us not give our unjust enemies and ungrateful friends the triumph of having beaten down our intellectual faculties. They reduce people who would have been satisfied with affection to seeking glory; well, then, we have to achieve glory. These ambitious attempts may not remedy the sorrows of the soul, but they will bring honor to life. To devote life to a constantly disappointed hope of happiness is to make it even sadder. It is better to direct one’s efforts to going down the road from youth to death with some degree of nobility, and with reputation.



As John Irving urged us in THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE, keep passing those open windows, everyone. And as I have been known to advise a time or two here, keep up the good work!

7 Replies to “Creating time and space to write: nothing up my sleeve…”

  1. Sorry about your friend. So sad.

    I hope that it doesn’t sound flippant that I came away from the movie Benjamin Button thinking precisely about time (the amount I have left) and what I do plan with it. Slow and steady is good. I’ve partially heard from a publisher about a kid’s book– they’ll let me know soon. Am waiting on two essays and two novels. And I started a blog, just to write about what I love –history and writing and researching it. I guess another way to make friends in both worlds. :>
    If I may, it’s

    I may be writing more as my wonderful job may be cut due to the economy, but if Mme. de Staël is our role model du jour, I’ll not be disappointed and continue on with “some degree of nobility.” I plan to keep up the good work.

  2. Also sorry to hear about your friend/s, Anne, which has inspired my thoughts directly and indirectly related to the post topics.

    Regarding the former, I find my biggest hinderance to writing not mentioned among the many you have included (and to which I relate). I’d love to hear from you and other writers who share my plight, and if so, how each might handle my own biggest block. That is, when I’m writing I’m immersed in my text. I have a hard time quitting, even when I’ve stepped away from the keyboard. I’m often preoccupied with the work, which is not helpful when it’s time for me to check back into the family. Children have a hard time understanding that even though mommy isn’t visibly engaged with something else, she’s “busy.” And really, they shouldn’t have to read my mind to know when they can point out something as engaging as, say, the names of the actors on the “Hair Spray” CD and their respective characters on screen.

    I am never far from my Moleskine and have been known to sneak back to my laptop, but it seems it can be just as hard to turn off the creativity switch as it is getting it turned on. Logically, I can spout ways to make it work but really, I feel badly about (sometimes FINALLY) getting immersed in my manuscript since I’m not as engaged as I should be with those around me.

    1. I started writing seriously when two of my kids were still in elementary school. I did it with notebooks and sheets of paper stuffed into my purse. I found blocks of time to write when they were off in school and when I was standing in line at the bank. Even on breaks at the soccer fields.

      I can understand the creative drive to just keep doing it. It’s hard when you have kids, but for me, they did come first.

      Steady on as Anne wrote is what counts. That is why I carry paper with me to this day. I can get more done in a noisy cafe and a good half hour is more writing done. The reward is getting published, acknowledged at a conference or performance reading.

      1. Janet,

        Thanks, I’m inspired. I enjoyed reading your comments. Discipline and determination oozes between the lines — making the time is what gets the writing done. I think the adage “Done is better than perfect” applies. (Perfect comes with revisions.)

    2. Sorry about the slow response — there’s been quite a bit going on, up to and including a perhaps not inexplicable impulse to send out slightly belated holiday cards to a much, much wider cross-section of my address book than usual, to check that everyone’s okay. Having grown up in such a small town, my psyche actually does expect to hear news of pretty much everyone I have ever known from time to time; years and years of my mother calling me up to say, “Oh, I bumped into your third-grade classmate’s great-aunt, and filled me in on your friend…” have left me dependent on such periodic updates. Big city life most emphatically doesn’t work like that, I gather.

      I empathize with your dilemma, Jen, having been both the writer in the creative trance and the child observing it. As my SO could tell you (and would at the drop of a hat, I’m sure), I’m notorious for saying, “Yes, yes, I’ll be there in five minutes,” when I’m in the middle of a chapter, then becoming annoyed when he comes back two or three hours later, because my perception is that only ten or fifteen minutes has passed.

      Let’s just say that my cats have learned to meow very loudly indeed when their food bowl is empty. It’s a pretty fair indicator of how embroiled I am.

      As to how one avoids feeling guilty about that — well, I don’t know that one does, although in a lifetime of hearing writers talk about it, it’s my impression that the guilt hits females disproportionately. I know plenty of fathers, including my own, who have gone and continue to go into creative trances all the time, but as a group, they don’t seem to beat themselves up over it nearly so much. I suspect that has a lot to do with upbringing: it would be foolish to deny that there’s substantial cultural pressure for women in general and mothers in particular never to get so embroiled in anything that they couldn’t drop it at an instant’s notice in order to attend to other people’s needs, especially a child’s.

      As the child of two creative artists, though, I certainly had gotten over this particular assumption by the time I was out of diapers, as had most of the professional artists’ kids with whom I grew up. I’m not saying that learning that there were times not to disturb writing time didn’t require quite a bit of extensive, careful explanation, but in my experience, if a child is old enough to understand why it’s not permissible to call Mommy or Daddy at work every five minutes, he’s usually old enough to comprehend the idea of writing in a home office.

      If it’s presented that way, as work rather than as an absorbing hobby, it’s actually not that hard for a child to accept. Adults tell kids to leave them alone for a whole lot of reasons, after all; working on a creative project makes more sense from a child’s perspective than most of them.

      That’s not to say that engraining the habit of leaving you alone REGULARLY is going to be easy to instill, but it’s certainly not impossible, in most cases. Yes, kids are often more inclined to test how serious an artist parent is about working at home than to ring that same parent up at a day job, but it’s fantasy (albeit a common one) to believe that a good book can be tossed off so quickly or without consistent investment of time that nobody else in the household will notice — which is, effectively, what would need to happen in order not to inconvenience the kids at all, right?

      That being the case, there are those who would argue, my parents among them, that it’s good for children to see their parents devoting serious time and energy to pursing their dreams. Kids tend to understand the impulse to be creative; what’s harder for them is grasping that mature creativity is not a single-sitting phenomenon. You might try thinking of it as a very, very lengthy object lesson in sticktoitiveness and the value of hard work in achieving a lofty goal — which, if they are ever going to pursue a similar goal themselves, is important for them to see, right?

      Again, having been the kid in this situation, I would strenuously advise explaining that it IS a lofty goal early and often, to make it clear that you’re not just engaging in a game that they’re not yet old enough to play. It will help them understand what you’re doing — and to learn to be proud of it.

      I’ve found that it’s easier for kids (and non-artistic adults, for that matter) to comprehend writerly endeavor if the writer doesn’t present it as too goal-oriented. Yes, it’s terrific to include the kids in celebrating when you finish a complete draft, or when you land an agent, or when you sell a book, but writers have triumphs on a day-to-day basis as well. Have you tried running into the family room and yelling: “I wrote four pages today!” while dancing around in circles? Or taking everyone roller-skating when you’ve finished a chapter? Celebrating the bite-sized milestones will help children better understand the concept of an ongoing project.

      All that being said, I know scads of writers who feel precisely the kind of guilt you mention, but short of inventing some sort of Star Trek-like machine that alters the space-time continuum so that writers with kids (or ill parents, or any other absorbing relationship with caretaking responsibilities) can be in two places at once, I suspect that there’s no silver bullet here. You’re the only one who can let yourself off the hook and give yourself permission to take the time to write, after all.

      And I’m not going to lie to you: I know many successful writing mommies who have had to and continue to have to arrange for child care during their regular writing time. Obviously, not everyone can afford to do that, but I know several who swear that dropping the kids off with someone else concentrates their minds so they work more intensely during their designated writing time.

      But I’m here to tell you: a kid who has to wait an hour or two to show a parent a drawing doesn’t necessarily end up spending the rest of her life in therapy, trying to come to terms with feelings of neglect. There’s even quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that kids who grow up having to wait out their parents’ creative trances on a regular basis are more likely to grow up to be creative themselves — and far, far less likely than the general population to believe that great works of art may be completed in a single afternoon when one doesn’t have anything else planned.

      1. Anne,

        Thanks for taking the time to offer such a considered response. I’ve read it several times and appreciate the perspectives you’ve presented, which I would comment on more fully if my youngest hadn’t suddenly appeared next to me poised with praying hands and an impressive pout in a silent plea for my attention. (At least she’s learned not to verbalize her interruptions while I’m typing.) She’ll get it, especially since I enjoyed a particularly productive block of writing time today which prompts me to add “that elated feeling when you get it right” to Janet’s list of rewards. And to Anne’s reasons I’ve got to add “because I’m much, much more fun to be around when I’ve had my writing fix.”

        1. My pleasure, Jen! Do keep us all posted on your progress in carving out writing time.

          And anyone else who has good ideas on the subject, please weigh in!

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