25 Ways to Keep a Writer Writing

I recently published a post called 25 Ways to Stop a Writer from Writing. I was somewhat concerned with how many writers found it to be a useful post.

Do not be surprised if your fellow romance and crime writers are plotting your downfall based upon that post. I accept no responsibility but I’m a good girl so I thought I’d better redress the balance.

I realise that writers are a difficult breed to live with, speak to, breathe the same air as… Therefore I thought it prudent to offer some advice on how to keep us stroppy little so-and-sos on the writing track. Life is so much better for everyone when we don’t veer off it.

25 Ways to Keep a Writer Writing

Keep a Writer Writing - snowed under books1.Create a book mountain by their bed so that they can feed upon words at night to satisfy their literary lust. Reading is the life blood of any great writer.

2. Keep their cat fed and watered. Hungry cat = writer distraction. No writer can get much done when there are cat claws to be extracted from their shins.

3. Cancel all subscriptions to Netflix and the like. Remove all DVDs, Blu-Rays, TVs, and devices they can watch box sets on. They will never be able to hold a conversation with you ever again about what’s happening in ‘Game of Thrones’ and the like but that’s a boring choice you’ll have to be willing to make.

4. Secretly enter their writing into competitions. Hope desperately that they win. If or when they do, watch as they believe, if only for a few days, that they are the best writer in the universe.

5. Get a barista to work in the writer’s kitchen, supplying endless varieties of coffee with the extra added foam pictures on top that none of us can ever hope to accomplish but somehow make coffee taste better.

Keep writer writing - head full of writing6. Tell them that their writing will never amount to anything and that no one will ever read it. Hope that this is answered by wanting to show you’re wrong and the writer writing up a storm. Pray that they don’t respond to this by receiving a GBH charge for what they did to your body.

7. Break social media. Amateurs use programs to temporarily shut down social media sites. A desperate procrastinating writer will always work their way round those bad boys. You will have to go all out and destroy Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the whole shebang.

8. Ram their calendar full of social engagements, tasks and duties for a whole month. They will try to find even a few minutes to write because they will miss it. Next month they will make sure their calendar is friendlier and freer, probably by breaking up with you or no longer being your friend.

9. Buy them a bestseller in their genre. Read it first to see if it’s crap. If it is, give it to them, adding the following sentence, ‘You can write so much better than this and she/he is famous’.

Keep writers writing - duct tape kids10. Shove all their kids in the cupboard under the stairs and gaffer tape their gobs. Or take them out for the day, away from the writer, depending on your level on the arsehole-o-meter.

11. If they ask you to beta read, do not hand the piece back marked with shouty red pen and regular ‘Must try harder’ comments. Invest in pastel coloured felt tips and gold stars. Presentation is everything. We writers are a fickle bunch.

12. Comment regularly upon their blog if they have one, extolling the virtues of their pieces even if you have no interest at all in face masks, how to cure a child’s constipation, what’s in the box they’re opening, or whatever it is they insist on writing about.

13. Leave them the hell alone when they’re writing. ‘Nuff said.

14. Show them that piece on how that bitch they went to school with is now selling trillions of novels. The game will soon be so very on.

15. Make them read a celebrity autobiography. Watch as their hackles rise, brace yourself for the rants about what ‘celebrity’ means, and avoid the tsunami of writing that occurs to show the Kardashians what a real writer can do.

16. Create a telepathic keyboard that extracts all of their thoughts, prints them on the page in a coherent fashion, and formats it perfectly. Watch them marvel at the sorcery.

17. If they are a coffee shop writer, get them an annual subscription to all the goods in the shop they can consume. An added bonus would be to reserve them a seat in their favourite corner.

18. If your writer values silence, remove all your neighbours from the area when your writer is writing. Take them all on a jolly so the writer doesn’t have to go apocalyptic on that continually barking dog, the shouty, screechy neighbour’s kids, and the bloke who has been mowing his lawn every pissing day for three months.

Keep a writer writing - forcefield19. Employ a superhero genius mastermind to create a force field around the writer where no badness can ever touch them. Watch as the bad boys of trauma, tragedy, and crappy luck bounce off them, leaving them free to write without burdens.

20. Take them to a writers’ festival. Watch them buzzing and having all the writing ideas whilst they’re steeped in the writerly world. Warning: the effect tends to wear off in a few days.

21. Buy them lots of pretty notebooks, stationery, highlighters etc. Watch as they immerse themselves in them like a pig in poo. Writers are stationery magnets.

22. Tell them that the first draft will be their only draft and they will never need to edit or revise it.

23. Tell them Stephen King called and said they are an amazing writer. For some reason many writers think that King is the Writing God. Add in that he signed a copy of ‘On Writing’ just for them and you’re golden.

24. Bribe, sell your body, steal, pillage, blackmail, or whatever you need to do to get a publishing house to publish their novel.

25. Never talk about writing. They’ll wonder why you’re not talking about writing and therefore will talk to you about writing. This will lead to them thinking about writing and therefore doing the writing because you don’t talk about writing. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

11 comments on “25 Ways to Keep a Writer Writing

  1. Haha, I love this list! Though I’m one of the strange writers who actually has trouble writing in pretty stationery (my handwriting isn’t great so I always feel I’m marring the pages!) #1, #3, and #7 are my favorites… Although #16 would be amazing. Very amazing!

  2. Lol, I love This! #1, #9, #13-13 & #21 are my favorites. But nobody better try doing #3 and touch my Netflix. Just reached the 4th season of Charmed, when Prue is dead and replaced with a half sister witch-whitelighter thry nevet knew about, Paige.

    1. I think many a person would find their lives empty without Netflix. It is the writer’s procratination box set tool of choice! Thanks for sharing Lidy.

  3. I completely agree with number 2. I love my cat but sometimes I wish I had a fish instead. (Funny how even as I write this there is a cat on my lap)

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