Folks ask me if it’s hard to come up with something to write each week. Writer Gene Fowler said, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
I don’t stare at blank paper, but I’ve certainly spent large chunks of my life staring at a blank computer screen. Can’t say I’ve produced blood yet, but if I ever do, you can be sure I’ll write about it.
My path to a weekly column typically looks a bit like this:
It’s Saturday, 8:00 a.m. and I still haven’t got an inkling what next week’s column is going to say, even though I need to submit it on Monday. I really must park my butt in the chair and write. And I will, just as soon as I’m showered and dressed. But wait. I haven’t worked out in a while. I should really do that today.
Forty minutes later, I drag my sweaty, sticky self into the shower. Thirty minutes after that, I’m clean, dressed, and in a better frame of mind. Time to write my column.
Maybe I’ll just make a cup of tea first. When I fill the kettle, I empty the water jug (we use distilled). Better start the distiller while the kettle boils. On my way to the distiller, I notice our dehumidifier is full. Can’t have the basement getting all humid and dank. I wonder briefly if I could pour the dehumidifier water into the distiller, thereby turning moisture from the air into our drinking water. I dismiss the thought.
When I enter the bathroom to empty the dehumidifier, I remember I had intended to give the sink a lick and a promise, so I stop to do that. I hear the tea kettle click off in the kitchen and quickly fill the distiller and reassemble the dehumidifier. But as I walk past our bedroom, I notice the bed’s still unmade. Can’t have that. What if my mother-in-law from South Dakota pops in unannounced?
By the time I’ve made the bed, the water in the kettle has cooled. I start it again. While I wait, I’ll quickly check Facebook. You know, just in case any important messages await me. Sure enough, there is a message. I’ll just answer it in a jiff, then log out. But wait. There’s a little quiz that will tell me which Broadway musical best describes my life. I get “Sound of Music.” How stupid. This leads me to another quiz, “What celebrity were you in a previous life?” I’m not falling for that time suckage. I’ll log out just as soon as I take a quick peek at the cutest kitten videos ever. And copy the recipe for healthy brownies somebody posted. And take the quiz that answers the burning question, “What career should you have?”
I get “writer.”
My kettle has cooled again.
While I wait, I find myself a snack. This time, I mean business. With a cup of tea in one hand and a bowl of almonds in the other, I head back to my computer.
I’ll just check email first, real quick. You know, just in case. Besides, I can’t really write and eat at the same time. Sure enough, there are emails to answer.
Well, would you look at that? It’s lunch time. Which reminds me. If I don’t make a big pot of soup, there’ll be nothing for lunch all week. By the time the soup’s done, I’m pooped and need a nap before supper.
It’s Saturday, 10:00 p.m. At some point during the day, I’ve somehow managed to hammer out 600 words of mindless drivel. I reward myself with a good book and go to bed, knowing I’ll continue to periodically tweak my column right up until I hit “send” on Monday afternoon.
Easy as pie.