Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Masturbation Hand

I basically picked this topic cos I'm a nosy bastard, and love finding out about other people's writing business. What pens they use, where they sit, how much time they spend writing a day or a week, whether or not they have set times or just go with the flow, etc etc. But unfortunately for me, I didn't properly think this through. Because although I now get to hear about all of you and the things you do, I realised something as I opened up this post thing in blogger:

My writing day in the life is rubbish. And you know - it's not even just rubbish. It's also weird. And yeah, I realise you probably all get that I'm a mad head, by now, but still. I'm sat here petrified, imagining all of your amazeballs days:

1. Get up to the sounds of birds singing. A little blue one alights on my shoulder!

2. Watch the sunrise while drinking something writerly and awesome, like coffee.

3. Adjourn to my office, where I work steadily on something equally writerly and awesome, like an Apple Mac. I also do things like look at the many important reference books that surround me, to ensure a clean and factual manuscript.

4. A serious author's lunch of tofu, balsamic vinegar and water cress.

5. Another five hours of diligent working, before retiring for the day at 5pm on the dot. More birds sit on my shoulders. I drink something else awesome, like Port. And then I have ahi tuna for tea.

God. God. My writing day is nothing like that. And yeah I know that everyone here probably doesn't have a day like that at all, but I bet you can't help the fear either. The fear that secretly, everyone else is out there being hip and cool and drinking ground beans from the slopes of Kilimanjaro or summat, and like, maybe they've got a writing beret, too.

Yeah, other people totally have writing berets. They sit in mahogny offices with Apple Macs wearing berets and drinking Mount Kilimanjaro while smoking cigarillos and typing 100 words a minute with all of their fingers.

Instead of just three of them, the way I do it.

Yeah, that's right. I only use three of my fingers when typing. And I don't even use both pointers, either! I use the middle finger on my right hand, and the pointer and middle finger on my left. And the right one I make into a kind of crab shape, the way I've seen girls in porn do when they're about to touch themselves - but I swear to God, I'm not about to touch myself.

Well, mostly I'm not about to touch myself. God, I bet the real writers out there never have a wank to the sight of Alex O'Loughlin's bulge in the middle of writing a scene about him doing stuff to someone.

But anyway, I'm off the point. Which is largely about me panicking, and then finally getting around to my actual writing schedule. And it goes something like this:

1. Start at some ridiculous time, like midnight. The birds aren't even awake to climb onto my shoulders.

2. Sit on my bed with my laptop on this board thingie, on my knees. The board thingie now has weird worn groove shapes all over it, from where I've bashed my laptop into it. Also there are crumbs and bits of old food in the little flap thingies that keep the laptop on. Oh, and my laptop no longer has a letter A stencil. Plus, the shape of my left hand is now permanently shined into the material of my laptop, even though it didn't seem to be made of a material that could take the print of someone's hand. Likely as not, I have melted my laptop with my acid hands.

3. Put a movie on. This movie will usually have someone in it who I'm basing my hero on. But I won't watch the movie - no no no. That would be crazy. No, it's far saner that I then put headphones in and listen to some shitty playlist I made that suits the story, while occasionally glancing at the hero's abs.

4. Type until I realise I haven't had a drink in five hours. Of anything. I'm not even cool enough for thirst quenching in general, never mind being cool enough for coffee. I also realise at about this point that I haven't wee-ed in about ten hours.

5. Have a really long wee, and make myself a glass of juice. It's not even Robinsons, either, so don't start thinking that gives me a cool out. It's ASDA's own brand summer fruits sugarless dilute juice, and it is quite possibly the least cool thing in all the world.

6. Watch an episode of something - Frasier, Simpsons, The Blue Planet - while maybe having something to eat, then type some more stuff. Maybe the same thing, maybe not. Maybe I'm tired now and want to fall asleep with the TV on and the laptop on the bed, then wake in the middle of the night to realise I've just killed Bertha.*

7. Go to bed around 9am, exhausted. But usually happy.

Which is the thing, really, isn't it? That even if you don't fit into all the cliches of what a writer should be, even if everyone else is out there, using all of their fingers...well. So what?

We're cool because we're doing it. That's all that matters. Right?

*Bertha is the name of my laptop. Please don't take away my writing beret.


  1. Oh thank gawd, I'm not the only one. I couldn't catch cool in a walk-in freezer. Half the time I'm writing while on the phone with my mother - which is probably going to require therapy at some point. Great post!

  2. We're cool because we're doing it. That's all that matters. Right?

    No doubt about it!

    My typical writer's day is un-cooler than yours. There are some similarities, though, like the way-before-the-birds-have-gotten up start time.

    My day does involve coffee, for what that's worth. Gallons and gallons of pedestrian stuff, brewed from grounds poured indelicately from a plastic can.


    Back to writing.

  3. *panics* No one told me about writing berets!

    Great post.

  4. I don't have a beret; I gave those up in the mid-90's. But I do have a cloche hat, a top hat, a fisherman's cap, and a Jayne Cobb knitted cap. All of which are totally cool.

    Because I said so, damnit.

    I also rub the stencils off my keyboard letters. For me, ASDN and L are usually gone within six months. I replace my keyboard once a year, just so I can read it.

    I mostly touch-type, but that's because I went to some horrible high school that didn't offer enough classes to fill up my time without my taking typing AND a study hall. It was either that, or take home-ec. (in retrospect, home-ec probably would have been somewhat useful... like Ikea says, everybody has a home.)

    But I don't work on a schedule at all, and there are days on my calendar listed as writing days in which I do little more than play endless games of Bejeweled.

  5. This was an awesome post, haha. And my laptop's name is Molly, the netbook is Cleo and I didn't name the desktop. Poor lonely desktop.

    I go through cycles where I need complete silence to write or Disney soundtracks. And I can only edit to television.

  6. Charlotte Stein, I love you. Brilliant post and so, so true-- we ARE cool because we're doing it!!

  7. May - you are so not alone.

    Craig - yesssss uncool coffee. You're in the club!

    Kathleen - see, these are the kinds of things the coolies hide from us.

    Lynn - all of those hats ARE cool. also: bejewelled is AMAZEBALLS.

    elise - aww, poor desktop!

    Kristina - you know how much I love you too, bb!

  8. OMG. This post is awesome! I thought I was the only person on the planet who forgets to eat, drink and even pee while writing. And I can't tell you how glad I am that I'm not the only weirdo out there.
    I don't have a writing beret though. Maybe I should get one. And name my laptop. Hm, gotta go. Things to do. Things to do...

  9. Hey, Charlotte,

    I replace my keycaps about once every six months.

    My laptop's name is "Nitnoy" which means little in Thai.

    You are totally cool. Real writers are night people who spend from midnight to dawn transfixed by their tales. Not people like me who wake to an alarm clock.

    However, I do agree with your conclusions! And I think this is turning out to be a great topic.

  10. My lap top sits on a wood cutting board with all the scars to prove its been used. *lol*

    My day does involve coffee, and then I get sick but still have coffee flavoured with milk and sweetnlow.

    I then figure out which writing project I am behind, mostly fan fic, and I try to update.

    TV is only on as a back drop to my writing and when I get board I read fan fic. So....talk about lame.