During the month of November, I've been attempting to write a whole, new novel. As I type this blog, I am up to 40,000 words and seventy-something pages. The process has been miraculous. Every day, I sit down in front of my lap top, and more words pour out. So far, I'm pleased with what I'm producing. It's in a raw state, will certainly need polishing and embellishing, but I think I'll have the bare bones of a decent crime novel finished by the end of this month. I've discovered it's all about focus.

For example, this morning I forgot to brush my hair. I discovered this fact in the car, on my way to teach a class. I had no hairbrush with me so there was no way to remedy the situation. In fact, it's afternoon now, and I STILL haven't brushed it. Yes, I'm letting some things slide. I think I've vacuumed only once this month. Maybe twice. And I have an Akita who is shedding. If you don't know what that means, think dust elephants instead of dust bunnies. But it's all good.

The stuff that is absolutely vital is still getting done. We have food in the fridge and I even cook some of it on occasion. Laundry is happening. Lots of things are dirtier than normal, but no one is suffering from any incurable disease because of it. My teenager is making her own meals most of the time now. My husband is cleaning the kitchen when the filth becomes intolerable to him. And I am mostly just writing.

When I gave birth to my first baby, I had this kind of focus. I was taking care of a newborn all day and all night, nursing on demand, and sleeping for two hour stretches in between. This was about as long as either of my babies ever slept for the first two years. Because my main concern was my own health and my baby's health, I did almost nothing besides care for our basic needs. And there is something very freeing about becoming so focused.

It is also possible that I am just lazy and hate cleaning. This novel-writing is a really great excuse to get out of things. My husband is terribly supportive, saying things like "Don't worry about it." And "You're doing a great job." He has no idea how my writing is going as he hasn't read any of this new one, but he is very gung-ho about the process. And the fact that I'm so focused.

So you might want to try it yourself. Get yourself a focus and drop everything else. Don't feel guilty about the state of your house or your hair. Let me know how it goes.


  1. Hilarious post, Liz! I'm glad to see that with all your novel writing, you still have enough time, wit, and words left over to blog regularly and entertain your readers. Kudos to you on your focus, your progress with your latest manuscript, and your supportive family.

    My house is in the same situation (although I suspect I use writing as an excuse because I hate housecleaning). I have 2 cats so I totally sympathize with the pet hair issue. You know, raw food is not only a healthy diet choice, it can be a timesaver for busy writers! :o)

    Keep up the good work - I look forward to reading your new novel.

    - Susan


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