How Your Personal Hygiene Can Help You Finish Writing Your Book

So you’re a writer. Or you try to be, anyway. With kids and doctor appointments and work and school and your spouse’s psychological mommy-issues, you’re lucky if you can manage to write one paragraph in any given day.

But suppose one day the heavens opened up, the school’s not calling you to pick your kids up, it’s slow at work, and it’s just you and your pen and your paper.

NOW you can write!

But the clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Your pen touches the paper and… You’re stuck! You’re so ecstatic by the calm in the storm that you don’t know what to write.

The last time you visited your book-to-be, you had your protagonist dangling off the edge of a cliff by his teeth. His wife was in one hand, his X-Box console in the other. Whom does he sacrifice? Whom will he save! What’s going to happen!!!

Ding! “Time’s up,” says Alex Trebek in the form of your boss checking in on you or a customer demanding your attention (or your spouse texting you with another problem about how his parents didn’t support him enough when he wanted to be an American All-Star).

Those glorious minutes you had all to yourself vanish like a mist as though they were never there, and your paper is still an empty canvas.

Take my advice. Think ahead. Prepare for those brief moments. One of my favorite times of the day is when I get to shower. That’s when I disappear mentally into my book. I analyze what I’ve already written, I dissect my characters, but most of all, I plan ahead.

ferris-buellers-day-off-1986-004-shower

He’s hanging there by his teeth, I think. He’s got his wife and his X-Box. His wife nags him, but his X-Box brings him unlimited, albeit meaningless joy. But his wife gives him kids. Does he even like his kids? But his X-Box makes him late to work, which he hates. … Hmmm… nagging wife, meaningless video games, kids that annoy him (and quite frankly isn’t even sure are his), a terrible job… THAT’S IT! He opens his mouth and screams!! Now they’re all dead! 

Then I refine and refine that scene and by the time I get those glorious undisturbed moments back five new-moons later, I don’t have to worry about that time being wasted because I already know what the next scene is going to be about and how to resolve it.

It’s kind of like, I hate that I can’t take my phone into the shower with me and watch Netflix, but at least I can play my own movie in my mind while I wash up.

So there it is. Take advantage of yourself in the shower, and you’ll be surprised what goodies you’ll pop out!

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

29 thoughts on “How Your Personal Hygiene Can Help You Finish Writing Your Book

  1. My favourite thinking time is the walk to work: an hour each way (if I don’t have to help with the school run). Most of my epiphanies have come in those hallowed 60 minutes. The only issue is getting them all down on paper when I reach the other end!

  2. I like to brain storm as I fall asleep sometimes, doing the work mentally kinda moves it along when you sit down to write.

    1. That’s why mental consistency is the key. You almost have to literally reserve a part of your brain just for your book so you don’t forget. This takes tons of training.

  3. My roommate in college wrote her thesis from the tub by propping her laptop on an overturned laundry basket, listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.. Hey, whatever works!

  4. For me, when I get thoughts and ideas about my characters for my novel during my shower. I keep my tablet close-by, so as soon as I get out of the shower I can pull up my Evernote app. I can activate it even when I am offline, and the once I get back online the new information will sync up with your account. This app is great, it will help me jot down very quick notes in a few minutes,right before I get dressed. Because, if I don’t make time to write those important notes I will forget.

  5. I can really relate with this Andrew. I find it calming to collect myself by taking a shower. Also, deadlines for some reason help as well and I started notcing that last quarter in college. An article I wrote for the school newspaper was written in two hours and it seemed to be the best thing I wrote the paper all quarter.

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