"It makes getting out of bed so much easier" – One bestseller's trick for never getting stalled on the page

This year, we probably got the most nerdy literary joy out of creating September’s Big 10 issue of WD, for which the editor of the magazine and I had a chance to get in touch with a handful of our favorite writers. We asked each of them for a Top 10 list on some facet of writing, and the awesome Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) delivered his Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life. One of those is the latest in Promptly’s Top 20 Tips From WD in 2010 series. A regular prompt follows (and a swag drawing is on its way Friday). Here’s to the power of the subconscious.

No. 9: Snooze as Muse
Knowing Where to Stop: My favorite ‘trick’ is to stop writing at a point where I know that I can pick up easily the next day. I’ll stop in midparagraph, often in midsentence. It makes getting out of bed so much easier, because I know that all I’ll have to do to be productive is complete the sentence. And by then I’ll be seated at my desk, coffee and Oreo cookie at hand, the morning’s inertia overcome. There’s an added advantage: The human brain hates incomplete sentences. All night my mind will have secretly worked on the passage and likely mapped out the remainder of the page, even the chapter, while simultaneously sending me on a dinner date with Cate Blanchett.”
—Erik Larson, “The WD Interview Takes Ten,” September 2010 (check out the rest of the issue here)

[And, as a bonus—]

“Physical Diversion: When I stop writing, I need an escape—something that takes me out of the work and wholly into another realm. My main diversion is tennis, though I also find cooking to be very helpful. Something about chopping onions is very restorative. Dogs are helpful, too. They force you to go outside and confront the weather, although my dog did once eat a 19th-century edition of a British physicist’s autobiography.”

Image: Joe Mabel [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Quotes/Clichés/Sayings
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional
around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at
writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

Start a story with one of your least favorite quotes, clichés or sayings. End it with one of your favorites.

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

8 thoughts on “"It makes getting out of bed so much easier" – One bestseller's trick for never getting stalled on the page

  1. replica watches

    To create a Breitling Breitling

    classic look will inevitably bring about a suitable successor to the original such a

    challenge: Grand Classic’s new watch line that originated in omega omega northern Germany, Glashutte watch this family has

    been insisting on the principle of maximum functionality. At first glance, the new Grand

    Classic Reserve is a typical, familiar, classic Tutima watches, based on cartier
    cartier the legendary aviation

    history Tutima chronograph design. However, a closer look reveals, stainless steel case has

    been updated: large polished fluted rotating bezel and U boat U boat red mark the location of twelve Chung is timeless elegant

    design with the best combination of readability. Movement ETA 2892-A2/Tutima equipped to

    provide power reserve display and Hublot Hublot large date display, marking the technology matures and the perfect

    direction. These new watches designed by watches replica watches replica the best designers, ensuring optimal performance. What’s

    more, 43 mm diameter case in any case it is very atmospheric.

  2. junpeng wang

    <strong>ghd Iv mini styler hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>limited edition ghd radiance set</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd styling set hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd rare styler new hair straightener</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd styling set hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd purple hair straighteners gift set</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd pink hair straighteners gift set</strong>|<br>
    <strong>Blue Serenity GHD IV Styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv pink styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv pure styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>Green Envy GHD IV Styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv black styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv dark styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv salon styler hair straightener</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv mini styler hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>Red Lust GHD IV Styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>Purple Indulgence GHD IV Styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd black hair straighteners gift set</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Precious</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd styling set hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd rare styler hair straighteners</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv kiss styler</strong>|<br>
    <strong>ghd Iv gold styler</strong>|<br>

  3. Jennifer

    “’What if it’s true?’ I’d like to know how many times in your life you think you’ve heard that one,” I asked the man, the legend – Christopher Hitchens. What I did to deserve the opportunity to interview him, I’ll never know. It’s all I can do to pay attention to what he’s saying instead of –

    “…to count. It’s a staple of the usual ignorant dogma that’s–“

    Thank God I’m taping this – "Thank God", what if I had just said something like that out loud to this man? My stupid brain is still so steeped in all of that religious drivel. When does it end? Oh! That’s a good question. No, he’s probably been asked about this before. I should have done more research. I’ll stick with the questions I’ve –

    “…used to it.”

    “And Mr. Hitchens, can you tell me about some of the most important things that you have learned from your many debates? What lessons have you been able to glean, if any, from these experiences?”

    “That’s a very interesting question. Not much. But I’d have to say that, in most -“

    Look at his face, of course that wasn’t interesting. At least he’s patient enough to humor me. How could I blow this? The man is clearly about to keel over at any minute and I’m just sitting–

    “…but, don’t you think?”

    I laugh, nod in agreement, and touch his arm.

    “Definitely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I’m sure I bored you to tears with all of my abysmal questions and I –“

    “Oh, no. I wouldn’t say that. But I would tell you to remember that the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”

  4. Mark James

    Out of the frying pan into the fire. I don’t know why I was thinking that. I thought it was stupid. I like my hotel room upgraded. Trouble, not so much.

    Prison isn’t as bad it looks on TV. You know how “Day in A Cubicle Gulag” shows prisoners fighting over food and clawing each others’ eyes out for desks by the window? It’s not like that. You sit where the Row Wardens tell you, or forget about frying pans and fires. They will make you sorry you ever breathed.

    So yesterday, I’m in my cubicle, racking up production. I’d answered five hundred e-mails. I only had another eighty to go before I could go to my cell for the night. Jalin was my Row Warden. He was big and mean and he liked it when his row fell short on production. It gave him a chance to upgrade our troubles. I only had about an hour to go, when Sade (yeah, that’s his real name) went walking down my row.

    I don’t think that man can do right by his wife if he hasn’t screwed someone over before he goes home from Prison Office. I ducked my head down and kept right on typing. “Hey,” he said, stopping at my desk, pretending to be my best bud, “you still stupid or did you move up to idiot?”

    I’d tried, but I couldn’t imagine him out of his Prison Guard suit and tie uniform, and at home relaxing with the wife and kids. What did he say, “Hey honey, get the hell over here before I kick your pretty little ass?”

    I kept on typing. The counter at the bottom of my screen clicked over to 503.

    “I’m talking to you Prisoner 2877982,” Sade said.

    “Yes, Sir,” I said. “You are.”

    Jalin walking the rows was the sweetest sight I ever saw. He came up behind Sade and said very quietly, “Help you with something, son?”

    Sade kept his psycho eyes on me and said, “Just checking on the Prisoners in your row.”

    “They’re all here,” Jalin said. “Where are you supposed to be, Sade?”

    “In Hell,” I murmured.

    “Did you hear that?” Sade said. “Disrespecting a senior Officer of the Prison Company.”

    “Didn’t hear anything but you flapping your worthless gums,” Jalin said. “Get off my row.”

    Sade was a bully, and like every bully who ever walked the earth, he was a coward. He took in Jalin’s hard eyes and decided he didn’t want his ass to be shining the Row Warden’s shoes. He took off, almost, but not quite running.

    I smiled. Jalin turned to me. I stopped smiling. In fact, I stopped moving. “You need to keep your smart mouth shut. I’m adjusting your queue for the night.”

    As soon as Jalin got back to his desk, the counter at the bottom of my screen rolled to zero. It was going to be Solitary Confinement for me. Bars lowered down from the ceiling and clunked into place around my cube. I wasn’t going anywhere until the counter hit 500 again.

    My fingers hurt. My back ached. And my neck was killing me. But it was all worth it to see Sade walking away with his tail between his legs. I laughed at the thought.

    What can I say? He who laughs last, laughs best.

  5. Baron

    <strong>Monster Beats Studio Kobe Bryant Limited Edition Headphones</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Beats Tour In-Ear Headphones with ControlTalk</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Butterfly by Vivienne Tam with ControlTalk High Performance</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster beats by dre studio Headphones Ferrari-Limited Edition</strong><br/>
    <strong>Lady Gaga Heartbeats In-Ear Headphones – Bright Chrome</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Lady Gaga Heartbeats In-Ear Headphones – Rose Red</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Lady Gaga Heartbeats In-Ear Headphones Bright Chrome</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Beats Studio Kobe Bryant Limited Edition Headphones</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Beats Tour In-Ear Headphones W/ControlTalk Black/Red</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Butterfly by Tam ControlTalk Pe Ear</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster beats by dre studio Headphones Ferrari-Limited Edition</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Heartbeats by Lady Gaga High Performance In-Ear Headphone</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Heartbeats by Lady Gaga High Performance In-Ear Headphone-red</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Complete Yellow Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Limited Edition Lamborghini Microphone Headphone</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Kobe Monster Beats Bryant Limited Edition Studio Dr Dre High Definition travel DJ Mic Headphone</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Tour with ControlTalk High Performance – headphones</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Monster Beats Butterfly by Vivienne Tam ControlTalk High Performance In-Ear Headphones</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>red beats by dr dre</strong>|<br/>
    <strong>Lady Gaga Heartbeats In-Ear Headphones Bright Chrome</strong>|<br/>

  6. Janel

    “It’s so true!” Lisa took another sip of her frou-frou pink drink. “Blondes do have more fun!”

    My husband’s new secretary giggled and strutted across the room, leaving me alone with my eggnog and a bad attitude. I spotted Ed’s wife looking at me, a grim look on her face. Her husband’s new secretary, another Barbie look-alike, was in the middle of a knot of salesmen nearby. I could almost hear her purring in satisfaction as one by one, the men of the office left their wives and dates to drool over her, hanging on her every, pathetic word.

    I surveyed the rest of the room. My husband was in a dark corner of the room, laughing and smiling at Lisa. He looked more like a love-struck teenager than a CEO. There had been a lot of new employees coming into the company over the last year. Many of the long-time secretaries and assistants were retiring, being replaced with the Barbie Brigade. Michael told me it was a “cost-saving measure”. They didn’t have to pay the bleached and silicone-enhanced replacements as much money.

    Michael pulled his phone out of his pants pocket and stared at the display. He said something to Lisa. She shrugged and drained the rest of her drink. More men were answering their phones. The scent of panic was spreading across the room like a bad rash.

    “What’s the matter, honey?” I selected a bottle of top-shelf whiskey from the bar’s assortment and added a nice glug to my cup of eggnog.

    “There’s a problem.” Michael grabbed the bottle from me and poured himself a double. “Lisa didn’t place a critical order last week and production has stopped.”

    I smiled and took a sip of my nutmeg-scented drink, “You get what you paid for.”

  7. Evelyn

    There’s an old saying that all is fair in love and war. So when I cooked up my pot of chili to enter in the first annual Oneida Chili War, I had no qualms about stirring in my secret ingredient, marijuana. The weed gave my chili a hint of nutty flavor, and inspired the judges to eat a whole lot more of it, and everything else.

    The contest was going like I had dreamed. The crowd was buzzing over my chili, and I made it to the final round. That five-hundred dollar grand-prize would have been mine, if Banjo hadn’t shown up.

    Everyone in the Town of Oneida loved Banjo. He made the first page of the Oneida Gazette when he sniffed out Bobby-Joe Briggs from the bushes behind Henderson’s Market. Bobby-Joe had knocked over Mabel Henderson and grabbed all the cash from the register. But, he didn’t get far; Banjo made sure of that.

    Banjo, ninety-pounds of pure German Shepherd, was a veteran of the police force, and Sheriff McKenzie’s secret weapon. He was smart, agile, and great at tracking people. I never considered he’d be able to track non-people things too. But when I posed on stage with a bowl of my chili for the grand-prize winner snap-shot, Banjo’s nose began to twitch.

    Banjo broke free from Sheriff McKenzie. He ran between Jimmy Crane’s legs, leapt onto the stage, and flattened me. Chili splattered everywhere. At first everyone was dumbfounded at Banjo’s behavior, but then the judges, and the Sheriff put two and two together, and I got thrown in the clink.

    I no longer believe those old sayings. I found out the hard way, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

  8. Dare Gaither

    “I told you so.”

    John clenched his jaw and gunned the engine.
    The tires spun freely, digging the car even deeper into the snow-filled ditch.

    Yes, she had told him so.
    That must be the least helpful phrase in the English language.
    After a long weekend with the in-laws, braving the icy road home
    seemed well worth the risk. She disagreed.

    “You know we’ll end up in a ditch somewhere.”

    John shoved open the door and stepped into the frigid air.
    The crunch of his footsteps in the wet snow was a
    comforting sound after Meredith’s damning words.
    He took his time assessing their situation, although it was
    immediately obvious they were well and truly stuck.
    He would have to call for help.

    Meredith’s triumphant glare greeted him when he got back in the car.

    “I called Daddy. He’s on his way with the Jeep to pull us out.”

    Daddy is on the way.
    Maybe Mama would be with him
    Could this day get any better?

    As they waited for Daddy’s arrival, Meredith passed the time
    by calling all her friends to tell them what he had done to her.
    Her last call was to her mother for the sole purpose of listing
    his every failure and shortcoming. At least it meant Mama
    wasn’t coming with Daddy help.

    The glow of headlights finally appeared in the distance.
    John got out to meet Meredith’s father as the familiar Jeep
    pulled alongside his stranded vehicle.
    John had to admit he was genuinely glad to see him.

    Meredith shivered by the side of the road as the two men
    hooked a chain to the axle of the stuck car.

    “Sorry about this.”

    John gruffly apologized for the inconvenience he had caused.

    “Glad to help.” Meredith’s father was very gracious about it.
    “I would have done the same thing. It’s good to see you folks,
    but three days is plenty long enough!”

    John laughed out-loud.
    A wink from his father-in-law offered a
    friendship John greatly appreciated…especially now.

    The trusty Jeep had no problem pulling the car
    out of the ditch. John’s push from behind was more
    for Meredith’s benefit than to offer any real help.

    “Thank you for saving us Daddy!” Meredith said sweetly,
    tossing a smug look in John’s direction.
    “Maybe we should just go back home with you.”

    John’s heart skipped a beat.
    He would rather walk home than face his mother-in-law.

    “No, you’d be safer to just go on to your house now.”

    John hid a smile as Meredith’s father helped her into the car.

    “I’ll follow you to the main road. It should be clear from there.”

    John waved gratefully as they pulled onto the main road
    and Meredith’s father turned around and headed back.
    They would be home soon.
    He gave a sigh of relief,remembering his favorite
    version of an old saying.

    “All’s well that ends.”


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.