If You Give a Writer a Laptop…

mouseFor editors everywhere… With apologies to Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.

If you give a writer a laptop, you can assign him a story.  When he starts the story, his fingernails will click on the keyboard. He’ll stop typing. My fingernails are too long to write a story, he’ll say. He’ll ask you for the fingernail clippers.  You’ll tell him he’s wasting time, but How can I type with clicking nails? he’ll argue.

fingernailWhen you find him the fingernail clippers, he’ll clip his nails.  When he clips his nails, one of his nail bits will fall into his keyboard. His “g” will stop workin_.  So he’s _oin_ to ask you for one of those little sucky thin_s you used when your baby had a snotty nose. You’ll roll your eyes, and tell him he’s really wastin_ time. But I’m a writer, he’ll say, “_’s” are my specialty!

So you’ll have to _et him a sucky thin_ from your _ara_e. When you _ive him the sucky thin_, he’ll suck out his fingernail. His “g” will work again. He’ll want to buy you coffee.  You’ll say there’s not enough time, but he’ll say he’s not in the mood to write till he has some coffee. You’ll take him to the coffee shop.

When you get to the coffee shop, he’ll order a “half carafe skinny double-caff cap.”  He’ll see some writer friends there, also getting in the mood.  He’ll want to visit with them. You’ll look at your watch and tell him to quit stalling.  He’ll ask you for ten minutes. When thirty minutes are up, he’ll get in the car with you.

On the way home, he’ll see a Walmart. He’ll remember he needs paper for his printer. He’ll ask you to stop.  You accuse him of procrastinating.  He looks hurt and promises to meet his deadline. You tell him you’ve heard that one before. While you’re shopping for paper, he’ll see the men’s shirt aisle.

He’ll remember his old lucky writing shirt has a hole so he’ll shop for a new lucky writing shirt. You tell him writing has nothing to do with lucky writing shirts and he snaps at you that he’s an artist and it’s all about being in the mood. He’ll buy a lucky Hawaiian writing shirt with palm trees on it.

hawaiianshirtAt the checkout, you’ll remember the paper. He’ll ask you to run and get a ream. You’ll mutter curses under your breath, but you know how writers are.  You get the paper, the shirt, the writer, and head home.

When you get home, the writer will yawn big. He’ll say he’s tired. Whew, it’s been a long, hard day of work, and I need a nap, he’ll suggest. You’ll hurl your coffee at him.  His shirt will be splattered with scalding double-caff cap.

He’ll scream Ouch!

You’ll feel bad and apologize.  No problem, he’ll say, I’m not only an artist, I’m a tormented artist, so pain is good.  He’ll say it helps his writing. He’ll strip off the coffee-stained shirt. I have a new lucky Hawaiian writing shirt right here, he’ll say.  He’ll pull it from the Walmart bag and put it on.  You’ll think he’s ready to write, so you’ll bring him his laptop.

When he puts on his new shirt, a tag will itch his neck. I can’t get this tag off, he’ll complain, scratching his itch. I’ll need something to cut it off with.  He’ll ask you for the fingernail clippers.

And chances are, when you give him the clippers…

…he’s going to want some coffee to go with it.


To meet your Inner Procrastinator… at the Inner Mess website.  Click.


18 thoughts on “If You Give a Writer a Laptop…

  1. 🙂 🙂 Well this is hilarious. I personally hate when my fingernails click the keyboard. And my lucky writing shirt is actually a sweatshirt. And… I just started a new writing class (second city) that is soooo good!

  2. Dear Dr G,

    Speaking of writing, and since it directly relates to “reading”, I wanted to ask for your help on a matter of vital importance to my spiritual wellbeing:

    I recently downloaded the free Kindle for iPhone app from Amazon.com . I’d purchase a real Kindle but they are $359, so that will have to wait. In the meantime, Amazon representatives have assured me that if I purchase books for the free Kindle for iPhone app, and later purchase the Kindle itself, I will be able to transfer them over. This made me very happy, and I headed for the Kindle Store to pick out some books.

    I really wanted to learn how to keep my inner mess from trashing my outer world. I have a book in paper form that helps me with this, purchased not long ago at a book signing in Redding. It’s even autographed by the author. Can you believe that? Being as this book is not always with me when I travel, however, I wanted to download it to my iPhone (because the iPhone IS always with me when I travel). Imagine my disappointment to learn that this book is not yet available for Kindle! You’d think the earth had come to an end!

    So… I clicked on a link that tells Amazon to tell the publisher that I would like to see this book offered for the Kindle, and the website thanked me and assured me they’d let said publisher know about my request. BUT, I figured a certain Dr. G might be able to help hasten this request into reality, and am hereby making said request here on your blog as well.

    Can you help me with this important matter?

    Thank you in advance,

    – P. Dizzle –

  3. Dear P.,
    I’ll look into. But hey, why not just shell out the $359? That way when you graaduate to Kindle 3, I can inherit your old one, like you did with the iPhone. That’s my advice.
    Hey… come to think of it, chasing down this Kindle thing could be the perfect way to waste a week of afternoons…

  4. I’ve seen some pretty “tormented” pianists playing – at least they LOOK tormented!

    Also, I’m wondering if you’ve heard anything from the above-mentioned publisher about the above-mentioned book by the above-mentioned famous author whether or not this famous book has made it to a particular book seller in England to be shipped to some very fortunate pastors there?????

  5. Congratulations !

    You have described the requirements to go into full time sales. They include the ability to put off scheduling appointments, not prepare presentations until the last minute, delay departure times and travel arrangements until actually on the road and a host of other advanced techniques only known by a gifted group.

    I need a heads up before you teach on procrastination, it just isn’t right to make a guy squirm that much, no matter how much fun it is to watch from the stage.

  6. Oh no, musician and writer–I’m doomed.

    Hilarious–and I read this very book, in a giant format, to my adorable grandbaby this very afternoon.


  7. Baaaa! Sounds like my day! Well, except going out for coffee and shirts, I’m changing diapers, checking homework, cleaning muddy footprints off the walls, breaking up fights over Legos…

  8. So if you give a writer a pen, the scenario probably won’t change that much, will it? What hopeless romantics all writers are–and so sure the deadline will be met until, like, the day before. If creative types just weren’t so predictable…they wouldn’t be any fun to tease.

  9. So now you know why most of us only actually write from 2:00 to 2:15 a.m., after which we have to stop and have breakfast, during which we channel surf and end up on the phone talking to the host of the PBS share-a-thon or scrambling to buy the last faux diamond tennis bracelet on QVC….

  10. I love this book! It has a lot of memories for me. I work at a school we read this book a lot, however, I bought this book for my dad when he turned 61 yrs. old because I used it to describe his journey when he was buying a new hd tv. It lead to buying more furniture, and then a bigger hd tv. The other one was too small for the new entertainment system. :0)

Comments are closed.