How NOT to Write a Book

My grandson Alex, who turned 13 last weekend, just created an instructional video to satisfy an assignment for one of his middle school classes. He chose to demonstrate how to clean a toilet.

I was wondering how I would fulfill such a requirement. My first thought was ‘How to Write a Book’. However, my second thought was even better. The name of an assigned reading in one of my undergraduate classes: How Not To Write A Play by New York Times theater critic Walter Kerr, popped into my head. Since I am quite an expert on the topic of NOT writing a book, having spent the first sixty-some years of my life succeeding at it, I decided to create a helpful list for those in the same situation.

1.  Go through your recently received Christmas cards and letters, re read the letters and check to see that all addresses are up to date. Make all necessary changes and deletions in your address book.  Sit and ruminate about the people who sent them, how you met, what they do, their life stories.

2.  Begin writing your life history, year by year, on Google Docs so that it can be amended at a moment’s notice. This is a good one because you will continually think of stories to add.

3.  Join a health club, preferably one that is a twenty-minute drive from your home and located near a Starbucks outlet where you can refresh yourself after the exertion.

4.  Make sure you ask a friend to join you there for a coffee

5.  If you live near a university you can walk up the street to enjoy the library or a public lecture, a drama or music performance and, during the right season, catch a basketball game, a football game, or tennis or soccer or volleyball. In good weather you can just sit in the quad and watch the people go by.

6.  Schedule plenty of weekly and monthly meetings with various groups.

7.  Go though your wardrobe and think about each piece of clothing. What memories does it bring back? How many times have you worn it? Is it comfortable? Can you part with it?

8.  Buy a fire stick or Hulu or other streaming device, get a Netflix subscription and binge watch all the series that could possibly inspire you to begin that book you want to write.

9.  Create your own list of how NOT to write a book.

10. Decide to give your house a really really good cleaning. Just in case you have forgotten how to clean a toilet you can consult Alex’ video:

7 thoughts on “How NOT to Write a Book

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    1. I love this!! We are of like mind. 🙂 More great strategies to help us ignore our inner muses. I wonder why mine irritates me so much? Why don’t I just listen to her in the first place? Perhaps it is part of the game.


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