Monday, May 23, 2011

The Emergency Supply Kit for Writers, only $19.95

by Hilde Garcia

I wasn't feeling very literary tonight. Not inspired, even though it is a new year. Trying to query more often because I promised Sue I would, and because, well, I do want to get published, but finding it more daunting with every click.

So I found something to make me laugh and thought I'd re post it in case you are feeling the blues, too.  Funny, I wrote this about 5 years ago, and it still applies 100% and the laundry on my bed still looks the same.

The only difference is that now, I write almost all the time with my computer and very little with my pen, and I have a full time teaching job, which although makes me long for the good old days of no paycheck and some free time, now gives me one more awesome place to write- my classroom. On any given Sunday, I will hide out and accomplish bundles, even volumes!

Alas, today was not one of those days. There was no internet and no heat. I gave up and came home to a raging game of Monopoly, in which my daughter cleaned out her brother and their close pal.  I sat in front of my computer, watching them, thawing out my fingers, and woke up with drool on the keyboard. It is amazing that I haven't short circuited this thing.

In any case, I found 4 publishing houses that might be a fit and now I will spend the rest of the evening getting those submission letters out via email.  I hope you will enjoy this post as it was one of my favorites.

Happy New Year from all of us at Pen and Ink.

by Hilde, originally posted 5/2011

In a perfect world of yesteryear, one could retire to an antique wood desk in an attic study and write their masterpiece uninterrupted by children, phone calls, texts or emails. Armed with only a plume, ink and parchment, anyone could have finished a draft and it might even be good under these conditions.

However, in today’s war zone world of beeps and whistles, dings and multimedia image bombardment, all competing for room in our brain, we’re lucky if any ideas find their way out. They, the constant things that pull us away from writing, will kill us if we don’t have a survival kit in place.

Therefore please use My YA Emergency Supply Kit in hopes that your story, fighting for freedom in your mind, sees the light of day.

1- Keep a chocolate stash. Any kind will do. If it’s free, even better. (See’s Candies gives samples, so bring several disguises, stock up and then hide the samples in zip lock bags). Put it where your kids and significant other can’t find it. Stash it and forget about it. When you’re desperate, you’ll remember exactly where you hid it. And don’t put it all in the same place. Trust no one with that information.

No idea? Eat a pound of chocolate, something will surface.

2- Blank journals or plain wire bound notebooks- single subject. Stash a few blank ones around the house and garage. When all the noise gets to be too much, hide and write. The best places to hide? Under the pile of laundry. If it is as big as mine, you can just sit on the other side and say nothing. They’ll never find you. The garage is also good, behind the boxes. The bathroom works if you’ve dead bolted the door and put the noisy heater on so you can’t hear them. Also good- the back seat of the car, if you have no car seats.

Computers are good, but if you don’t own laptop which you can pick up and move, and they’re coming to get you, grab paper and hide. (And now that I have an iPhone, I have even written on that thing which is super portable, too.)

3- And of course, PENS. Papermate, flexi grip elite, medium point, blue ink. They last forever and are comfy and can go the distance. It’s hard to keep these in my drawer with sticky fingers so I tend to wear mine around my neck. (It has a nifty clip feature and no cap to loosen). Have pen, will write. I’ve written on the back of receipts, recycled paper, my kids’ homework- already graded. If it’s a blazing good idea, no paper or surface is sacred.

And eyeliner works as well as pens when in a pinch.

4- Other necessities:
a. warm comfy socks, can’t write if your toes are cold.
b. JELL-O, cherry flavored, good for a quick mind energy spurt (especially at midnight like now, yum). (And an original comment suggested whipped cream on the JELL-O. I concur.)
c. The remote- make sure you know where it is- sometimes Lifetime TV wins over writing and can provide inspiration. (Having to look for the remote kills the buzz.)
d. A pint of ice cream- Cherry Garcia… or Butter Pecan or whatever is in the freezer.

Anything is acceptable as long as the whole pint is yours.

And when all that fails, open a beer. It can’t make it any worse.

5- And most importantly, an idea. You are SOL without that. And when you do have that idea, protect it at any cost.

a. Turn off email- that ding will boot your idea right out of your head.
b. Turn off phones. If they really want you, they’ll call back.
c. Ignore your kids! That’s why TV and toys were invented.
d. Sign off of Facebook, Twitter, My Space and all things networking.
Every tweet or FB notice is a moment lost on your book. 

Writing your YA novel is like a war in today’s world when you are competing for quiet time in a hostile terrain. You have enemy distractions coming in from all angles. You have to take cover until your idea is safely on paper.

Don’t let them get it. Don’t let them win. Write it out. Write on. The writers will persevere, in spite of the intrusions.

Don’t worry about how good your writing is. Just write it. You can fix it in revision. BUT you can’t rewrite it if you haven’t written it in the first place.

Now go and get that chocolate.


  1. I'm probably not that busy since I'm single and have no kids...but there are still days it feels this ridiculously ChAoTiC.

    Thanks for the inspiration...back to work.

  2. Wonderful. This gives writers a new excuse for hoarding sweets and letting the laundry pile up. Thanks, Hilde!

  3. I note cookies in plastic thingy. Dare I hope they will appear at group tomorrow? Excellent post. I'm off to check my chocolate stash and I put Papermate, flexi grip elite, medium point, blue ink on my shopping list. I don't have that kind.

  4. Loved this. May I add, it's also a good kit for middle grade writers, too. I would also add whipped cream for the jello. Yum. Thanks for this! Joanne Rocklin

  5. checking to see how easy commenting is

  6. Great suggestions, Susan. I can relate to keeping a stash of essential nutrients---you know Vitamin B-urgers, Vitamin C-hocolate, Vitamin D-onuts. But I'd have to say the very best part is when you gave me permission to turn off the e-mail, facebook and phone. I think I'll be giving that a try first thing tomorrow right after the coffee is ready....

  7. "Can't write if your toes are cold." True that. Socks are KEY.

  8. My dining room/office is littered with #2 and 3! Great post.

  9. Hmm...cookies...slobber, slobber, slobber.
    Senor Cookie Monster


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