Because Books Don’t Write Themselves

Let me get the self-denigration out of the way. Because I am amused.

This morning, in our efforts to be environmentally conscientious citizens, Bryon and I are juggling our schedules to take one car. We have failed in this effort twice this week, so we were extra cautious this morning. At 7:15 a.m., he dropped me off at Coffee Talk, and I picked up my latte and walked to work. It takes me twenty-five minutes to accomplish this task. I finished the drink, navigated the construction, and made my way onto the campus.

Here’s where things get a little complicated. When I drive, that’s one of the times I get my best story ideas. Walking too is a good time, especially walking alone, which I seldom do. So, I’m walking and thinking, thinking and walking, and I…sort of forgot I was walking. I was so immersed in my WIP, and my feet were tangled, and, well, I fell.

No injuries. Minor owies only. And no embarrassment, as no one was around to see me take my tumble.

This used to happen to me all the time when I was a kid! It was another option in that “weird kid doesn’t fit in pack” that I bought before birth. Usually, this seldom happens nowadays, but I guess it still can if conditions are right. So, moral of the story–sit down if you notice a writing trance coming on. If.

Do any of you experience anything similar?


I’ve been working at the college an awful lot this week. All administrative, all the time. That makes me tired. It’s been hard to motivate myself to write and do what needs to be done. But you know, I like having words to work with. I like falling into the trance. I like being able to say to my writing buddies, “Yes, I too have been working on…something” and then be able to pull something out to read.

I like that. And it would be awesome if it could be like that all the time. But there are times when you really struggle to find time to write. As a matter of fact, Miranda Suri just did a post on this. It’s a busy time of year for academics after all, so I know I’m not the only one feeling the crunch and the drain. And speaking of the drain, sometimes that demanding life just doesn’t let you feel like you’re writing. And of course, the shadow of my father-in-law’s situation and Bryon’s depression isn’t doing much here either.


Birds gotta fly. Fish gotta swim. Writer gotta write. Books don’t write themselves. Ain’t no way I’ll ever get to see Bryon’s little face light up because I’ve bought him a Lost in Space robot if I don’t write the book, send the book out, and do all those things. DO them. Not THINK about doing them.

Which is an easy trap to fall into. You know, I used to not have the time to write. Until I decided that I would make the time. I’ll admit it’s not always easy, but it’s not like I can come back and find a manuscript ready on my desk. Unless I leave out more milk for the writing faeries.


Speaking of playing, nothing stimulates a writer to write like being around other writing writers. Or, writing writers write around right writing writers. Wiscon’s coming. That’s gotta help. And maybe some fellow writers and I could schedule some Internet play dates, once I get back from Europe.


Better get in some more work before there’s another student call. Loves me some students, but today is not really productive.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “Because Books Don’t Write Themselves”

  1. Lately I’ve been taking walks every day (to counteract the excessive amount of sitting I do at work). I also use these walks as a time to carry around my camera to a photo for the day. And naturally walking + looking around at everything except where I’m walking = lots and lots of stumbling.

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