Today is one of those days you beg for a do-over. Do-over! Perhaps you left your keys in the plastic bag tube in the backyard when you went to pick up dog poo yesterday and think perhaps some innocent took your keys and the carpool of middle schoolers is waiting like birds at an empty feeder while you mutter to yourself and dig through the couch cushions looking for said keys. Perhaps you are out of milk, or coffee, god forbid, and you woke up with a cough at 3am and knew better but read until 5 anyway.
So in this mood, I give you 10 ways not to write. Please do not try them. Unless you want to. If you try them and then you need a cookie, let me know.
1) Rummage through your writing books looking for the one that has the writing topic that you know will get you started. The writing books you find will be the ones with topics which, while perfectly good for other writers, simply give you a headache and arthritic fingers and you eat a short stack of Thin Mints and have to go to the bathroom.
2) Sent texts and emails and call your writing friends. Tell them you are stuck. Then, when they write back with ideas, disregard these ideas. Instead, ask them if they've ever been stuck. Tell them how it feels to be stuck, like trying to zip-up a too-tight boot. Do not write down any metaphors. Make them stuck, too, and make plans for coffee and discuss the laundry soap that makes someone in the family break out in hives.
3) Look over your old writing. Do this purely with the intention of finding something you love and returning to it, Sharpie in hand, to determine that it is crap and you should never write again. Find that you can't find anything you love anyway and your Sharpie is dried up.
4) Discover you have 248 unread messages in your email or Twitter or Facebook or whatever you do to avoid writing. Reread these, but don't answer, or tweet, or twit, or whatever it is. Decide that tweeting is twee. That no one has anything real and succinct and true to say. Especially you. You have nothing to say. You are wordless. You like the word wordless but it isn't particularly fresh. Neither is writing in a second-person point of view, but hey, you left your decaf out too long (remember? you ran out of regular coffee. You had some wretched hazelnut decaf from 1982 behind the unused canning jars, and you made it, but it smells like peatmoss) and you don't have any milk to make it taste better, anyway.
5) Go for a walk. This is an excellent way a) to exercise the dog and b) to spontaneously hatch idea after idea, word after word. You only brought your dried-up Sharpie and a reciept from the gas station, but pause to etch down some of those brilliant ideas. Forget that you have the scrap in your hand when you pick up the dog poo. Idea over, man.
6) Read blogs about writing.
7) Read blogs about things other than writing.
8) Organize your pen cup. This is a good way to find change, the earring back you've been missing for six years, a crochet hook, and the hidden harvest left by the tooth fairy. This is not a good way to write, but then, you're not actually trying to write, are you?
9) Sign up for a writing class. Since you've been writing blog posts for three years, you think maybe it's time to try something different. Go for poetry, sonnets in particular. Form first, and then the flow. Try to read some sonnets. Shakespeare was brilliant! He wrote about writing! He had meter down and he made bawdy jokes about leeks! Decide you need to make leek soup. You don't have enough vitamins in your life to write. Why did you sign up for the sonnet, anyway? You are afraid of sonnets. Sonnets have too many lines.
10) Butt, meet chair. Pen, meet paper, or fingers to keyboard. Make a list and check it twice: ten ways not to write.
And it isn't even April Fool's Day yet!