What do writers do when their magic idea fairy disappears?

Wouldn’t it be great if there were an idea fairy? She would just waft in and whack you on the head with her sparkly wand, and wham, you’d get the idea you need—whether you’re starting a piece of writing, stuck in the middle of something, or trying to wrangle something to a close. She’d be like Tinkerbell, but without the sassy outfit; she’d wear something more Brooklyn DIY funky, I think, and her wand-tip would be old typewriter keys.

Yeah. Except she doesn’t exist—or maybe the beeyatch is on strike, kicking up her magical heels with the fun fairy folk at Disney or something.

The scariest part of writing is getting started

Instead, unfortunately, we have to create our own idea fairy, every single damn time we sit down to write. And that’s why, as Stephen King said in his book On Writing, that the scariest moment is just before you start. Because what if this time, it doesn’t happen—the idea, the phrase, the “so what?” What if you can’t find the thread of what you were working on yesterday, last week, last night?

There is no guarantee that you’re going to find that thread, it’s true. But when you start taking yourself seriously as a writer (itself a scary prospect), you have to keep looking. Every day, no matter who is sick home from school or the report you’re doing for work or the papers you have to grade or the laundry piled around your knees…Every day, even if it’s only for thirty minutes. You have to put your butt in the chair and write. It’s boring advice, yet, ultimately, it’s the most important. Because if you’re not in the chair writing, then there isn’t a writer’s handbook in the world that can help you.

It would be delightful, wouldn’t it, if all of us had what Virginia Woolf wished for decades ago: rooms of our own in which to mull and ponder. Alas, if you are anything like me, your “room” is a desk in the living room or maybe it’s near the kitchen or in the bedroom or maybe it’s just a pile of papers on the floor near the couch. 

You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth: and other things you’ll hear only from your friends in the powder room

Get your butt in the chair and get yourself on the grid because it’s a prize week! Thanks to the cross-promotion of yeah write and the anthology You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth, the eligible yeah write jury prize winner and crowd favorite will get a copy of the Lipstick anthology, which contains an essay of mine, Deb Quinn, and, boy, do I feel lucky to be able to ride on the coattails of the other writers. Their essays, some of the funniest ever, are about everything from masturbating grandmas to perimenopause to breastfeeding, but you know which habit all the writers share?

They put their butts in the chair and write. 

How and where you find the time to write in comments…


Editor’s note from Erica M: Also part of the prize package and Deb’s generous offer are the classic writing books Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.

Prize week eligibility

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • Challenge grid must reach 30 or more entries on the grid; no prizes will be awarded at 29 entries or fewer
  • Jury prize winner must be a current yeah write subscriber as of the end of this week’s voting period
  • Crowd favorite winner must be a current yeah write subscriber as of the end of this week’s voting period
  • Open to U. S.,  Canada and international residents willing to supply yeah write editors their postal addresses for shipping


The speakeasy is back from summer hiatus

Now that summer is over, the speakeasy is back in business. If you’re a poet or a fiction writer, there is a challenge grid just for you. Please head on over and check it out. If you have the inclination, you can participate on both grids, however please be sure you’ll have the time to read all of the entries and vote responsibly.

Odds, ends, reminders

  • This immediate past Sunday is the earliest your submission can be dated
  • Your post can be no longer than 600 words
  • Personal essays or traditional blog anecdotes only
  • There are no weekly prompts; the topic is yours. Be compelling
  • The grid is open from Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. to Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
  • There is voting. Voting will take place Thursday from midnight to 10:00 p.m. US eastern
  • The challenge grid is limited to 50 bloggers
  • The winners’ post will be published by noon on Friday
  • No self-promotional posts are allowed on the yeah write grid, including those containing links to other blog events and Internet contests

Welcome to the 2013 fall writing season at yeah write weekly writing challenge

Yeah write #127 is open. Bring us your best stuff.