You say you want to write a novel...

Did you take a blow to the head with something heavy? Spend an unfortunate amount of time trapped beneath a rather hefty aunt? Win in a game of ‘Who can turn bluest?’ as a child?

Clearly something’s gone wrong. Everyone knows writers come to uniformly bad ends. No one in their right mind sets out to be one. Really. There have been volumes written on the subject – big ones – and all by people who’ve suffered remarkably ignominious deaths. It’s true. Look it up. I’ll wait.

Actually, no I won’t. You’re a writer – it could take you all day just to find your thumbs.

So when you say ‘I’ve got this idea for a novel’ what you really should be saying is ‘Sweet merciful God, don’t condemn me to a life of infamy and rot! Cast out this wretched thought! Leave me to bending cotter pins in the widget factory for a living, and let me be happy for it!’

It’s better that way, trust me.

I can see the look of confusion in your eyes. Fear not – I’ll take pity on you. Apparently you need some guidance if you’re to steer through the treacherous seas of near-authorhood. Rest easy. I’m here for you.

The first step in avoiding this wretched fate is to simply never conceive of such a foolish thing in the first place. Just don’t think of it. If you sense an idea for a novel stirring in the dark and sticky corners of your mind, blot it out with a rollicking game of mahjong, or maybe a bit of nine-pins. Cricket, too, works wonders for dimming even the faintest glimmers of creative thought in minds inclined toward such madness. If all else fails, a good solid dose of gin often does the trick. But beware! Used in insufficient amounts, alcohol can actually encourage the creative faculty by reducing inhibitions to such a point that writing a novel actually seems like an acceptable endeavor! Don’t be fooled. If you can still type, you haven’t drunk enough.

But seeing as you’re here, it seems clear that you’ve already failed in this first, and most basic rule for not writing your novel. Wouldn’t your mother be proud? You’ve gone and decided to write a novel and thereby condemned yourself to a life of poverty and sloth, scribbling thoughts on paper as though they were worth something. Bravo! Expect your Sandwich-board in the mail any day now. Do us a favor and try to come up with something pithier than ‘The End Is Nigh!’ to write on it, won’t you? It’s the least you could do to provide the fruitful public a
little entertainment before those charming blokes in the white coats come to take you away and install you in some state-funded, concrete ‘hospital’ to sponge away the days remaining to you.

Of course if you’ve managed to catch hold of the last scraps of your sanity before losing them in the lunatic winds that put the whole ‘novel’ idea in your head in the first place and realized that writing a book is really quite mad, perhaps there’s some hope for you yet.

In fact, there is some benefit to writing a novel. Or rather – there is some benefit being able to say you’re writing a novel. Used well, it’s a remarkably effective tool for chatting up women. Or for making large men look like pricks as they’re beating the tar out of you for chatting up their women. Also, it gives you a far better excuse for looking wan and sun-starved than ‘I just spent the last 46 hours playing Halo 3, and only stopped when the catch bucket attached to my Texas catheter grew too full.’

So seeing as you’ve already failed the first step in not writing a novel (…Not starting. Dimwit.) the best you can really hope for is to at least not finish.

That’s where Cat Vacuuming comes in. I have decided (out of the grace and goodness of my heart) to advise you, O thou lumpen fool, in how best to avoid writing your novel. No need to thank me, I haven’t time for it anyway. Instead, merely read on, dear… reader. And I shall provide you with ample distraction, diversion, and more fodder for frittering away your day than you can ever hope for.

(Now you may thank me, though I’ll take no note of it. Gratitude gives me gas.)

So come ’round often! Read. Fritter. Waste the day. And whatever you do…


6 comments to You say you want to write a novel…

  • Derrick

    Thank you so much for this insightful, witty and inspirational website!

    Before finding Cat Vacuuming, I was contemplating removing my fingers and leaving them somewhere I’d forget them in an effort to prevent writing… this website has not only saved my fingers but its also provided fresh encouragement, I thank you Sir!

  • Congratulations, Brett, on your new website. It’s hilarious.
    Now, get down to finishing your book, would ya?!

  • admin

    Derrick – I live to serve. I’m pleased that I could be so instrumental in saving your phalanges from the pruner!

    Marie – Thanks!! I will. 😀

  • Jen


    But I’m not gonna lie to you, dude, that little Twitter bird over on the right is starting to creep me out. His eyes follow me around the room!

  • Tina

    Cool! Now I have a blogger to follow… my NY resolution resolved.

  • BWRS

    Jen – He’s more cunning than he looks!

    Tina – We are PLEASED.

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