Writing Mumbo Jumbo

Before I began teaching writing, I was a writer. I was immersed daily in the lives of my characters and the world of shopping my manuscript. I was an active blogger at Once Upon a Novelist, sharing my daily experiences: the trials and triumphs.

Now that I work with young, aspiring writers, I want to share some of these “flashback” blogs to give some insight into the mind of a writer and what that looks and feels like… below is the first flashback…

Flashback Blog: From April 24, 2009 at Once Upon a Novelist

Is it just me or does writing turn your mind to blubber?

Yesterday I went to my children’s school to help out with a project after school and discovered that I have become a blathering idiot seemingly overnight! Picture it: a group of mom’s standing around (looking all cute in their matching track suits and fresh mani-pedi’s, of course) chatting. Enter me in my jeans and t-shirt (possibly sporting a matching baby puree from lunch) trying to make some small talk.

You’ll have to forgive me – I’m writing a book.

The only difference is that I can’t think of a thing to say! I am consumed with my latest character’s plight. I mean how am I to think about up-do’s and hot lunches when Sadie’s about to be sent off to foster care?

My mind is reeling about 10 steps behind each of them…you went where? last night’s homework was what? next week’s field trip to where? So I stand there innocently hoping that I don’t look like I’m writing my next chapter in my head – which I totally am.


I fiddle around in my pocket fishing for a scrap of paper…a receipt…anything to write down a great thought I just had. Nothing.


All the sudden, the attention turns to me. Hmmm? How many cookies should we order for the end of year party? I try to do the math quickly in my head, but I can’t think. I can’t do it. My left brain has completely overrun my right. Noooooo!!!!!!!

So from now on I think I’ll just have a standard answer at the ready for when people have the gall to speak to me or ask me these seemingly innocuous questions: I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me – I’m writing a book.

Leave a Reply