How to write a paragraph

  1. Sit down with whatever writing medium you prefer. I like to type since my handwriting is abysmal and gets more so the longer I write.
  2. Deal with whatever appliance timer has gone off.
  3. Sit down to write. Get halfway through the first sentence before the cat makes a howling noise on whatever floor you aren’t on. Ignore this until it continues for at least three minutes and distracts you from whatever thought you were having. Investigate and discover the cat sitting calmly in the hall giving you a strange look.
  4. Sit down to write. Hear cursing from somewhere else in the house. Investigate and realize that your elderly mother cannot get into any food packaging in the house. Open a few containers so that she doesn’t starve to death.
  5. Sit down to write. Try to ignore the ringing phone. Hear your mother yell “Who the hell is that?” Yell back “that’s why we have caller ID!”
  6. Try to remember what your main character was doing. Or even her name.
  7. Try to ignore “Who the hell calls from 555-555-5555?” Ignore it less well when your mother thrusts the phone into your field of vision and demands that you look up the number on “that internet thing.” Acknowledge the apology because “I didn’t know you were writing.”
  8. Type the number into Google. Tell your mother that it’s a telemarketer. Listen as she curses all telemarketers and all of their ancestors and progeny. Take notes for future use.
  9. Write one sentence. Look up when you hear a car horn and be surprised that the neighbor children are still alive since their favorite past time is to ride Big Wheels in the road without being aware of traffic. Remind yourself to take a first-aid refresher course.
  10. Try to remember that metaphor you thought was clever when you were taking your shower. Get screamed at by a small cat until you pet her.
  11. After the cat gets bored, return to your laptop. Write the metaphor. Decide it’s better in your head than on the page. Delete it.
  12. Start mulling other ways of putting the idea down. Hear a loud thump from somewhere in the house. Call out “are you okay?” and get no response. Investigate. Find your mother opening and slamming cupboard doors trying to find peanut butter. Open the cupboard where the peanut butter has always been. Get told that’s not the right peanut butter because it’s for the dog. Note that you haven’t had a dog for at least one president’s term. Leave before you have dog peanut butter thrown at your head.
  13. Sit down to write. Get out one sentence before two cats come through the room growling, spitting and hissing. Try to calm them down and get glared at by both cats who resume trying to kill each other.
  14. Hear a blast of sirens followed by more cursing as the volume grows. “I’m trying to turn the damn thing down, but the damn thing won’t work.” Get up and turn down the volume on your mother’s corpse shows. Seriously consider telling her doctor that she’s been anxious and maybe some sedatives would help.
  15. Sit down to write. Hear a groan followed by “I hated this one. Why isn’t there ever anything good on?” Show, again, one of the other hundred channels showing Law and Order and say again that Netflix has Murder, She Wrote all the time.
  16. Sit down to write. “It’s done it again! How do I make it go?” Get up and press one button (it’s the green button. It’s always the green one).
  17. Sit down to write. Compose almost one sentence. “I didn’t like this one.” Show your mother how to see all the episodes.
  18. Sit down to write. Finish that one sentence and start the next. The sound of a vacuum rends the air. Look at the ceiling and take a deep breath. During a break in the unearthly noise, ask what happened to watching corpse shows. “It stopped working, so I gave up and decide to clean.”
  19. Take your laptop to another room and close the door. Sit down to write. Re-read what you’ve written to get back the story. Jump at the thump at the door, which starts to rattle and wail. Let the cat in.
  20. Sit down to write. Get up to let the cat out again.
  21. Sit down to write. Finish the paragraph you were working on and save, grateful that at least you don’t have kids.

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