The nine stages of trying NOT to write at work

If you’re a writer, undomesticated equines probably can’t stop you from writing wherever and whenever the tantalising desire strikes. It is a magnetic force that consumes you for a few minutes to a few days at a time, and it can strike randomly and without prejudice.

But, unfortunately… there is one thing that will try to stop you. It’s called your day job (if you’re a poor sod like me who has one). And no matter if you hate or love yours, the story remains roughly the same:

It’s 9am on a rainy Tuesday and you’re sitting at your desk at work typing up an important Report that must be sent to the boss ASAP, when a root begins to grow in your mind. And it’s a ferociously tenacious tentacle that is spreading like a weed. It takes you a minute or two before you realise what’s happened. The writing bug has just laid an egg in your occipital cortex. Good luck getting rid of that.

1. You ignore the growing root at first, proud of how easily you’re handling the situation. But some things you just can’t ignore…



2. At first, you attempt to distract yourself with coffee/tea/hot chocolate/vegan matcha latte, and it works, for a time… except the root is probably drinking the coffee too



3. When you feel like you can no longer take it, you sit at your desk vacantly and daydream until someone asks if you’re OK

canteven cat


4. But daydreaming is not enough. You can hardly breathe. You have to write!! And now!!

idea cat


5. You take a few sneaky looks around the office to make sure no one’s around



6. Except you’re not alone. You share your office space with a very observant colleague

Intense cat


7. You wait until they seem distracted, and then you begin to type as fast as possible before they figure out what you’re up to



8. You feel so happy you could fly. You could. Maybe

flying cat.gif


9. Two hours later you realise your very observant colleague has been standing behind you the whole time… watching…

Intense cat


UPDATE 16th Nov: I showed my ‘very observant colleague’ this post. I think she laughed so hard she started crying. As she was wiping the tears she told me she always notices ‘when I’m up to no good’. Perhaps I need to be sneakier… yeah?

109 thoughts

  1. Typically what I’ll do is jot down the gist of whatever idea is brewing in my mind, abbreviated bits of key dialogue and such, plot points. To anyone who is not me it would look like the frantic scribblings of a mental patient. Hell, maybe it is. 😂


  2. Ugh! This hits close to home. I always want to write when I’m at work. In fact, I’ve made jokes before that I only get my “good” ideas when I’m at work and get bags of trash anywhere else. It’s hard to spend 8 hours at work only to get in the car to speed home to write, only to forget the idea!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know exactly how you feel! It’s the worst when you get home and can’t remember all the wonderful ‘twists’ you came up with – which is usually why I have to write them down these days at the very least, it’s too painful otherwise lol 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun stuff. You do a nice job of ‘watching yourself’. Now we get to watch you as well. [Would have been fun to read what your workmate observed as you stumbled through your stages.] In that case, *nothing* would have been accomplished in the office.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. After writing this post, I told my work collegue, so she’s been telling me what she observes when I go through one of my writing urges. Apparently she can ALWAYS tell because I get really focused on my computer screen and she finds it hard to get my attention LOL


  4. This post is exactly what I need to read. Puts a huge smile on my face. I’m in a cubicle far end side of the room so I can be as sneaky as I can get! I always get the writing bug while I’m working on big projects. No fun trying to ignore it. 😦 Seriously, though, the cat gifs rock the blog out!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Very cool, Milly! Love the videos. I’m past the age of having to work. 🙂 But every time I sit to write, my dog wants attention. I laughed when I saw the cat and the banana. I can’t even peel a banana in a different room without my dog knowing. she comes a running.


    Liked by 3 people

  6. I don’t think I’ve gone through all 9 stages, but I have experienced this a couple of times. Fortunately – or not – my job is pretty far removed from any type of writing except some technical stuff now and then. I am usually occupied to the point that I am not stricken with such a wondrous – and horrible – situation 🙂 With that said, though, you have done a great job of explaining that scenario. Anybody who writes in a creative/blogging way, and has a “day job”, has likely had to deal with the ninja-like attack of the muse. Good stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ninja-like attack explains it perfectly!! That’s exactly how it feels sometimes. I’m getting the urge right now actually hahaha

      I’m a bit jealous that you have a job pretty removed from writing – I’m on the computer all day and Mircrosoft Word 2013 is just one tiny click away….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha! I have brought my laptop to my “Day job”…at a bar…at night. Funny thing is, my patrons have a growing interest in my writing. Perhaps, they are conflicted by the fact that their bartender actually has a life outside of assembly line preparation of drinks.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hahahah that’s awesome!! I love how so many of us (writers) go through the exact same things!! Oh and if your colleagues were cats I could imagine it would be even harder to write… hahah. Funnily enough I actually blogged about the difficulty of writing with cats around back in september LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t write at work, although I do jot. It’s mostly incoherent stuff to which I have no blessed recall later on. I also tend to talk ideas out, which makes my bluetooth a most valuable compadre since I can pretend to be talking to someone.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Love this post! It’s too true, with one little change. I don’t drink coffee. You’d have to make mine tea or hot chocolate. Thanks for a little bit of truthful humor for my day.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Looks like you’ve got everyone covered now! I really did enjoy your sense of humor in this post and look forward to reading more from you.


  10. I’m a stay at home and I just sat down to work on my next book. Four lines in my brains is humming…. then… wakes up early from her nap. I ignore her to get to the end of the paragraph, but oh well!! There is hope for tonight when everyone is in bed.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s funny as my mum keeps going on about how when I have babies I will be free to write full time. I was like… yeah probably not mum. I could imagine a baby would be very distracting! And this appears to be the case – thanks for enlightening me and good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I work as an audit assistant for a firm. Generally, clients give us a nice big conference room to do our stuff. But this client, he has given us a storeroom with files stacked everywhere! So the only comfortable position was such that I have my back facing the door. Very risky!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my gosh ! It’s like you infiltrated my brain OR are currently watching me at work – not working- but reading writer’s blogs! This is sooo true! The writer’s struggle is REAL! Thanks! I hope to repost this gem 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  12. OMG – I’m doing that right now, lol. And I’ve got the added watchful (recording) eye of one of our office security cameras just over my right shoulder. It only focuses on the monitor on the right so I keep that one set on my office outlook, lol. I’m so going to be in trouble…but NaNo waits for no one, lol. Neither does my blog for that matter. Or that email I need to send to my fellow writers encouraging them to keep typing…(I’ve got it bad, lol).

    Great post!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Imagine how many of us are out there right now, checking behind our backs as we fire up microsoft word… hahaha. You know what’s really funny? I have two monitors at work as well, and my right one ALWAYS has my office outlook on it LOL. It’s the one screen everyone can see as they walk on by

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Until the man and woman know the real meaning of their lives they will do what they can. When they find the purpose of their lives… happiness can’t contain all semantic meaning of the feeling that they will feel inside of them.
    Ah, of course, we need to have our safe routes to scape and don’t die of starvation. But at least you are not going to die of alienation and unhappiness.
    And if by any chance in your disposable life – by the eyes of the death God and nature – you find some courage to concentrate all your inner strength and soul in what you really love do, maybe Fate and some sort of remote Providence will walk side by side with you.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I’m constantly outlining stories and article posts on Trello. Anywhere and everywhere. I can’t write when I’m doing something else, as during writing there is a certain zone I tap into and the world doesn’t exist for that moment. Hard to do something like that when other things and people require your attention you’d rather not give. =)

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It’s a card based organisation tool. Good for team planning or stage planning as in stages of a project or just listing ideas based on the topic or genre (swimlanes). Give it a try!

        Liked by 2 people

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