The Guide for the Procrastinating Writer: Tip #2

Read a lot. To further inform your writing, you must, per many wizened writers who pitch this sort of advice, including yours truly, read a lot.

If your rich patron starts giving out to you because you’ve been sitting around all day, reading, tell them it’s all in the service of advancing your writing. Tell them it would be more effective if you had a fainting couch, while you’re on the topic of your excessive reading. And someone to feed you grapes. Tell them you had that idea because you read it in a book once, so see? Reading does help improve the mind. It introduces you to all sorts of things you might never have experienced. Or perhaps it was a movie. If it was a movie, maybe watch some television, which is like movies, only smaller. But if your rich patron would buy a larger TV, then it would be nearly just like being in the movies, which, as we’ve discussed, is like reading, and therefore aiding your craft.

Point out that you need this stuff fairly sharpish, as publishers are nearly done. As your patron would see, if he or she had time to follow the news, especially on the nice new flat screen television, book stores are closing because we, as a civilization, are just about ready to close up shop. So you’ve got to run down to the book store immediately to pick up some books before they’re all done. It would be more helpful if your patron would pop out for you, so as to not interrupt your reading time, and at this point it helps to have a list written out. Typed, preferably, because another sign of the impending apocalypse is that you couldn’t write legibly to save your life.

If, after a frantic dash two towns over to the nearest Barnes & Noble, your patron returns with the news that there is a treasure trove of classic literature for you to read, even should the publishing industry shut down, you need to be ready. She or he may look angry, sweaty, and be flailing their appendages. This isn’t going to end well for the bags of books they’re carrying, because shaking a book and then attempting to read it immediately is a little like drinking soda out of a shaken bottle. Make sure you have a table cleared and handy to your position on the couch, as getting up may constitute a threatening posture, and the last thing you want to do is threaten (or appear to) your patron.

Actually, the last thing you want to do is gargle with muscle rub cream. But second to last is: don’t anger the patron.

With your patron insisting they know more than you about your chosen field with their snide comments about classic literature, you can feel free to throw a few tidbits right back at them.

Did you know that there are over 10 million books classed as classics? Did you also know that many of them have been translated from their original language? To get an author’s true gist, you would be best served reading the true classics in the original language. So if you don’t know Greek, Latin, French, Aramaic, Belgian, German, Russian, olde Englishe, and Spanish, I suggest you begin learning.

If your rich patron begins to complain that all this money going to the Rosetta Stone seems to be piling up, helpfully suggest you get tutors in each of the various languages. If you do get tutors, be sure to have fainting couches brought in for each of them, as you don’t want a tutor to feel like you feel you’re above him or her. This may involve getting a bigger room, or, indeed, a bigger house/office in which you do your writing. Because as practical as it might seem, you can’t stack fainting couches. Especially if there are people lounging on them. To help out your rich patron, surf the various realty sites during the course of the day and make pilgrimages to suitable locations for your new writing space. If your patron really believes in your talent they will buy you an office that will suit you without hesitation.

What I find helpful is bringing a book along while I wait for the real estate agent. In fact, if your patron has sprung for a car to support your property search for the ideal writing office, ask for one with plenty of space for books, so that you’d never be out, should you find yourself in a longish grocery line, a waiting room, a bar, the chicken coop, wherever.

With all this reading time your writing is bound to sparkle with homage, allusions, and depth!