Writing In The Digital Age

So, I’m writing that book. Twelve chapters down and twelve to go. My deadline? Two weeks. Now, I’m not great with math, but I’m pretty sure that’s not an enviable situation. Perhaps my method of writing is the problem. It goes something like this…

Walk the dog, make the lunches, pack the bags, get the kids dressed, drive them to school and come back home.

Open up the computer and write a sentence.

Suddenly, see an e-mail alert. Know I should ignore it, but what if it’s important? It would be irresponsible not to at least check it.

See that it’s a Groupon. Maybe not vital, but certainly time sensitive. I debate for five minutes if saving thirteen dollars at a restaurant I’ve never planned on eating at is worth it. I decide that, indeed, it is.

Purchase the Groupon.

Tap nails on the keyboard while waiting for the credit card to clear.

Crack a nail. Dammit.

Head upstairs for nail file and pass a towel on the floor.

The towel reminds me that I have laundry in the washing machine which needs to be dried.

Put laundry in dryer.

Empty lint tray.

Take lint into bathroom to throw away and glance in the mirror. Shit, when did my eyebrows start looking like that?

Pluck. Pluck. Pluck.

Study face. Is that really what I look like?

Note to self: Invest in some wrinkle cream, STAT.

Wrinkle cream is expensive. Need to make money. Ahhh, the book. Have to write the book to get the money. Crap.

Go downstairs and stare at previously written sentence. Doesn’t seem so genius upon reflection. Delete it.

Write another one.

And another one.

Watch me go! I’m in the zone.

Another sentence.

Was that noise my stomach? Yes, it was. Suddenly, I’m starving and can’t possibly concentrate.

What do I want to eat? Maybe I’ll go on to Twitter for some lunch ideas; I haven’t been there all day.

Log onto Twitter.

Get sucked into the Twitter abyss for 15 minutes. Head starts to pound. Need food.

Make a turkey sandwich and use the last slice of bread.

How do I need more bread already? Jot down a note to stop at the store on the way to get the kids.

Check the fridge and pantry to see what else we’re low on. Quite a bit, it seems. Rewrite list on larger piece of paper. Bread, milk, paper towels, laundry detergent and Cheerios.

Stomach again.

Need drink with lunch. Open soda. Put can into recycling and notice it’s overflowing.

Take out recycling.

Notice plants are dying and water them, reflecting on what a terrible idea plants are for a mother of three.

Sit back down at the computer with soda and sandwich.

Realize it’s been five days since  last blog post.

Attempt to start a post.


Go back to the chapter.


Check Facebook.

Check e-mail.

Check confessional.

Check community.

Comment, delete, delete, comment.

Bounce between post and book for nearly an hour, completing neither one.

Notice that it’s time to leave to get the kids and I missed my window to grocery shop. How did that happen?

Still have no chapter, no blog post and now no food.

Vow to be more productive tomorrow.




Lord, help me.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Melissa Anne 2 years ago

When you are writing & dealing with serious relationship issues, this causes delay in the process. any suggestions?

how to write a book 3 years ago

I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your content.
Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

Mommyrant 3 years ago

Woah. This is pretty much how I spend my day (except we don’t have a dog). Maybe I am secretly writing a book I don’t even know about!

Missy 4 years ago

Holy Crap! This is so me with working from home! I think I need to get further away than the garage which is where I set up shop. The only time I actually get anything done is around 2-3 in the morning, but then who needs sleep?

Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom 4 years ago

That sounds suspiciously like me. Sans book. Plus cleaning.
Your book turned out great! I’m loving it!

LaynaDeigh 4 years ago

This is exactly how my blogging goes… (Except I suck at blogging.) And to think I have always wanted to write a book! HA!
I love how close to home, to me, this hits.
So glad I found this site today!

Maureen Fitzgerald Penn 4 years ago

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have tried to use time tracking software to keep me honest about my distractions. Sadly, that just leads to lots of side trips to learn about the best time tracking software and which have apps for my tablet…and so on. Funny thing, I’m never distracted by cleaning chores…weird! :-) Best of luck with the book…yahoo to you!

Colleen Friesen 4 years ago

Oh man, did you just follow me around or something? That’s frighteningly similar to my “process” if that’s what I can dare to call it.
Did you know that if you don’t pull off the stove knobs and really scrub them, they can call at you all day? And what’s up with the way the light can hit a certain cupboard, requiring me to immediately scrub it and then the floor and then where exactly did the day go?
Thank you

Practical Parenting 5 years ago

We have the same the same writing process! I don’t have a dog, but the fish are super high maintenance. In good news, you have the book deal! Me? Still agent shopping/begging! Good luck, mama! You can do it!

JG 5 years ago

Umm.. can you skip walking the dog? It might free up a little time. There are dog walkers and there are also horrible owners like me who spend 24/7 with the dogs, but rarely get out to walk them. Good luck on your deadline. Do they give extensions? What if you are late? Do they start taking money away? Burn you at a stake? Put you in time out? Take away your IPad?

Sara @ The Football Wife 5 years ago

You’re the adult version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Good luck with the book — I know it will be scandalous.

Jules 5 years ago

This cracked me up! I can’t wait for your book. AND I hope your nails don’t break again. It sucks when that happens.

Jennifer Burden @WorldMomsBlog 5 years ago

Maybe you need the publisher to send you alone on a private tropical beach vacation to finish. But wait, the kids.

Or, try living out of your car like JK Rowlings. It worked for her.

Either way, I look forward to reading it!

Jen :)

Kelly 5 years ago

You are so real! Thank you!!! That is a typical day for me too. How is it that the time passes so quickly between dropping them off at school and pick up time??? It is like warp speed or something!

HogsAteMySister 5 years ago

I see nothing wrong with your writing regime.

Nothing AT ALL.

Which could be part of my deadline issues.


JennyBean 5 years ago

If I was going to write a book, that’s how I would go about it. There might be a little wine slugging in the equation too.

Good luck with the next 12 chapters, Jill!

Amy I. Bloom 5 years ago

Oh, to be writing a book…how awesome.You should check out Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper by SARK. Also, I imagine you need to get yourself out of the house, and away from all the distractions.

Emily 5 years ago

Many years ago a forward was circulating entitled “Motherhood-Induced ADD”. This is it exactly!

patchhats 5 years ago

Great Think that’s nice step for first day’s ..just try..i like this, I thought you mom’s may be interested in the newest kids craze in my town, Patch Hats! Check out a hat you have never seen before here at www patchhats com

humanmama 5 years ago

oh, thank god. I thought it was just me. Okay, so when will we become really, really rich and famous? When our kids are in college? Or will we just spend the day on twitter?

Ruth 5 years ago

I don’t have a book deal nor do I blog daily (or even twice a week sometimes) and I don’t have enough time in the day!! Seriously…you have four kids, a killer blog, AND a book deal? Phht, fuh-get about it!!

Wordlover 5 years ago

How to Write a Book sounds like my daughter’s over-the-top,
maxed-to-the-limit life that still spawns a delightful, often humorous blog almost daily.

Women should have been born with multiple arms like the Hindu goddess Kali who had superhuman powers like those driving you blog ladies and supermoms. ) How’s that for an image of yourself?

Hope your prayer (Lord, help me.) brings you a ghost writer or a super editor. Feel almost guilty taking up your time with a comment.

Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum) 5 years ago

off to make a coffee and find some cake 😉

Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum) 5 years ago

OMG – sooooo there with you, ‘cept I can spend hours faffing around without even leaving the kitchen….. so far no blog post and no chapter of my book, but I have commented on a blog totally out of my area of blogging, perused Amazon for 1/2 an hour, namby-pamby’d around a few forums I frequent and got a bit of a crick neck…. hey ho, the writer oh, the bloggers in the poop!

Julie Turner 5 years ago

Sounds like every single workday for me.

Emily 5 years ago

With that much dedication to procrastination, it’s official, you’ve got this writing thing down! Look forward to seeing the book.

Lisa 5 years ago

I love it! This is how I do everything!! Good Luck finishing up!

Nina Amir 5 years ago

LOL! I’m supposed to be working on the developmental edits for my book sent back to me by my editor, and I checked in here and got lost in your post. My deadline is Oct. 11. So, I’m right there with you…and still hoping when you are done with your book (in 2 weeks?) maybe you will still lend your success story to my book? :~) You can do this…I have faith in you.

Nina 5 years ago

This is SO spot on. Meanwhile, I’m VERY impressed with only 15 minutes on Twitter. I’ll go ahead and assume that by 15 minutes, you mean an hour.

em tanner 5 years ago

holy shit this sounds like MY WEEK LAST WEEK. dont feel bad and ask Angie ITS TRUE..she’s been waiting on a small file from me for DAYS and just now on saturday night bc i know you guys need it do i get it done by the grace of God….i can ASSURE you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I get on MY OWN nerves SOOOO bad!!!

Old School/New School Mom 5 years ago

So first of all, I’m so psyched that you’re writing a book, even if it is a painful process and you’re distracted by your lack of Cheerios and the perpetual lint in the dryer.

Secondly, I am so glad that I am just as easily distracted as you are. Speaking of which…I should be working…now. Grrr. Distracted. Want a candy bar.

Paula @ Simply Sandwich 5 years ago

So glad to know I am not the only one! :)

Ann 5 years ago

You got this.

(you can decide what “this” is depending on your mood)

The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful 5 years ago

Sweet Jesus this is my life! Except no one’s paid me for my book. The one that’s 89 pages long. I suppose it’s a bookitita in Spanish. Thank you for sharing. I feel less lonely and lame. I meant that in a good way.

Gayletrini 5 years ago

Gee wow this is me…except insert two children crawling all over me some every other sentence LOL
you always make me giggle

Loukia 5 years ago

I have no doubt you’ll get it done. I already told my mom I’ll be at your book launch in D.C., so go, write, write, write! SO excited for you. You’re my inspiration. (I started writing a book a year ago and I’ve only completed three chapters, so there you go.)


    Gayletrini 5 years ago

    yeah this is what I wanted to say to 😀


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