11 things other than sitting down to write

1. Vacuum the carpeted stairs that lead up to your second floor apartment. Marvel at the quantity of dirt, dust, and debris that gathers over the course of a week. Go to empty out the hand-held vac into the kitchen trash. Watch in horror as the filter thingy falls out, along with everything you just vacuumed up. Vacuum that.

2. Go for a run. It's 40 degrees and spring really is in the air. Start drafting a blog post -- or is it a poem? -- in your head. Over the course of two miles, go from strong to slow, shed the gloves, and will yourself not to quit till you get to corner of Elm and Sunset. Then you tell yourself how proud of yourself you are. High five.

3. Since you're already a mess, go to Dave's Soda and Pet Food City, armed with three kinds of dog brushes and a big bottle of Burt's Bees puppy shampoo. Oh, and the puppy. The 50-pound puppy who thrashes and jumps and twists and turns while you suds her up and rinse her up, all the while unaware of the glances from the people at the next "tub" with their compliant and placid golden retriever. Turns out it's your dentist. He either doesn't recognize you or doesn't acknowledge patients in public. Conclude that bathing your dog is akin to bathing a baby elephant.

4. Back at home, wash the sheets, since last night you woke drenched in cold sweat, not an unusual phenomenon these days. (Make that years.)

5. Eat cold leftovers for lunch standing at the kitchen counter while looking at dream houses on Zillow. Like the one down the street that's on the market for $975K. Think about how fucked up it is that your apartment, modest by neighborhood standards, would be a dream home for so many families. Check yourself and give thanks.

6. Gather then clean sheets and make the bed. Recall the words of a former teacher: "The state of your bed is the state of your head."

7. Shower. Aaaaaah. Hydrotherapy. Good for writers.

8. Slide between cool, smooth sheets. Read a chapter of your book. What is a writer who doesn't read, no?

9. Get drowsy and take a nap, since you didn't sleep well last night. This logic adds up.

10. Talk to your wife about perfectionism, and how/whether it differs from having high standards.

11. Write about not writing. Naturally.

The Sound of Real Life Happening is an 11-day online writing group where we write and share 11 things each day. It's small and intimate and fun and supportive and might just change your life. We start March 11. Register now!

What has made this so special for me is that we can write about the quiet moments or the everyday. Each 11 is a snapshot or snapshots. It’s breathtakingly simple and awe-inspiring.
— Sara Brannin-Mooser