This is the 53rd edition of What Not to Do. This week Charles Yallowitz famed Fantasy author of the Legends of Windemere series of Fantasy novels and blogger extraordinaire has authored the list. If you would like to join the fun e-mail me at email@example.com. This list will appear on Legends of Windemere post as well as on Fiction Favorites.
Top Ten Things Not to do When Writing with a Toddler Around
10. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a hungry toddler, do not give them the entire box of their favorite cereal in lieu of cooking dinner. At best, they will scatter the contents of the box around the room and give you an hour of focused vacuuming to do during your break. At worst, their cereal will be high in sugar and you will spend the rest of the week gluing all of your wife’s pottery back together.
9. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a loud toddler, do not wear headphones to drown them out with heavy metal music. At best, you will find that they took advantage of your obliviousness and cleaned all of your underwear in the toilet. At worst, you will find that they started a ‘Pet Breakfast Club’ in the basement with the hamster, the bird, and a cat that you have never seen before.
8. If you are trying to write your book while supervising an energetic toddler, do not put them in the backyard to wear themselves out while you ‘watch’ from inside. At best, you will find them trapped in a tree, under the bushes, or at the top of their swing set. At worst, you will find that they drove the riding mower throughout the neighborhood and now you have to throw a BBQ to make peace with the neighbors.
7. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a sleeping toddler, do not fill the silent void with music. At best, they will stay asleep, but your concentration will break every time the music sounds a bit too loud. At worst, they will wake up and take screeching vengeance on the parent who dared disturb their slumber.
6. If you are trying to edit a print out of your book while supervising an imaginative toddler, do not leave your manuscript alone for more than a few seconds. At best, you will find that someone played ‘editor’ with a pink highlighter and left their sweating sippy cup on your chair. At worst, you will return to find the pages strewn across the office by a child who announces himself as ‘Princess Else’ and asks if you want to make a snowman. This is also when you realize that Microsoft Word doesn’t automatically put page numbers on documents.
5. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a talkative toddler, do not try to continue typing while holding a conversation. At best, you will write gibberish because your fingers have slipped one key to the left and you never noticed. At worst, you will unknowingly include the conversation in your manuscript and give your editor more embarrassing ammo to tease you with. Even worse, your editor doesn’t catch the issue and you publish with the hero and villain discussing why big boys don’t poop in their underwear.
4. If you are trying to write your book while waiting for the toddler to come home from school, do not ignore the clock and push your time to the final minute. At best, you will have to go running out to the bus without shoes and wearing your lucky ‘Hello, Kitty’ author shirt. At worst, you never hear the bus, your toddler is trapped for the rest of the route, and you get a delightful call from the bus company that they are not transporting your child.
3. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a curious child, do not scream at them for asking the same question 13 times. At best, they will get upset and throw a tantrum that signifies the end of your writing day. At worst, you will teach him several colorful words that he will gladly repeat to his mother, grandparents, teachers, strangers in public, and the head of your church/synagogue.
2. If you are trying to write your book while supervising an attentive toddler, do not read what you’re typing out loud. At best, you will be bombarded by questions about your book that will cause you to realize that you have no idea what you’re doing. At worst, your toddler will learn about what mommy and daddy do behind closed doors because you happened to be writing a graphic sex scene.
1. If you are trying to write your book while supervising a rambunctious toddler, do not duct tape them to the wall for a few moments of peace. At best, the child will get free and collect various objects on the tape while rushing around the house. At worst, your spouse will come home with parents in tow and you’ll wake up in the hospital with a police officer and divorce lawyer hovering over you.