Murphy’s Law, As It Applies To Writers

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1.  Your internet connection will go down on the day of your deadline.

 2.  Printers will run out of ink the night of your critique group meeting. 

3.  The day your sex scene is being critiquing will be the day you’ll run into your former boss at the restaurant. It goes without saying you are dressed in your shabbiest clothing and he/she glances down at your pages, then freezes.


4.  The one day your muse is cooperative, easily accessed, and playful, will be the day your child will come down with the ‘flu and need to be picked up from school. 

5.  The background conversation at the coffee shop will die the precise moment you’re explaining ménage mechanics to another writer. 

6.  You NEVER pass malodorous wind, except when squeezed into a bar at the RWA. That’s where you are in the company of agents, editors, and writers on which you have a fangirl crush. 

7.  The most brilliant idea of your life will come to you when you have no paper/iPhone/computer handy. 

8.  The blog posts you sweat over will be the least frequented, whereas the ones you dash off in half an hour become immensely popular. 

9.  If you try to subvert the process of #8, and create a popular blog post by acting careless, your muse will know. She punishes you by making your work appear slipshod. 

10.  When you think of a high-concept premise, you will read of it on Publisher’s Marketplace the next day. It will have sold to your publisher of choice in what will be described as a “significant deal”.

11.  If you are on a budget, your muse will insist on $5.50 coffees.

12.  If you are trying to eat for health, your muse will insist on chocolate. (Cadbury’s Dark Chocolate with Cherries and Nuts). 

13.  Your butt has more ambition than you and is currently more successful. It’s already the size of  the Ozark Mountains and aspires to become the next Everest.

What about you, Gentle Reader? Have you any Murphyism that pertain to writing you’d care to share? I’m certain my list is far from complete.

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26 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law, As It Applies To Writers

  1. My personal favorite is when you commit to finishing & polishing project A because there is nothing else on your plate at the moment and BAM! you get whacked in the head with this fun, shiny new project idea.

  2. I’m trying to laugh at this, but I just keep sighing. Here’s mine: at the moment you most long to talk to someone about your current project, nobody wants to listen. At the moment you feel most sullen and uncommunicative, everybody wants to know how your writing is going.

  3. Oh gods, it’s all so true. My most common one – the day you have time to write, is the day your muse takes a tropical vacation. The day you don’t even have time to eat, is the day your muse insists on working overtime.

  4. The only people who ask about your writing are the ones who don’t “get” your genre and always just give you a blank stare when you talk about you WIP.

    You realize that you only work well when you have a deadline, but there really aren’t any deadlines you need to meet. You attempt to create a fake one, but your muse knows what you are trying to do and refuses to acknowledge said fake deadline. It may even thumb its nose as the fake deadline blows by and you are still staring at an empty page.

    Your muse is ready to work and so are you. You are in your favorite writing spot. Your muse advises you to queue up your writing music. That’s when you notice you forgot your headphones at home.

  5. OMG, you guys are making me laugh! Have you taken up residence in my brain?

    Bryn, which mood are you in at present? (I haven’t forgotten about THIRTEEN, by the way. Comments are still coming.)

    Robert, that second one is 100% true for me. What I’ve done, which seems to be helping, is connect with a critique group for which I have to produce pages. While I hold no sway over my muse, they do. What can I say? She’s a contrary lass.

  6. I’m in a fairly neutral mood. I could talk if someone were inclined to listen, but it’s not a pressing need. Of course, my problem may also be a Murphy’s Law of marriage, too. 😀 Hubby and I are never in sync between wanting to talk and wanting to listen.

  7. HI-LARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And so true. And Bryn–yours is so true, too. Great post, great comments. Hilarious, but in a mildly nigglingly worrisome way 🙂

  8. Ah, yes. Methinks one could garner over one thousand posts on the Murphy’s Law of marriage. Bryn, if you want to chat, you can e-mail me.

    Sputnitsa, while you are becoming worried, I’m feeling normalized. 😛

  9. I LOVE this list…funny/scary/true. Definitely my children are hardwired to sabotage my muse…so is my husband, my cats, my dogs…the phone, the enormous dustbunnies that nip at my ankles under my desk. There’s a huge conspiracy at my house. As if the logical side of my brain isn’t enough of a muse snuffer.

  10. WordWire, I will admit to using a teensy bit of hyperbole when describing the size of my buttocks. 🙂 You caught me.

    Dare-Lee, haha about the dustbunnies. So true. 🙂

  11. The bit about butts is sooooooooooooo true.

    Also it’s definitely sod’s law, when you’ve got a lovely long weekend, you sit there in front of the lap top and…………..

    you write 500 words over three days.

  12. My particular Murphyism relates to writing time. Here’s the scenario: Let’s say I’ve been buried in non-fiction work with hardly time to take a shower, much less work on any stories. I finally hit “send” on the final article (hopefully by deadline) and my husband gets sent out of town on business.

    Hurray — work is caught up, husband is hard at work and not requiring meals or conversation, and the cat is fed. Two (or three) days with not a single thing to do but write. (And shower, dress and eat. Probably.)

    So what happens? Not a damn thing. Those are the days the words dry up, the muse snores, the keyboard naps.

    Why, why, why does this happen so often??

    BTW, another timely post.

  13. Love the list! I would agree with all of them! Yes, they are all true! I should know, it’s my name. My most glaring Murphyism would have to be when I submitted a problematic and incomplete MS to a contest hoping to at least garner some feedback that would kick the thing out of plotting hell. It not only finaled and won the freaking category, but it was requested– the full MS…huh, um…the MS that wasn’t anywhere near full! Live and learn, live and learn. (Rosie Murphy w/a Gabriella Edwards)

  14. Anya, aside from the fact I have a black lab who still requires feeding and walking, you have lived my life, LOL. Too funny!

    Gabriella/Rosie – yours sort of counts as a Murphyism, because if I recall correctly, not only did you finish the manuscript; you sold it. Right? So in this case, technically, I would say this is a near-miss. Congratulations, btw! You have to let me know when your novella is out.

  15. Thanks Hope! I didn’t sell this one…yet! (I’m trying to be optimistic). This one turned out to be over 73K words complete. I just sold my novella–Wonderful memory! And thank you, I will keep you posted!

    1. But even if you weren’t, I’d still remember sitting beside you at the RITA’s. Despite the glam clothing, every time they showed cover art with a hunky guy on its cover, you’d let out a tiny moan of approval. (I can say that without embarrassing you, right? You do write erotica, after all. :))

      You’re kind of memorable.

  16. LOL! Yep, that might be me, but I never moan and tell. 😉 I do write on the steamer side of romance. Oppression at such a young age *tsk, tsk* look what it does.
    Memorable, huh? Hmm, I hope they say that about my writing someday!
    Thanks again, Hope!

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