FUNNY WOMEN #157: Habits of Less Successful Writers


So much can be learned from the writing habits of successful writers, but what can we learn from the ones who aren’t doing quite as well?


Mary Finco, age 35
Finco always writes on her laptop at night in bed, sipping tepid oolong and surrounded by imitation down pillows. Most nights she falls asleep after five minutes. On a good night, she can make it to fifteen.


Maya Graham, age 48
Dr. Graham tries to write poems on prescription pads between seeing patients, just like William Carlos Williams. Instead, she just writes actual prescriptions, mostly for Lunestra.



Justin Nguyen, age 19
After experiencing writer’s block on his screenplay about tax lawyers by day who are superheroes by night, Nguyen decided to overcome the block by writing with a pencil carved out of wood from a tree that Hemingway once saw. Somehow, the words still don’t come.


Taylor Garcia, age 29
Garcia hopes a poem will appear to her in a dream, but they never do. Instead, she has a recurring dream about wearing a clown uniform to party and playing charades on a stage. Was it even a costume party? she wonders. And what kind of house has a stage?


Theodore Best, age 32
After going to the library for an hour each evening to write, Best spends five minutes writing and fifty-five minutes trying to find a way around the library computer’s blocking functions.


Alex Veneziano, age 24
Veneziano sets their alarm clock for 5 a.m. every morning with plans to write. Each morning when the alarm blares, they shut it off and go back to sleep.


Amelia Silk, age 51
To inspire good habits, Silk works in a windowless room with bare walls and only a mahogany desk filled with upscale paper and extremely sharp pencils. After a few months, she is really good at folding paper airplanes with intricate designs.


Georgina Shipley, age 8
No matter how many times she traces it, Shipley can’t get the cursive capital G in her name to look like the example on the paper. When her teacher sees her struggling to write it once again she says, “Eh, don’t try that hard. Cursive doesn’t really matter that much anymore.”


Edward Bukowski, age 43
Bukowski vows to write when the kids go to bed, but instead he usually makes a Bellini and watches Tiny House Hunters.


Dominique Reiter, age 33
After seven years, Reiter hopes to finish her book proposal this week. She sets reasonable goals and makes a daily schedule. Still, the week gets away from her.


Cameron Long, age 28
Long has a powerful story to tell. But their phone just dinged, so it will have to wait.


Audrey Madges, age 27
Bravely, Madges quit her day job and now has time to work on her pilot. She subscribes to Hulu and applies to grad school instead.


Charlie Vounatsou, age 35
Vounatsou goes to cafe in DeKalb every afternoon with a vintage typewriter and no cell phone. Once there, he sips whiskey sours and longs for the Internet. After too many customers complain about the erratic typing noise, Vounatsou is asked to leave.


Rumpus original art by Kaili Doud


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Julie Vick's humor writing has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, the Washington Post, and Parents magazine. She is an English Instructor at the University of Colorado Denver. You can read more of her work at, and follow her on Twitter @vickjulie. More from this author →