Advice to Writers: Always Leave

Melissa Wiley
Sep 10 · 2 min read
Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

Always leave thread in the needle and the sentence half-written.

The plunge into chill water is the hardest part, so leave the burner on, the hot tap running.

Don’t let ink sit in the pen for too long — it clogs the nib. You’ll lose time momentum interest scraping a dry point across your skin until the clot dissolves.

Always leave the iron on. You may return to find useful scorch marks, or with luck ashes you can read like tea leaves.

Fail to secure the lids of your garbage bins. While cleaning up the raccoon rummagings, you may happen upon lost notions or revelatory peelings. Sweep up the spilt verbs and reassemble them into cracked sentences. Smells are the best glue.

Likewise, ignore the door locks and alarm system. Go for a walk to give the burglars a bit of space. You’ll be amazed what matters when your treasures are trundled away in a shifty van. Sift through the unpawnables and notice the leap of joy when you discover a faded ticket stub in the scatter. Drop the stub and catch hold of the joy with both hands. Feel it flutter like a moth against your palms. Swallow it live.

Upturned drawers will yield the best nouns. Also peer under flowerpots after a good rain.

Garden without gloves and harvest spores from under your nails. Thorns leave the best tattoos.

Plunge your hands into the mayonnaise jar. Spread jam with a bare finger.

Amass more houseplants than you can properly care for. Name each leaf as it unfurls. Rename it when it falls. Check the underside for scratched messages.

The best travel agent is two kittens and a ball of yarn.

Melissa Wiley

Written by

Author of The Prairie Thief and other books for kids. Longtime blogger, insatiable reader, tidal homeschooler, obsessed stitcher. http://melissawiley.com/blog

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