21 October 2019

A Writing Totem

Today I'd like to share a tip for all the writers out there who struggle to find the time to write every day.

I was watching the show "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and every so often he invites authors like Margaret AtwoodTa-Nehisi Coates and Judy Blume to discuss their books.

One evening, CJ Hauser talked about the concept of a writing totem (hers is a little chicken figurine). She says that wherever you are, put the writing totem on a surface and it instantly becomes your writing table. So whether you're in your bedroom, at a coffee shop, or the office break room, the simple act of taking out a writing totem puts you "in the writing zone" and you can tune out your distractions and just write. 

I thought that was such a great idea!

Here is my very own writing totem. 

He tumbled out of the hood of my winter jacket one night. Earlier on the bus that day, I had noticed a little boy and his mama at the seat behind me. It must have been his toy and maybe he put it in my jacket for safe keeping. I feel so bad that I unknowingly left the bus with it! I would have returned it. Really, I would. But how? I hope it wasn't his favorite. I hope it didn't leave him with sleepless nights. I'm so sorry!

In honor of that little boy who lost his precious toy, I vow to use this action figure for a good cause -- to keep me focused whenever I write.

Now based on my research, this guy is professional wrestler Stephen Farrelly more commonly known as "Sheamus/Sheamus O' Shaunessy".

I think he makes a perfect coach and personal trainer, don't you agree?

He's so ripped.

And so chiseled. With flawless hair!

He'll give me fist bumps just for sitting down in front of the computer or when I make my outlines.

He'll give me a good shake (or a smack down) when I feel stuck, insecure or suffering from writer's block. 

He'll be a motivational speaker as I battle deadlines.

And when I finish a blog post, an article, a chapter, he'll be the first to give me a high five!

My victory will also be his victory!

He's now part of my writing essentials. I tuck him inside a pencil case together with my supplies. I stand him on any table. His presence anoints it as he declares, "Behold...your writing table." 

If you are looking for your own writing totem, here are some other options :

A small toy like a rubber ducky 

 Or a memorable travel souvenir (I got this from Brazil) 

Wherever you are, may a writing totem help turn your words from blah to TADA! 


  1. Aw, I love the story behind your writing totem. I bet the kid who lost the toy would be proud that his Sheamus is doing such good work.

    1. You always make me feel better! Thank you, Priscilla! :)


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