Do you have writer’s block, like I do? Do you sit down to write and discover that you cannot make yourself stay in front of your computer long enough to think of words to get down on the page?

I know, I know. I often sit down to write my novel for a few hours…and then the next thing I know, there I am off at the grocery store, happily purchasing floor cleaning products.

This is because there are days in which I have less focus than your average housefly. (Note to my editor and agent in case they are reading this: This does not happen every day. I am writing. I swear I am.) But alas, sometimes the floors need to be clean in order for a novel to get written. I am not one of those people who will slam the door on inspiration if it is demanding a clean floor.

But more often than not, when I feel the pull to get away from the keyboard, find my shoes and my keys and go off in search of Mop ‘n Glo, it just means that I am really searching for the right next paragraph, and somehow the wiring in my brain has decided that I’ll see that paragraph on the shelf at the store. It’s a brain glitch, and until today I thought I was the only one who had this kind of faulty nervous system circuitry.

But now, thanks to a blog called Neatorama, I know that not only am I in good writerly company–but there’s even a cure for this malady.

To make yourself stay home and write your book without drifting away, many famous writers that have gone before us have discovered that the key is having someone steal our clothing. It’s head-smackingly simple, when you think of it. If you write in the nude, how are you going to leave home–particularly in February?

Here are some examples, which I am stealing from Neatorama because they are so inspiring:

Not only did Victor Hugo and Ernest Hemingway wrote in the nude so they would stay home, but James Whitcomb Riley [wiki], America’s “Hoosier Poet,” went so far as to have his friends lock him up in a hotel room to write, naked, so he wouldn’t be tempted to go down to the bar for a drink. And French poet and author Edmond Rostand [wiki], who is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac, was so sick of being interrupted by his friends that he took up working naked in his bathtub.


And Benjamin Franklin [wiki] also liked to take baths. In fact, he liked to take “air baths,” where he sit around naked in a cold room for an hour or so while he wrote.

There is only one real problem with this solution, the way I see it: Back in those days, these writers probably didn’t have all that many clothes. Get your friends to walk off with two pairs of your pants and a couple of shirts and your change of underwear, and you were stuck at home. These days those same friends would need to bring along a moving van.