An Afternoon of (Almost) Writing, or How to Make Pumpkin Chili

At the start of this post, I have one completed article, three new article pitches, and a slow cooker full of pumpkin chili.  What I do not have, my dear friends, is a single additional word of either my book outline or actual book that I set the past four hours aside to work on.  Nope.  Not a word. Instead, my big day of writing went like this:

It’s 11am, and I finish and submit my article to an editor–this my paid “day job” writing.  This particular article addresses meditating during your workday.

Since I now feel like a hypocrite–sitting in pajamas while doing work, NOT having meditated–I sit on down and meditate for about 15 minutes, all the while thinking about how to keep my cat from scratching up the decorative baskets I keep next to my meditation area.

11:30: I clean up all the scraps from the ripped-up baskets, realize the rest of the room is covered in a mountain of fuzz, and continue to clean.  Cleaning is important!

It is now noon.  I should sit and finish my book outline.

But instead, I realize that it’s too early to focus on “me” writing, and submit three new proposals so I can continue to be a paid contributing member of society.

Okay, now I should focus on my book outline.  Or at least bang out a paragraph or two.  Even if it’s crap.

But I haven’t eaten yet.  AND there’s no food in the house, so at 12:30 as the Trader Joe’s madness hour approaches–where the suburban moms come out of the woodwork with their pushy carts!–I zoom over there to fill our empty fridge.  Further avoiding the writing task waiting at home, I take my time and spend more than I intended on pumpkin flavored everything.

I arrive home, and still, it seems early in the day!  I should totally make chili right now.  I do!  I put it in the slow cooker.  Good for me, now there will be dinner.

My laptop awaits.  It stares at me. It knows what I’ve done.  Or, haven’t done.  It’s now 2:30pm.  My cats, worn out from the heat, stare at me in despair.  They’ve probably done more writing than I have today.  That doesn’t make any sense, Ginny.  What would my cats write about?  I think Viola would write about her dreams of eating corn husks and ripping up my favorite decorative baskets.  I wouldn’t read that book.

I can’t be in here anymore, I’m losing it by staying inside!  So I do what any good writer does, and leaves the house, fleeing my untouched book outline.

I get to the library and take out two books about–you guessed t!!– writing.  I have a plan.  I am going to go home, make some pumpkin coffee, eat those pumpkin cookies, and read a motivational book about writing. Instead of writing.

This is exactly what I do.  It’s now 4pm.  I head outside, precariously balancing my coffee mug, newly acquired pep talk book, and a plate of cookies to open the back door. As is it still mid-July weather, I begin to instantly roast, and precariously head back inside two minutes after I went out.  I spill my coffee on my shirt and all over the cookies.  I spend the next 10 minutes cleaning up the coffee.

It is now 4:30. The chili smells amazing and my book about writing emphasizes how much time we have to write even when we’re busy.  I am not busy.  I literally had all damn day to touch this book.  When will this ever happen again?

I sit down and try to just write.  I light a pumpkin candle on my desk. This is getting out of hand.  I spend way too long laughing about the second layer of the tri-colored/scented candle, which is named “Hot Buns.”   I made it past Pumpkin Cream Pie layer, so I technically light my Hot Buns candle. I giggle.  More time has passed.

But after all this fussing, my brain is too frustrated with myself.  I cannot think about the Camino when filled with this much cinnamon and angst.  So instead of writing what I’m supposed to be writing, I write a blog post about what I’m supposed to be writing. I write about the book about writing that I read instead on writing.  And so here we are, 4:48, and the chili has two more hours to go.

Also, as promised:

Creamy Pumpkin Chili to Avoid Writing Your Book

I made this up as I went, so here we go:

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 and a half cups of chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 can of red pinto beans

1 can of black beans

1 large zucchini, diced

2 bell peppers, diced

3 cloves of garlic

4 roughly chopped carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Trader Joes chili lime seasoning

1 teaspoon Cumin

Dash of cayenne

Add onions if your spouse doesn’t hate onions, or do…I’ll leave that in your court

1/4 a cup of heavy cream (right? it’s apparently a thing, I looked it up)


Instructions: Throw it all in a slowcooker on low for 6 hours.  Avoiding writing your book.



Chili is still in the works, so I’ll let you know how it turns out.  Gonna try to write now.  Might get some tea first.




2 responses to “An Afternoon of (Almost) Writing, or How to Make Pumpkin Chili”

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