10 Recession Beating Personal Grooming Tips for Writers(!)

1: Save on manicures and nail trimming by typing extremely fast for long periods. If you participate in the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge you will automatically lose all your fingernails.

2: Dispense with face creams, anti-wrinkle products and Botox. This will automatically give your face a deeply etched, lived in look that will suggest wisdom and gravitas. This otherwise haggard, drained appearance will enhance your literary kudos and make you appear a serious author.

(Caveat: If you want to appear on the bestseller list, or in society pages, get an exorbitant book deal,  sell the film rights on your first effort at a novel, and appear on I’m a Celebrity ignore the above and get a complete makeover and facelift/get your younger sister to impersonate you, even if you are a man.)

3: For Men, stop shaving, grow a beard. See number 2.

4: Save an extraordinary amount on clothes, buy two tracksuits and wear them in rotation. If you are serious about your writing you will always be at your desk writing anyway and will never go out. In the month of November, if you are doing NaNoWriMo don’t bother to get dressed at all, wear your pyjamas all the time. You will not only save on clothes but on washing. This means you are a champion for the environment since you are not putting on the washing machine or travelling anywhere. This should make you feel super.

5: If you get an agent, take a risk and buy a smart casual outfit. If you don’t yet have a book deal go to a charity outlet. The charity shops do a wonderful line in jackets with attitude, for example, leather, tweed, floral. Choose the correct one for your genre. If you can’t stretch to charity shop chic, send your younger sister out to meet the agent.

6: Avoid hair cuts. They make you lose your power. If you are a real writer you will be more of an arty hippy type anyway and growing your hair long will promote that impression. You may trim your own fringe if it gets in your eyes and prevents you from writing. DO NOT. DO NOT trim the bit that you twist around your fingers while waiting for inspiration. If you cut that piece off you may never produce anything of quality again.

7: Have showers, they are wonderful places to get your creative head in gear and have the added benefit of make you smell slightly better after endless days in the same room with half eaten ham sandwiches. While baths have been accredited with give Archimedes his inspired Eureka! moment, they should be reserved for those working on intergenerational sagas only.

8: Brush your teeth, several times a day but try not to drip toothpaste all over your keyboard when you trail back into your writing room from the bathroom while forgetting what you are doing. As a rule, try to remove all evidence of your body parts/dna/hair/skin/nails from your keyboard each day as it may irretrievably clog up.

9: Make your own deodorant. There are many recipes on the internet for natural inexpensive homemade deodorants. Don’t search for/google these recipes. You are supposed to be writing, not wasting your time on fruitless googling. Most of the recipes include bread soda and shea butter. If you don’t happen to have shea butter use ordinary butter instead, its probably more or less the same. And speaking of fruit, oranges and lemons are often used for household cleaning so I’m sure if you squash an orange into your bread soda- butter concoction it will be work beautifully. Failing that add a kiwi. Don’t worry about the pithy bits or the black seeds, you are alone, writing, no-one can see you.  Anyway you want to be pithy, don’t you? If you really must, write and sell your recipe for homemade deodorant on the web. Once you get paid you will be able to buy some plain biscuits to dip in your hot water.

10.  Does my bum look big in this writing chair? Exercise. You do not need a gym. You can burn 5000 calories a day by participating in NaNoWriMo or churning out a YA novel series at speed. (You need to churn out YA novels at speed so that your target audience hasn’t grown up, moved onto the next bright thing, before you finish). Typing quickly is a terrific way of keeping yourself in shape. Get in the habit of doing ten star jumps every time you lose the flow of your piece. Do 50 press ups every time you think of giving up. Anything is easier than 50 press ups, even writing. Rotate your eyes every ten minutes to prevent goggle-eyed-itus. Rotate your neck so that it doesn’t jam in one position. Rotate your ankles and stretch your legs frequently so that your walking muscles haven’t deteriorated beyond use by the time you finish your novel. Good luck with your personal grooming and one final tip – never use webcam!

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17 comments

    1. Yes tea is essential if you can afford it but I could never recommend long trips away from your desk. If you go to the kitchen you might never return. Save up for a thermos and do spins on your office chair instead.

  1. I agree with everything except using real butter in homemade deodorants. Do you have any idea how much real butter costs? Just rub lemon peel or migrate to North Pole.

    And the no face care wont work for me. I have combination skin which leads to acne which makes me look like a teen. Not good for cultivating older, wizened look. May have other advantages, like with the Twilight crowd. Must investigate.

    Yes, I am rambling, I must channel this energy into my writing.

    1. Its alright if you dont have real butter. Use butter substitute or even better, lard. My grandmother swore by buttermilk. If you dont have any let milk go sour and then use it! No-one will interuppt your writing.

  2. Absolutely love it, thanks for the laugh! Did feel ever so slightly guilty when I read point 4 and thought about the lack of laundry I have processed during November and the resulting mountain in my house.

  3. Very amusing! And #6 is so true. After all, things took a different turn for Samson, didn’t it…

    As for #10. Hmm. How many calories expended as I chew this chocolate cake, I wonder…

  4. Oh dear. You’ve met me. Was my fringe chop that obvious? Also been trying that ‘rub a stone’ as cheap deodorant. Didn’t think it mattered that it was a lump of quartz found during last holiday on the beach. Better do some star jumps…

  5. Have a bottle of Febreze handy at all times.Spray around room, on your PJs (while your still in them) and under your arms. Hey presto…you can write undistracted by the need to wash, do the laundry or be disturbed by the smell of penicillin fermenting in the room.

  6. Numbers 1,2,4 and 6 I do anyway and I haven’t been writing a novel in 30 days. Nor in fact do I do enough writing at all – but glad to know that at least I look the part – of the unsuccessful, poverty stricken writer!! Thanks for the laugh – as usual!

  7. Good list! I’ll keep it handy.

    I’m well practiced, when it comes to bad grooming; but it’s good to keep my skills up-to-date and sharp!

    I did violate your prime directive about webcams recently. (Where were you, when I needed you? 😉

    I’m not sure I go along with your exercise kick, though. My idea of exercise is a nap after lunch.

    1. Hello Tim,

      How nice of you to drop by. I hope you didn’t exert yourself too much in doing so. Exercise can be tricky but the main thing is to keep your fingertips in shape by running them over the keyboard regularly. You might then progress on to twiddling your toes but DON’T STRAIN. I am appalled that you allowed yourself to be seen on webcam although if you are writing or promoting within the horror genre it may not be such a bad thing.

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