Treacherous conditions at the keyboard

Writers must brave tretcherous conditionsTens of thousands of writers today braved sub zero temperatures as they sat at their desks to continue to work on their manuscripts.

‘Their commitment is startling’ said one agent who told me that she continued to receive the usual number of queries and submissions despite the treacherous conditions. In fact, it has been reported that several writers have been seen over the last few days, not only at their desks where ice on the keyboard has made writing slow, but also outside on dangerously slippery paths on their way to the post office to submit short story competition entries. As one commentator remarked, ‘in pursuit of their goals, writers share many of the characteristics of the first Antarctic explorers: courage, strength and resilience. Not to mention cold noses.’

But what are the conditions like? Many writers face frostbitten fingers and other extremities. ‘I was so cold that I could no longer feel my legs’ said A.B. Wells, the alter ego bestselling author version of this journalist. ‘My fingers welded to the keyboard’ said A.N. Other. Reports are flooding in that many writers have had to strap hot water bottles to themselves, while others are fashioning fingerless gloves out of old holey socks. ‘In desperate circumstances you will try anything’ said Utt. R. Commitment. Lap blankets and hot thermos’ are the order of the day and in extreme circumstances some writers have put on several layers of clothes, hats, scarves and, in some cases, balaclavas. ‘Writers refuse to believe that theirs is a Mission Impossible’ said a leading motivational expert who is twitter following 1 million writers.

Icicles attached to a writer’s keyboard

What are the likely consequences of this cold snap? One renowned literary agent has said that she is ‘excited’ by the emergence of a new genre of writing she calls ‘Freeze lit’, while many literary landscapes have now been sprinkled with a layer of crisp white virgin snow. The snowman has become a motif for recession and New Decade economic and cultural chill. The cold hard truth for writers in the current climate is that it may indeed be the writers with the iciest digits that go on to become most successful. This winter may turn out to be the era of the nine-fingered writer.


    1. Guys, guys I love you too! And a hot toddy sounds just the thing. Hey I forgot to mention the hip flask in the article!

  1. Alison,

    This was hysterical! I am in the great northern arctic of Minnesota, US, and I couldn’t agree with you more!!!!

    I’m glad you made it on your journey out. I think we need to hire a team of St. Bernards to rescue us. No, not when we are lost in the snow, to deliver the brandy to us at home.

    Freeze Lit! I love it!!!

  2. This is crazy funny and yet so true! Like Anne, I am in MN. I “hide” in this an old drafty farm house to write. I sometimes–complete honesty here–sit with a HEATING BLANKET draping my entire body up to my neck, only my arms outside of it so they can reach the keyboard. (Whatever it takes to meet deadline!) Kornflake, my faithful dog, trys to snuggle onto any remaining bit of blanket that might hit the floor.

    This is an excellent and very clever piece. Thank you for the grins! I am grateful to @kbairokeeffe who retweeted your post about, and added the #litchat, which is why I noticed. I’m now going to retweet the heck out of it too!

    Peace and grins and WRITE ON!
    Charlene Ann Baumbich

    1. Thanks Charlene! There is a lot of truth in the fact that we are freezing for our art! Credit where credit is due. You certainly sound as if you deserve every success after what you have to go through. All the best! 😉

  3. Great post! My weather-beating equipment at the keyboard is: a sleeping bag for my legs and feet, fingerless gloves, two sweaters, and a scarf. And I still have blue fingers by the end of the day.

  4. Alison, this is hilarious. Freezing my arts off here as well, but grudgingly admitting that it looks pretty. 🙂


  5. This was great, thanks for the laugh! It’s just below freezing here in Philadelphia, and that’s where it’ll stay for the next few days. I wish the heat in my office worked properly!

    1. Welcome Tony. I am a mere novice in the freezing stakes compared to you, we have but a sprinkling of snow. Keep everything wrapped but your writing!

  6. Hilarious! I love this piece. Saving for my writer’s notebook. Truly, this is commitment and I strive to emulate. (Probably fairly easy for me to do, since I regularly freeze my fingers to other colors as we have window-open loving people in the downstairs during winter where I live. Note: my computer is downstairs. :sighs deeply: ) I wave my frosty fingers and commit to making this a successful 2010.

    Found you indirectly through Nicola Morgan’s blog party. Am signing up to receive future updates on your lovely blog.

  7. I’ve just come across this post via Marsha Moore (Via Nicola Morgan’s e- B’day celebration of her blog)
    It was a long and arduous, freezing journey, but to land on such a hilarious post has warmed the cockles of all my inner organs.

    b.t.w On my icy slide down this glacier of comments, I glanced to my left and steadied myself by grabbing at this important piece of info:
    “My short story Bog Body was recently published in the Sunday Tribune’s new writing slot and goes forward for the Hennessy Literary awards, winner to be announced April 2010!”

    I think it was via one of Nicola’s other e-parties that I first came across your work, and I’ve still got a copy of Bog Body in ‘My Docs’ in a fodler wher I store bits of other peopel’s stories that I’ll want to read again.

    1. Hello Meg and Christine,

      Thanks for your lovely comments. I got to Nicola’s party late but I will come and visit you both soon. I’m re-discovering my wry side through this blog and am delighted the amusing posts get such a great response. I feel so sorry for you Meg with window-open loving people. One of my pet hates is draughts. Arghh! (Can people sign up to my blog? I didn’t even know that was possible! Thanks). And Christine yes, you said wonderful things about my writing before, I am so touched you kept Bog Body. All the best and great success to you both!

    1. Really great to meet you! I have had a look at your site already and its got great humour. I have emailed you a couple of ideas for linking up with all the other mum/mammy writers and hope to keep in touch! Best wishes, Alison

  8. Hi Alison,
    Hope you are warming up over there by now. I had a great chuckle at this post. Glad to see the cold and snow hasn’t solidified your sense of humour.

  9. Love this article Alison! (Thought we had escaped the snow here in Cork, but snowed in yesterday and today. Ah well.)

    1. Tim, Tim, Tim

      Ireland? California? Ireland? California? Ireland in the rain? California in the rain? California, California, California. Always

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