Big Cat, Little Cat: Chores
It’s Big Cat’s job to sit on Human-Mom’s head during Zoom meetings. It’s Little-Cat’s job to sit on Human-Mom’s keyboard while she’s trying to write. And it’s Middle Cat’s job to sit on Human-Mom’s lap when she’s trying to get up. The key to running an effective household is that everyone knows their chores.
Chores and Writing
There are two ways of thinking about this problem and I think they converge on each other. One way is to think about chores your characters do. Writing feels more real if your characters don’t just jump from danger to danger without pausing to water the plants or clean the gunk out of the sink-drain.
Another way to think about is problem is to think of the writing itself as a chore. Most people write things in bursts. But not everyone has a burst-friendly schedule. It’s much harder to sit down for a half hour to an hour and just try to advance your cursor a few inches into that intimidating white space. But that is often how a story actually gets written. Especially in the beginning when you’re likely writing as a side-gig.
The point is: don’t concentrate on big increments of progress and big moments and big emotions at the expense of little increments of progress and little moments and little emotions. Your story (and life) will be the better for it.
Behold! Two tomcats, two descendants of the Egyptian Goddesses Bast the finder of secret ways and Sekhmet the avenger of Ra, sit upon a bed of cushions as befits their station. They while away the hours together in discourse upon the by-no-means-exhaustible topic of life.
The form divine of the leftmost cat is large and regal and golden-orange in color, with darker stripes of the same color. The form divine of the rightmost cat is small and sly, grey, with darker grey stripes, as if even now he were stalking beneath the shadow-casting branches of Silent Sacred Night. The great orange cat looks down upon the small grey as a great king upon a beloved counselor; even as Akbar would smile down upon Birbal when the latter had offered a particularly clear-sighted bit of advice to his sovereign. The diminutive grey, in turn, looks out of the frame as if it can see you, the reader, and is weighing your positive qualities against your negative.
Little Cat: You know, Big Cat? I really like the feel of walking into a clean room.
Big Cat: This place is a pig-sty
Little Cat: For one thing, it’s apparently cluttered with your negativity.