Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Writer’s Guide to Black Friday

Shop for those must-have gifts. Get the best deals. Save money. Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and for goodness sake, don’t get trampled. For better or worse, Black Friday is now a staple of the American culture. And sure, I suppose you could spend a perfectly good holiday braving the crowds and trying to find empty parking spaces…your mind focused on getting that list knocked out by noon while you mentally berate yourself for eating leftovers before bed. But if you haven’t discovered the secret world of Black Friday for writers, you’re missing out.

There is nothing better than writing on Black Friday. It’s indulgent. Blissful. Revolutionary, even. There are two main ways for writers to win Black Friday.

Black Friday Secret #1. Stay at home. All that hustle and bustle. All those people standing in lines, wallets ready…while you brew a pot of strong black coffee and curl up on the couch with your laptop. No shoes, no trampling. Less debt. More words. It’s better than extra whipped cream on your favorite kind of pie.

Black Friday Secret #2. Go to a café. Take your laptop or whatever device you use these days for mobile writing, and find a cozy corner in a coffeeshop or café. There will be chaos all around—shoppers losing their minds, babies crying, families chattering about where to go next—but it won’t matter. You won’t care because you’ll be writing, lost in your own little world, the words going down fast on the page.

As these things go, sometimes it’s not that simple. Maybe you can’t stay home or be alone at a café during Black Friday. You’d love to write all day, but for whatever reason, it’s just not possible this year. Never fear.

If you must go to a store on Black Friday—there’s a gaming system on sale that your teenager wants for Christmas, or perhaps it’s a family tradition to hit the stores at five in the morning and you’ll be written out of the will if you don’t participate—all is not lost. Here’s what to do.

Plan B Tip #1. Listen carefully and take notes. Black Friday is prime time for overhearing juicy conversations and studying human behavior. Why? Because of the turkey coma. Thanksgiving’s over but people everywhere still feel the effects of that turkey. Plus, they’re in a tense pressure-cooker of a situation, trying to get the best deal before other customers snatch it out from under them. It’s gold, I tell you. Writing gold.

Plan B Tip #2. Bring a book. Keep it with you at all times and read whenever you want, wherever you want. Offer to keep the car safe from vandals while everyone else shops, then go park directly under one of those elevated police boxes, kick up your feet and read.

Plan B Tip #3. Dress in character. What better way to understand your characters? Of course, this option is not for the faint of heart. In full disclosure, I’ve never done it. It’s one of those things I think about, but don’t have the guts to actually follow through. So if you decide to dress up as one of your characters for Black Friday, please let me know what happens so I can live vicariously through you. And don’t forget to send pics.

Happy Writing, everyone!


  1. Love it! I haven't decided which I will do yet, it'll either be shop or hit my favorite coffee shop. Won't likely be staying home unless it rains. Then I might just have to curl up.

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