How I, a Slightly Distractible Person, Write Novels

The honest, ugly truth

Sarah Lofgren
6 min readSep 3, 2021


Hello. I write novels. I haven’t published anything, but I have finished three novels, which feels like a huge accomplishment for someone who isn’t entirely certain if she remembered to floss her teeth last night.

I’m not an expert at any of this. There are far better novelists out there, ones who have actually, oh, I don’t know… published and sold books. There are also deeply focused writers who churn out pages like frenetic typing Kermit gifs. They wake at 4am every morning and spend 3 hours working on their novels before they go to work. Those authors have their shit together. They don’t get sidetracked for a month because they decided to learn Sindarin for no good reason. They’re great.

They ain’t me. But I have completed books and that should count for something.

Tip One — Don’t Burn Your Apartment Down

The idea comes first. There’s a perception that ideas are sacred, magical whosiewhatsits, but there are actually way too many of them. Some are buzzing around my head like maniacal flies right now. They take ownership of my brain when I should be focused on remembering to turn the oven off after baking a batch of my patented Macarony & Cheese Tacos™.