Lisa Lenard-Cook

The Lonely Writer’s Companion

“So Long, Farewell. . .”


“The Lonely Writer has been answering your questions about writing for three years.”

It’s hard to believe The Lonely Writer has been answering your questions about writing for three years. Because the Lonely Writer is a tidy and organized person who loves symmetry, she’s decided that this particular landmark is the perfect time to say goodbye, in order to devote more time to—yes—her own writing. That’s why this month’s question seemed a particularly good choice.


“The Lonely Writer thought—but did not say—how lovely it must be to be a man . . .”

Question: After last month’s column about how to make a living as a writer, I’d love to hear about a day in the life of The Lonely Writer. – Susan, Springfield MO

The Lonely Writer responds: Several months ago The Lonely Writer led a writing workshop with another writer she’d never met. The students asked us questions, and we each offered our answers. Our very different answers, as it turned out. The Other Writer not only detailed his routine, he suggested that anyone who didn’t follow his routine was doomed to failure.

The Lonely Writer thought—but did not say—how lovely it must be to be a man, to not have children & laundry & food shopping & feeding the dogs & calling the tree guy & arranging for the housepainter & balancing the checkbook &&& to attend to in addition to one’s Writing (initial cap intentional). Yes, The Lonely Writer began this month’s column by calling herself a tidy and organized person who loves symmetry, but as much as she intends for her days to follow a routine (a routine that includes time for her own writing), her old demented dog will wake her far too early, or a relative will need her help, or she will have half a dozen thank you notes to write, or she’s out-of-town working at a writers’ conference, or, or, or.

Today is the first day since The Lonely Writer got back from three weeks of travel that included a visit to her mother in Southern California, the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference, and time in San Francisco with her daughter, that she’s sat down at her desk after breakfast to tackle the accumulated emails. After scrolling through them all, clever Lonely Writer made a new folder in her mail program called Follow-up and moved all but the pressing emails into it. Then she answered the two dozen that required immediate attention (and generated another half dozen of her own of necessity), read the news headlines, and checked her to-do list, where she found her deadline for this column lurking.

So instead of finishing up the edit of the memoir she’d planned first thing this morning (and we’re long past first thing; it’s now 10:45), she opened a new file and scrolled through this month’s questions to find one she wanted to answer.

Once again, The Lonely Writer has not yet done her yoga or meditation. She has not walked the dogs (although they do have a lovely fenced half acre). She has not written the thank you notes she should have written yesterday. She has not balanced the ABQ Writers Co-op checkbook or called the tree guy or emailed the next person in her editing queue or researched travel to Austin and D.C., where she has book events this fall, or emailed the agent she met in Santa Barbara, or (note how far down the list we are!) written a new chapter in her novel, even though she composed it in her head while on the road. But she will get to those things today. Really. She will.

“Be assured that The Lonely Writer is here at her desk, cheering you on.”

The Lonely Writer remains committed to helping other writers—she just had to make some adjustments so she can find time for that new novel. And so it is that this column comes to an end. If you want to continue to follow her adventures, be sure to check her website, And please—keep writing. Be assured that The Lonely Writer is here at her desk, cheering you on.

Find Your Story Writer Your Memoir
Find Your Story,
Write Your Memoir

by Lisa Lenard-Cook
and Lynn C. Miller
Buy This Book via

PEN-short-listed author Lisa Lenard-Cook’s most recent book is Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press), which she co-authored with Lynn C. Miller, with whom she co-founded of ABQ Writers Co-op (, creating community in New Mexico for writers everywhere. She’s an editor of the literary magazine bosque, on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, and the Board of Narrative Arts Center in Santa Fe. Website: