Thursday, July 26, 2007


by Marsha Ward

First, apologies that I didn't post yesterday, but that gave Tami space to do so. I was plagued by thunderstorms (yes, I'm very, very, very grateful for the rain) that made it necessary to turn off my computer lest I lose power in the middle of posting an insightful, tender message. I did lose power, but the computer wasn't on to get fried or toasted from a lightning strike or electrical surge. Anyway, here's my post a day late. I'm hoping Elodia won't mind shoving me down when she posts.
BIC-HOK-TAM? What? Is she kidding? Isn’t that HoHoKam for “go to sleep right now or the evil raiders will get you”?

Not really. BIC-HOK-TAM stands for “Bottom in chair-hands on keyboard-typing away madly”. It’s what every writer needs to learn to do—every writing day.

Notice I said every writing day. This also might be “every writing moment.” I know we can’t write seven days a week like some full-time novelists do. We do have other commitments as women writers. Most of us have families who need some measure of care. However, I encourage you to write in that time you can make available for writing.

Writers find the time to write in a variety of ways. We cut out watching that favorite soap opera. We vacuum twice a week instead of five times (or teach our children to do that job). We stop going to every baby shower or lunch date. Maybe we use comforters on the beds instead of making tight hospital corners each morning (again, why aren’t the kiddos making their own beds?). Perhaps we eat Cheerios for dinner a few nights a week instead of cooking gourmet meals.

Whatever sacrifice we (and our families) make gains us a few more minutes to write. A few more minutes to practice BIC-HOK-TAM!

Okay, we have a few minutes before we have to pick up Tabitha from kindergarten. How do we do BIC-HOK-TAM?

We sit down (BIC), put our hands on the computer keyboard (HOK), and start typing whatever comes into our minds, if we don’t have anything already flowing (TAM). Okay, so it’s a letter to our Aunt Katie on how fun it was to play in the snow at her house on Thanksgiving Day, 1983, or a grocery list, or a journal entry that can touch our family members many years down the road.

Maybe it’s just pure hoop-ti-doo and garbage, but we’re WRITING, and soon, our minds will open up and we’ll start to write something we need to share, maybe a poem, an essay, a short story, a character sketch or a novel chapter. Maybe we’ll write a magazine article entitled “10 Ways to Make Time for Writing,” or another chapter in our non-fiction book. The point is to begin, and that’s where BIC-HOK-TAM comes in handy.

Use BIC-HOK-TAM as often as you can to write and get closer to your writing goal.


Marsha Ward said...

Good grief! That photo came up ginormous. I told it to be small, but it wouldn't obey. Sorry.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I agree -- we have to squeeze in that time wherever we can get it. I tend to write between 11 pm - 1 am. That's the only time it's quiet around here. :)

Tamra Norton said...

I love this idea, BIC-HOK-TAM. I definitely have to use this method. I just didn't know it had a name. At first I thought you were sending me a special message along with Bicki and Hokki. :)

Stephanie said...

I write at the same time you do Tristi for the same reasons. I find I write a lot when I'm not writing. When I am chasing kids I'll chase a scene over and over in my head until I have it so when I do BIC i write it nice and fast.

Marsha Ward said...

Ha! I figured out how to reduce the size of the pic. Live and learn, I say, and never a day goes by but we should!

Thanks for your comments, Trist, Tam, and Steph. Bic and Hok, too!


Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

BIC-HOK-TAM stands for “Bottom in chair-hands on keyboard-typing away madly”. Love it!

Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks for the great blog. I need to seriously do BIC-HOK-TAM, at least the BIC. My bottom has been a lot of other places lately-like on the couch or in the recliner. I also try to write after my kids go to bed at 9:00, but so many other things come up. I don't watch TV during the day, but I enjoy late night TV, so sometimes by the time I finish up stuff around the house, it's 9:45, so I sit down to write, but by 10:30, I need to go see what's on Letterman or Inside Edition, then it's Nightline and sometimes, I tell myself right after Nigthline, but then Jimmy Kimmel comes on, and forget it! I need to get my BIS (bottom on sofa) into BIC.

Karen Hoover said...

Thanks for this, Marsha. I blogged just today on the trouble I'm having doing exactly this. I think I'll print out your suggestions, post them on my wall, and put them to great use!