The Writing Clothespin sign

At writing retreats, it’s awkward sometimes because it’s hard to tell when someone is writing or just goofing off. So I made a tri-fold sign that I rotate to make it clear if I’m Writing, doing Other Work, or Goofing Off. Since we just mentioned the sign on the latest edition of Writing Excuses, I thought I’d give you a version that you can download and make.

The Writing Clothespin sign DIY pdf

Writing Clothespin sign DIY

 The Desktop Trifold pdf

IMAG1766I also have the desktop trifold version, which I use at home. It doesn’t require anything exotic like a clothespin, just cardstock and tape.

  1. Download and print it.
  2. Fold on faint dotted lines
  3. Tape, glue, or paperclip the top and bottom edges together so they line up inside the tri-fold sign.
  4. Rotate the sign so that the appropriate word is right side up and facing on-coming traffic.
  5. Train family and friends to look at sign before approaching (This is the hard part.)

The meanings

  • Writing = DO NOT SPEAK TO ME.
  • Other Work = Approach with caution
  • Goofing Off = Totally safe
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3 Responses

  1. Nancy F

    A writer friend of mine has one of those squishy, spiny, silicone “koosh” balls that he puts on his desk as an “I’m writing. Do not disturb.” indicator. I was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one to use a practice like this.

  2. Tanya

    And then there is “I’m sitting at my desk with the headphones on because I have a deadline, but right now I’m playing around with some ideas and maybe doing a little internet research. Really, the deadline is today. Okay, midnight. As long as I sit here, I’ll get something done.”

    Good thing I don’t have to explain this to anyone.

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