I want to know why, if I can deduct the cost of my laptop, my travel, and my office space, I can’t deduct this:


I have what I call a Mindless Pool (which the manufacturers call an Endless Pool) because you swim against a jet so you never need to think about turning around. Whenever I have a tricky bit of plot, I go out in the morning and turn on the jet and swim upstream for half an hour, and the plot obediently straightens itself out.

Take the other morning. I was working on the final scenes of The Language of Bees, and had to find a way (don’t worry, no spoilers here) to bring together four characters from their disparate directions. So on go the goggles and hum goes the jet, and in a few minutes I think, what if there weren’t four, but five? And then it all knocks together, and I realize what I’ll have to do to set it up differently, and I turn off the jet and roll on the cover and go start the day.

So why can’t I deduct those writing expenses?


  1. tangential1 says:

    First off: OMG, I want one. Where I would put it in an apartment is an entirely different issue;)

    Secondly: I fully agree that should be deductible; just as necessary as the laptop, I’d wager:)…too bad the tax guys probably disagree…

  2. Well, I have written about half of my poems when I was supposed to be doing something else (recording a meeting, taking an exam, having an interview, walking to work, etc.) so I would like to be paid taxfree all the time. Do you think they’d go for THAT?


    p.s. I’d like one of those mindless pools too, in the attic.

  3. Perhaps you need a new tax accountant? Or maybe form yourself into a closely-held LLC that provides a lap pool to its only employee as a benefit/bonus for hard work?

  4. Get a prescription from your doctor for one.

  5. ellephelps says:

    I haven’t had a chance to post a reply in a very long time, as I’m usually catching posts at work in between, you know, work. But, I want one, too! And I say, if it helps you work and pay the taxes the IRS collects then you should be able to deduct at least the upkeep/utility expenses. I like corgimom’s and wsmvgn’s ideas – sneaky!

    And, lest I forget, congrats on the rough draft, Laurie! Truly something to celebrate. I’ve already marked my 2009 calendar…..

  6. Strawberry Curls says:

    As a long-time bookkeeper and wife of a CPA I say Corgimom and Wsmvgn are on the right track. But you might need to approach it from the idea that the swimming relieves the tension that builds up in your neck and shoulders so all that time sitting at a computer doesn’t cripple you and prevent you from working, thus losing your livelihood Just a suggestion.

    I get my best ideas in the shower. I think I like your plan better. Off to measure my tiny yard to see if there are any possiblities.

  7. Here is another idea – sponsor a contest where people have to read your books and answer questions and the winner or winners get to come and swim in your pool . Accountants out there would that work? Probably the most realistic idea is to develop back spasms from writing at your computer and get your doctor to prescribe swimming, but still unlikely. I too covet your pool, but also your climate. I work out dead ends with sermons by swimming in my generous neighbor’s pool during the summer, but the rest of the year have to settle for walking.

  8. Real Icon says:

    Oh … swimming in the endless widths of one’s own garden. This is gorgeous. I know exactly what you mean by “mindless pool”, although I, for my part, usually have no opportunity to straighten thoughts and texts out by swimming, but go on a walk instead. The trick obviously is to move one’s body while trying to forget that there is a brain inside one’s skull.

    Congratulations on finishing the rough draft, and all my best wishes for the masochistic bit that comes next …

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