Occasionally a young writer will come to me for guidance. They want to know of the writer’s life. I listen to their questions, then tent my fingers thoughtfully beneath my chin. “The life of a writer requires brutal discipline and mental endurance,” I say. I tell them the path is not easy. That they must make friends with pain. Then I wait for them to leave, and resume clicking through a slideshow of Tom Arnold’s home.

But writing really is a vicious mental game, and it takes constant self-bribery. Sometimes, when I’m up against a deadline and need to get pages out, I’ll go on one of my trusty Hotel Writing Retreats. I just published my first book, and wrote a bunch of it this way, so I can assure you the method works. All it takes is a willingness to burn through some cash and gain five pounds in five days.