Never Kick A Sleeping Skunk

By Michael Ehret


Would you kick this sleeping skunk?

“Never kick a sleeping skunk.”

— Kelly Long’s Mom


Here on Novel Rocket, we give a lot of advice, much of it writing related. Makes sense, right?
Sometimes we may even sound like a “Mom,” telling you the things you already know but are, ahem, choosing to ignore. 
And Mom’s have a lot of great advice. I’m sure we’ve all heard:
  • Money does not grow on trees.
  • Don’t make that face or it’ll freeze in that position.
  • Always change your underwear; you never know when you’ll be in a car accident.
  • Be careful or you’ll put your eye out.
  • If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
  • Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.

We could go on

— obviously.

But, I was intrigued by this bit of advice when Kelly shared it with me some time ago. Is there a writing application? What do you think?
What is your “sleeping skunk” in writing that you’re afraid to kick? What do you fear will happen if you do kick it? 

What is a sleeping skunk?

It’s that thing in your life that is holding you back. You’re afraid of what might happen if you kick it—if you wake it up. 

 For me, it’s “You’re not really good enough.” I’m afraid if I kick that skunk, it’ll jump up and spray me—and that fear keeps me paralyzed. For a person who deals in “What Ifs,” why am I so afraid of my own unknown?

You know, I could kick that skunk and it gets so startled that it stands up and runs away. It could happen. After all, it’s sleeping, not actively menacing me.
My foot’s getting itchy.

Enter your writing related advice about kicking sleeping skunks below.


Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation and is a freelance editor at In addition, he’s worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal at American Christian
Fiction Writers. He pays the bills as a
marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for
The Indianapolis
News and The Indianapolis Star.