Step 1: Admit you need one. I have resisted this for, oh, 40 years. I find purses a great nuisance. Historically I’ve aimed for the smallest purse possible, just for essentials. But I’m slowly turning into a bag lady. A small notebook lets me jot down random thoughts that may have value in the future. I have to carry reading glasses. I have to carry driving glasses, for at night. I should carry an asthma inhaler. Now I have to carry a case for hearing aids to have at the ready for that instant when I want to rip those suckers out of my head. I’ve made my peace that a purse will accommodate these complexities.Olivia Newport How a Writer Buys a Purse

Step 2. Eliminate the past. Yes, I rummaged around my private cemetery of handbags and resurrected one that is big enough for all this. It’s eleven years old and in great condition. Why? you ask? Because, as I was soon reminded, the stupid strap slides off my shoulder in a most annoying and chronic fashion. Get rid of the thing, already.

Step 3: Do something you hate. Shop for a purse. Actually, this was a marvelous distraction from an editing deadline. I tell myself I was subconsciously solving editing dilemmas while perusing handbag options. Yes. Let’s go with that. To my credit, I only went to two stores that were in a center where I was already buying boring household items, er, avoiding edits.

Step 4: Screen for all known characteristics of despised handbags of the past.

a. It’s heavy before I put anything in it.

b. It resembles walking around with a cardboard box attached to a strap.

c. It has no squish factor. (If I’m going to have a purse, it must squish into a backpack or bigger bag as the occasion demands.)

d. It has annoying strap. See Step 2. Too short. Too long. Too slidey. Too digging-into-the-shoulder. Too unadjustable.

e. There’s no good place for my keys.

f. A black vortex sucks wallets beyond human reach.

Step 5: Find the purse that has no price tag. No any kind of number. Nothing to scan. And is one-of-a-kind. Yep, this is the one that passes through the grid of Step 4. Track down a store employee and hound her to sell you an item with no price tag and no comparison product.

I’ve had it a few days now. The jury is still out. But at least it’s a fun color. Bonus: it can hold a book if I should want it to.

• What is something in your life that you just have to grit your teeth and do?