We interrupt this writing for a very special bulletin…
Wipe my butt!!
Have you seen my car keys?
I don’t have anymore socks.
He’s looking at me!!
Mrs. Kelley, about your appointment…
Report for duty.
What’s for dinner?
Is Helium an element?
The cat puked on the couch!
How on earth is a writer supposed to get anything done without living in a vacuum? You get in the mindset to write, your characters are talking to you, demanding their tale gets told, and you have a solid time block to get it done. Or so you thought. Real life gets in the way 99.99% of the time in this house.
I try to maintain the flow by handling the interruptions as quickly and smoothly as possible. And I admit, I ignore some of them. (Find you own keys, check the laundry room, DON’T MAKE ME COME IN THERE).
What I have discovered is the ability to immediately jump back into a mood the minute my butt hits the computer chair. My brain does not shut off while performing whatever task pulled me away from the story. Maybe I even have time to work through a plot line glitch or work on that odd phrasing. Am I more distracted why doing the task? Sometimes, but really, how much thought does it take to mate socks or clean feline vomit? If the interruption is serious enough (I’M BLEEDING!), my mind couldn’t follow the plot anyway.
So my 3 hour block to write has 51 interruptions. I find I write an average of 226 words between breaks to either speak to a real person or handle a real situation. That is not counting the creative pauses, where you mull over how to phrase this or what you character’s motivation is.
So did I write for 3 solid hours? No. But I DID write and that is something. I finished that chapter and started another and laid the groundwork for a reveal later on.Plus wiped 2 butts not belonging to myself, fixed a PB&J sandwich, fished a matchbox car from under the stove, found the coveted Hannah Montana T-Shirt and spoke to My Hubby down in NC. And consumed a lot of caffeine.
Interruptions happen. Not daily but HOURLY! Several dozen times. A writer has to develop the ability to use half a brain to handle the interruption while keeping the other half in the creative groove. Even if you have no children or spouse or outside job (Man, that sounds wonderful at times) interruptions do occur. If you allow that to knock you off course, then your story will never get told.
And I don’t know about you, but I have enough people yelling for me to not want my characters on that list. I want them out of my head as fast as I can get them. They have a life in typeface. I have a life in the real world.
There are authors who insist they write in massive blocks, weeks even, where they whip out a full edited manuscript in about a month. We’ve all heard the tales of creative geniuses who forget to eat or bathe while their fingers fly over the keyboard spinning their magic. These writers must have a system in place to handle outside life that I lack. I HAVE to go to work. I HAVE to feed the children. I HAVE to pay my electric bill.. I HAVE to move. Seriously, my butt goes to sleep sitting in the chair too long and my wrists ache after a few hours of nonstop writing.
Interruptions may mean I am not as prolific as some, but I am okay with that. For me, they are timers in a personal race to see how much I can accomplish before the next one happens. I am writing, producing and not just staring at a blank screen. I don’t have time for mindless dawdling.
Nose to the grindstone. The next interruption is just around the bend.