When the World Won’t Stop
Last week my sister and her dog, Dakota, came to visit on their way to their new home in Idaho. When my nephew heard she was coming through, he and his fiancée decided to go ahead and get married. There were other factors but she raised him so it was great timing.
So I lost two weeks of writing. I’m not complaining. The wedding was lovely and I am glad my sister was here. It’s just that it was a week of cleaning and stressing, then a week of visiting, running around, and the wedding, of course. There simply wasn’t time or energy for writing but that didn’t stop the craving.
We’ve all been there. Mommy or Daddy duty. Doctor appointments. The day job. The auto repair shop. There are constant interruptions, big and small, taking up the precious little time we have for writing. So what can you do?
First, carry a notebook, smartphone, or recorder on you at all times. Keep sticky notes at all stations where you might light even for a minute. Remember to keep at least one pen/pencil with you. I like the kind that hang around your neck so you always know where to find it. Some of the ones on Amazon look like jewelry more than pens. Lovely.
During the wedding week, I wrote dozens of notes to myself while trying not to appear rude or unsociable. There are social expectations, after all. You may claim to not care about what people think but most of us find ourselves conforming to a certain level of social behavior…at the edges, I admit, but still within the non-confrontational boundaries.
Next, Think! When you are in your paper gown and waiting that twenty minutes before the doctor arrives, think about your characters. This is a wonderful time to get to know them better by imagining how they move through their day. A flash of genius will sort out a plot hitch. Did you remember to have your notebook with you? Ideas happen at the damndest times. (Please, no texting or writing when driving.)
These tactics are fairly well known to all writers. What do you do when the interruptions keep you away from the keyboard for days at a time?
I started to go through withdrawal. It wasn’t pretty. And picking my writing back up has been difficult. Right now I am creating this column instead of working on my story.
It’s one way to spark up the creative engine. I’ll gather my notes and start typing on the story I was writing or maybe start a new one and come back to the other. Whatever it takes to get the words out.
So don’t despair. Those interruptions, large or small, will happen. Work your way through it any way that feels right to you. Remember, a page a day will be a book in a year. So your write a paragraph today and three pages tomorrow…Just Don’t Quit.
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