Friday, April 10, 2015

Writers Should Set Social Limits

I love the poster/quotes at The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life.. You'll find some interesting essays, quotes and other info at this site. And it's not just for women. The advice given covers all genders.

Edna Ferber wrote novels that have withstood the test of time---they're classics.  Among the best known are Giant, Show Boat, Cimarron and So Big. The entire list of her works is lengthy. Perhaps that is because she practiced what she preached. She gave up some things in life so she could continue working on her novels. She put work before self.

Sounds so easy, doesn't it? Well, it isn't. Those who write at home have multiple distractions through the day. Phones, doorbells, kids coming home from school, dogs needing to go outside. Then, there are the social events calling us. Lunches, teas, civic meetings, shopping with the girls. Add to that the social media most people use today--ie twitter, facebook and all the others like it. Yes, life has a whole lot of distractions to sidetrack writing time.

To say no to invitations and some of the other things I've mentioned takes determination on the writer's part. She/he must make a decision as to what takes greater importance in life. If it's writing, then you're going to have to learn to be strong enough to politely turn down many invitations. You'll need to set limits on the amount of time you spend on social media.

I'm not suggesting that you say no to everything. Far from it/ For our own mental health, we need some of these social distractions but we need to know when and where to draw the line.

One of my writing friends worked long and hard on a nonfiction novel in her home office. Because she was there, her retired husband popped in and out with comments and quesions through the day. She told me she'd be working like mad and there he was again, wondering about this or that. She finally put a sign on the door that said WRITER AT WORK and he learned, that unless it was an emergency, he was not to bother her when the sign was in place.

It's up to you (and me), as the writer, to set the guidelines. Others in our family or circle of friends can't be expected to know how much time we want to devote to our work and how much to our social life.

In closing, let me add one thing--Ms. Ferber probably didn't have nearly the number of distractions in her day as we do now.

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