Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Writers Deal With Distractions Daily

One of the detriments of writing at home is distractions. We all set certain goals each day, whether we write them down or just list them mentally. But we know that our plan is not always going to happen.

There are days when we can write without interruptions and the words flow easily. We hit our goal number of words and perhaps even exceed it. If only they could all be like that.

Instead, the phone rings over and over. Even if you let the answering machine take the call, you still cock and ear to listen. Just in case it's something important. Or interesting. So, fingers leave the keyboard and you answer the call. When you go back to work, it's not always easy to pick up the train of thought you had when you answered the call.

Doorbells ring. You're working and don't want to get up to answer. Probably some kid selling magazines to get through college. Or a religious group offering a tract. Then again, maybe it's a neighbor needing help. Or bringing a newly-baked gift. Depending on what your curiosity level is, you either go to the door or ignore it and keep on writing. Even if you continue to write, a part of your mind is still wondering who was at the door.

The dryer buzzes. Clothes are done. You know that if you hop up and fold them immediately, you'll have less ironing to do later. If you keep on working and let the clothes linger in the dryer for an hour or two, they'll have more wrinkles than those funny little dogs with a Chinese name! Once again, only you can decide which is more important--finishing the chapter or having a dryer full of wrinkled clothes. You can turn off the signal that buzzes on your dryer, but then you'd always have wrinkled clothes to fold.

Kids come home from school while you're pounding away at your keyboard. You're on a roll. Kids run into your office asking what they can have for an after-school snack. You know and they know that the same things are in the kitchen every day. They don't have to ask. But they do want to have some interaction with Mom or Dad, whichever the case may be. Again, it's your decision. Do you wave them away and keep working? Or do you give them a hug and go out to the kitchen to find snacks for them?

If a writer works at home, he/she is going to have to deal with distractions on a daily basis. And no two of us are going to handle those interferences in exactly the same way. We may not handle the same ones the same way every day.

One of my writer friends found that her recently retired husband constantly came into her home office to ask a question or just to comment on something he'd seen on TV or read in the newspaper. She was writing a book and his many interruptions finally got to her. So, she made a sign for the door that said WRITER WORKING. She taped it at eye level and closed the door. He got the hint and kept his chit-chat for times when she took a break.

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