Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dealing with Distractions

Writers write. Everyone else just talks about it.

I first read that maxim years ago, and I think it's true. In fact, I used to have a sign bearing that very saying above my desk several houses and offices ago. Back then, I think I needed the constant reminder. Today, I don't. I know that writers write and that everyone else just talks about it.

What do we do when the dreaded Real Life interferes, though?

I'm moving in a couple weeks. My free time has been mostly consumed with packing, looking at furniture for the new place buying said furniture, packing, trying to find a renter, squeezing in time to write, and packing. Writing hasn't been too high on the priority list. I can't find many spare moments at work to knock out a scene or two; we're just too busy there. Distractions, if you will, now dominate my free time.

When I can, though, I still find time to write.

I make it a point to attend my writing group's regular Tuesday write-in (where I am right now, in fact). Yes, I could probably spend that time packing or doing something productive for the move. Instead, I come to the cafe, grind out a few scenes, then do packing and other "fun" things when I get home. During the week, I'll write a scene or three when I can. Sometimes, it's right before bed. Sometimes, it's waiting for dinner to cook. If I'm lucky, I can do something while eating lunch at work.

We all have distractions. But writers write. If we fancy ourselves writers, we need to deal with the distractions and find as much time to write as we can. Get up 15 minutes earlier and knock out a scene. Work on your current chapter while you're eating lunch, or while you're watching the nightly news. The key is to keep working and make sure the ideas churning around in your head make it into your work in progress.

Everyone else just talks about it. Don't just talk about. To borrow a pretty successful catchphrase, just do it.

If I can find the time and steal the minutes, so can you.