You’ll be in the middle of a scene, words flowing smooth like honey, a steady stream of golden excellence when all of a sudden, “Did you hear me?”
You shake your head, as though hearing things. “What?”
“I asked if you’d . . . .” And it really doesn’t matter what comes next, it can be anything. The problem is when we turn back from this conversation and look at the screen again, we find that train of thought thoroughly smashed into the side of a mountain (did I just mix metaphors?) Oh the carnage.
It’s at this point that we sigh, look at our taskbar and think, “Might as well check my email.”
Our loved ones don’t understand why we get so cranky with these distractions. They think it some flaw in our artistic nature that makes us volatile. But in all honesty, if you were to call them at work every five minutes to ask what they wanted for dinner, then to tell them about an interesting story you saw on the net about a woman who saw Jesus in a tub of Crisco, then to ask what they were doing that weekend, then to ask if they could hold the baby, then to ask if, . . . they would go nuts and start screaming their bloody heads off. “I’m at work. You can’t call me every five minutes. It’ll have to wait until I get home.”
But we aren’t at work, are we? We’re already at home. If we’re not getting paid for what we’re writing it adds another complication because no one sees potential profit as pay, they see it as a hobby, and frankly, it is. It remains a hobby until we turn it into a business. So in that respect we have to learn to shoulder some of the irritation.
No matter how you try to explain it to them, they either don’t understand, or simply forget. This is why I try to write late into the night when everyone’s asleep. Of course that draws complaints about improper sleeping patterns, but I can put up with that if it means that I can get out a complete thought without it being interrupted. Besides, I also tend to stop on my own when the baby is around. If he comes to the door and hangs out there, “Ba ba ba baaaaa!” (no, he’s not trying to say bottle, he’s breast fed) I’ll often stop what I’m doing to hold him or play with him because I know he’s not going to be doing this for long.
One of the methods that I’ve come up with for getting back into my writing is to have several documents open at the same time. This very entry came about because of an interruption during my Fatal Flaw post. I was nearly at the end of it when my Step Mum, who was over to take the little guy for the day, came over to the office asking for me to come and give my son a kiss goodbye, then to comment on the progress on the garage again, then to comment about how nice it was outside and how I should get out and get to work, all of which occurred after her telling us about her latest attempt at matchmaking, and talking about my son’s shoes and needing me to find him another shirt despite her knowing where they were and so on and so forth, so that by the time it got to the “come give your son a kiss,” part, I was on my last nerve. When I sat down to finish the post, I had no idea what I had been talking about or where I was going with it. The entire post would have to be reread before I could continue writing.
What I did instead was open a new document and titled it “Interruptions.” As writers we often have several projects going at once. Articles for magazines, short stories, a novel or two, a blog we have to keep up with. If we keep several of those things going at the same time, when we stall out on one, we can jump to another. Once you stall out on that one, switch back to the last one and you just might find that the honey has thawed and is flowing once more.
Life it seems is a grand juggling act. The more things you’ve got in the air the more “oooo”s and “aaaaaah”s you’ll get from your spectators. And you’ll probably make more money too when it comes time to drop something into the hat.
Do you guys and gals have any special restarting habits? What do you do with interruptions? No really. I want to know. Comments in the top right corner of the post.