Saturday, April 01, 2006

Running Away from Home

Lately, I’ve found it necessary to run away from home in order to write. Or at least, to run away from my desktop computer. Why? Because my computer is its own source of distraction from my writing. Our financial records are there, pointing an accusing finger at me. Computer games lurk around the edges, waiting to nab me for a “quick” game that lasts for 30 minutes or longer. On my desk, there always seems to be piles of flyers, brochures, or letters to be handled, all received in the mail that needs my attention.

If it’s not my computer, then it might be my dad wanting to share some tidbit of news, or my daughter needing guidance, or the dogs barking at a strange car pulling up our long drive, or the phone ringing. Notice it’s not the dirty dishes, or laundry or television that gets me. I’m not consciously avoiding sitting down to write. I really do want to be writing.

So, the best thing for me to do is pack up my laptop and head to a place where I can set up and write among other people who have laptops (so I don’t stick out in the crowd). Usually a place that has wi-fi works well, and I buy a coffee or soda and get to work. Then I can become anonymous and write for a few hours without the interruptions I find at home.

How do you handle distractions and interruptions with your own writing?


Paula said...

I grew up in a family of five--two parents, three kids all close to the same age. The house was never quiet, never peaceful. Too many opinionated, forceful people living in much too small a space. I learned to tune out the chaos (which is how I got through school with good grades), and for the first part of my writing career, while I was living alone, I actually had to turn on the television or the radio to be able to concentrate at all.

As I've gotten older, however, I find myself more easily distracted by noise and confusion unless I'm really deep into my story. So my current living conditions (my widowed mom, my disabled sister, her two elementary school aged children, and me, plus a small menagerie of cats and dogs all in one medium-sized house) can be a problem when I'm trying to write.

Added to that is my newfound role as bread-winner (by default, I play the daddy role in this household. I try to restrain myself from making rude noises and scratching inappropriate places in public). That means I have the added stress of making sure all the bills get paid in a timely way and that we sock some money away in savings. It's very stressful, which may explain my inability to focus. :)

Getting away isn't really a good option for me, since there aren't that many places around here that are laptop friendly. I find myself writing more and more during my lunch hour at work and then following up with a page or two at night. Then, on the weekends, I try to set aside four or five hours to really buckle down and write.

I think you just have to find a system that works for you and keep at it. It's very easy to get off track and off schedule.

Carla Swafford said...

Obsession. That's the only reason I can write at all. I'm obsessed with writing, telling a story. Though life in general interferes often, I keep at it. Even if it is only making notes of what to write next, figuring out the good and bad of a character, etc. As long as I'm writing something, I feel like I'm moving toward being published. That's the only way I can explain how I can write despite distractions. And then again, I occasionally hide in a room.

Angel said...

I had to smile at your title, because that's what I call my need to get away. I'll tell my husband "It's time for me to run away from home!" And I do, at least for a few hours.
I don't have to worry about a laptop connection because I work away from home on an alphasmart (love, love, love it!) or handwrite notes and scenes.
I'll go to a restaurant and have a meal (that someone else cooks and cleans up) while I write, or go to a bookstore or the library. I love using drive time to plot, and keep a small tape recorder handy for that purpose.
Or I find someone to take my kids off my hands for a few hours so I can work at home. But usually I'm the one who leaves while their father keeps them.
Sometimes you just have to run away from home to get anything done.