A friend mentioned last week that she’s having trouble writing with distractions. Kids, phones, internet, email, Facebook, Twitter, errands, house-cleaning, meal-cooking, laundry . . . life is coming at her 180 mph with its hair on fire, and her muse is retreating along with her characters.
I sympathize. I wrote my first few books when the kiddo was little and either playing at friends, napping or in bed. For the first fourteen years or so of my writing career, I wrote at night, when the house was quiet, the phone wasn’t ringing and the only thing on TV was infomercials.
I needed–demanded–absolute quiet to create. It worked great . . . until it didn’t. A year or so ago, I decided I needed to be able to work even if it wasn’t quiet, so I deliberately began putting myself in noisy situations. Music playing, television on, husband talking.
It took time, but it’s worked. I can write pages in the middle of Baby Doc’s crowded waiting room, at a table in McDonald’s (in the play land, no less) or at a busy airport gate. I’m not as fast as I am with quiet, but the words are coming. And the more I do it, the better they come.
What about you? If you’re one of those authors who writes 10 pages at her kids’ soccer game and doesn’t miss a play, I hate you. Okay, I admire you, too, but still . . . Silence, music, TV, other people — what works for you?