You know how it goes. We’re rolling along, making headway on our work-in-progress, and BAM! Life socks us in the gut. My (most recent) sucker punch came when my husband’s heart problems landed him in the hospital last week with atrial fibrillation. Long story, but he’s fine now, praise God.
On the other hand, I lost my sanity, my energy, and (when you tack on the Fourth-of-July holiday) a week of irreplaceable writing time.
Life interruptions come in many forms:
- Your (grand)child gets sick.
- Your spouse gets sick.
- Your car gets sick.
- You get sick.
- An ice storm leaves you without power for nearly a week.
- Your grandkids visit.
- You visit your grandkids.
- The dog needs a vet appointment.
- Spring hailstorms total your roof.
- You have to prepare pitches and pack for a writers conference.
- You go to the writers conference.
- You’re so exhausted after the writers conference that you need a vacation.
This year alone I’ve personally dealt with all of the above except item #1! And the hardest part for me after any kind of life interruption is getting back into the groove. When something hits at the beginning of the week, even if I could get back to normal by Thursday or Friday, I typically count the whole week as blown and plan to get a new start on Monday.
Of course Monday is likely to arrive with a few interruptions of its own. (And it did. Just as I sat down to work on this post, the roofers arrived with a load of shingles, so it’s going to be a very noisy few days at my house.)
What I have to remind myself--over and over and over again--is that the interruption-free life we consider “normal” is nonexistent. Interruptions are the norm. Interruptions are life.
So the problem becomes, how can we quickly get past the interruption, regain our focus, and get back to writing?
Um . . . drawing a blank here. No surefire solutions forthcoming, except to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck, plant ourselves in front of the computer, and (sorry to borrow from Nike) JUST DO IT. If you’re employed, you either get right back to work after an interruption (and probably have to make up the time you missed) or you get fired. When it comes to writing, you need to be just as tough on yourself.
Not easy. I get it. But sometimes sheer force of will is the only thing that works. You’ll also find plenty of encouragement available online to get you motivated and redirected. Here are a few sites to check out:
Writer’s First Aid: a medicine chest of hope : Kristi Holl, the creator of this blog, was my instructor back in the ‘80s when I took the Institute of Children’s Literature course. She’s an expert in working through the interruptions!
Craig Harper, motivational speaker : I came across this blog in one of Kristi’s posts.
Writer . . . Interrupted : My friend and WIN chapter president Gina Conroy is the creator of this blog, a great source of encouragement for writing moms and anyone else dealing with life’s ongoing interruptions.
Margie Lawson’s class “Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors,” offered online next January or you can order the lecture packet (see her Web site for details). Highly recommended!
Okay, everybody, how do you deal with the interruptions? What’s your strategy for churning out pages when life conspires against you?