One Interruption After Another

Write first.

That’s what the sign on my desk says. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. It seems as though my life is nothing but one long series of interruptions.

I’m writing the next Jeri Howard book, Cold Trail. Writing in the abstract sense, that is. I think about my plot and characters a lot, but I haven’t actually worked on the book in several days. I’ve had too many interruptions.

The biggest interruption of all, and this has been case for many years, is the day job. My writing brings in some money, but not enough to support me.

So I work outside my home. For the past thirty years, that has meant getting up very early in the morning so that I can write before going to work. Sometimes the flow of words will just get started when the travel alarm on my desk goes off. It’s time to save my work, shut off the computer and head for the day job.

By the way, the travel alarm is there because one day I was deep into what I was writing and looked up at the clock, thinking, oops, I should have been at work five minutes ago.

Other morning interruptions including answering email, dealing with the business of writing, and giving in to the temptation to check Facebook and my ebook sales.

There’s also the interruption of writing something other than my novel, like this blog post for the Perseverance Press blog, or something for my personal blog. Another writing project that must be done soon is my itinerary for my upcoming vacation so that my petsitters will know where I’ll be and when.

Or the interruptions take other forms – doing laundry in the morning to get ready for said trip, interrupting my time at the computer with the mundane task of transferring wet clothing from the washer to the dryer. A big interruption will be the upcoming repair work on the walls in the bedrooms, one of which serves as my office. And Daisy, the cat who feels that it’s her mission in life to get between me and the computer screen.

About that upcoming trip, sometimes I take my baby computer, the netbook, with me. Time spent in the airport, or on a plane or a train, is time to write, without the interruptions that crop up at home. Traveling by train, however, provides its own set of interruptions. When the journey takes place aboard the Amtrak California Zephyr, the scenery beckons, the rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado Rockies. After all, gazing out the window means seeing bald eagles along the Colorado River, and the real treat of seeing three bighorn sheep right next to the tracks.

In other words, there’s always going to be something that interrupts me. The question is how I deal with it.

Back to that sign – write first! Good advice, even if I don’t always follow it.


3 Responses

  1. Yep, life is one big interruption, but hang in there. Think of all the great story ideas, plot points, and bits of dialogue that come to you when you’re switching the wash or chopping vegetables. You may have to walk away from your computer, but I bet the story goes with you.

  2. Well said, Wendy. I try to think of interruptions as fuel for stories. And then, some days I think of writing as an interruption to my life!

  3. Sometimes family and friends think writing interrupts their/our lives. Especially when a deadline looms.

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