Writing and Interruptions

I read this article from David Farland the other day and it has stayed with me so I thought I’d share. He was talking about the difficulty of interruptions when you’re writing. Notice that it takes him an hour or two to get to the concentration level to be able to write. I talked to Jane and she is this way too.

I think concentration is essential. And I’m pretty good at blocking out everything around me. But I think interruptions and/or the inability to concentrate for some reason explains why some days it is so very difficult to actually accomplish the writing that I’ve planned for the day. 

I think this is especially true if those around you don’t appreciate the fact that you are a writer and that while it may appear that you’re not “doing” anything important, in fact you are.

I remember listening to one writer say she had no choice but to write at the kitchen table with all her kids around. She didn’t miss a beat, keeping track of each one and directing their activities as she pounded out manuscripts–but she said she only wrote PBs because since they were short she could get interrupted often and still finish.

Heres what David Farland had to say: “The problem of course is that when I’m writing, I’m concentrating deeply upon my work. As Stephen King puts it, ‘I’m in a trance-like state.’ You have to get into that state to report on the myriad things that you’re imagining—conversations, conflicts, characters in action, vivid descriptions of scenes—and you have to handle all of this artfully, creating prose that is precise and powerfully moving.
“In order for me to get deeply into that trance-like state, it takes somewhere between an hour or two, and to tell the truth, I’m not good for more than a few hours per day—maybe four to six. The concentration is that intense….”

So what do you think?

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One Response to Writing and Interruptions

  1. Interruptions are certainly a factor in getting things done. I do think it is perfectly “legal” to protect writing time by 1. letting the answering machine take the call. 2. shooing the pets out of the office and closing the door. and 3. telling grandchildren that unless I see flames or blood it is NOT a big enough reason to come screaming into the office! My husband, however, is welcome to interrupt at any time.
    Okay, some of these are half-kidding. But only half-kidding. The truth is, family and friends may need to learn that your writing time is the same as any other work time. It deserves respect. So, if you are working from 10 to 3, everyone will eventually become accustomed to being called back after 3.
    Just my thoughts from here at Blossom Farm. And if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work. :}

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