When I read articles or interviews about famous authors, I’m always interested to read about their writing routines. It seems that many have special places where they write for a set amount of hours. Most seem to crave quiet and an absence of distraction.
I envy this. When I look at my own writing habits, they sound, well… a lot less disciplined. Then again, writing isn’t my main profession. At work, I am disciplined and – when I require complete silence – I can shut my office door and block out distractions. Deadlines are deadlines. Having worked as a journalist early on in my career taught me that they’re sacred.
But writing is something I do in my free time. I don’t mean to sound as if I’m not at all disciplined. I write quite quickly and have often run scenes through my mind before I type them onto my screen… and yet…
My children are still pretty young and still in the phase where they need me ( I am far too aware this won’t last for very long). I feel guilty taking too much time away from them, so I find myself writing in snatches – getting in a few paragraphs here and there while my older son practices the trumpet, or a Lego construction is taking shape around my laptop or a full scale battle enactment goes on around me.
I’ve grown oblivious to noise. I’ve had to. I don’t have my own office at home. I’m often interrupted to break up an argument or to answer a homework question. My concentration’s not broken for long and I’m able to jump back into the story the moment I’m given the chance.
But I find I don’t mind these snatches of time. Somehow they help me to concentrate even more when I have longer stretches for working, knowing that uninterrupted blocks of time are worth their weight in gold. When my family goes to bed, I often find myself with a few hours of late-night silence and it seems a precious gift.
I’m sure this haphazard writing schedule is not ideal, but at this stage in my life it’s this or nothing. And I can – mostly – handle it.
But it makes me wonder how many other writers escape to their fictional worlds as chaos reigns around them? Does it hinder or promote creativity? I suspect that there are as many writing disciplines as there are writers. What’s your writing method?