If you are going to be a serious writer you have to master one skill above all others…the art of saying NO! This is perhaps the hardest of skills to master for any writer, especially if you are one of those part-time partner – parent types.
Personally, my days get hijacked often. I set a schedule, grab my morning coffee, sit down at my desk, and lift my fingers above the keyboard…..and the phone rings. I know in my heart that I shouldn’t answer it. I often spend several rings sitting, staring at it like I am making a life or death decision – answer or not answer. In my head I hear, “cut the red wire, cut the red wire” and then my mind goes to that place all parents go when a phone rings…maybe one of them is hurt, maybe they are being held hostage at the local Starbucks and all they need to be freed is my Gold card. Maybe, maybe, maybe eventually wins out and I pick up the phone….my day has then officially been hijacked.
Yesterday went very much that way. My middle son called to complain about the ex, my friend Tara then called to say she saw my youngest son pushing his car through an intersection because it had stalled, my oldest son called to discuss a roommate problem and the spouse rang through to tell me that today was the worse day EVER at work. As soon as I got through all that, the mother of my grandkids called to see if I could sit them. (They are 3, 2 and 6 months) At the end of the day yesterday I had clearly lost….family drama -10, writing – 0.
Here’s how yesterday should have gone….I should have never picked up that phone the first time. At the end of the day my son’s ex is still his problem, the youngest got to work after all, the oldest has to work out his own issues and my spouse could have texted me the statement, “worse day EVER”. As for the grand kids…well, I have to set some ground rules there too. The problem most of us writers have is that our families see two major things when they see us and what we do…(a) that we are at home, making us accessible and (b) that we have all the time in the world, because we are accessible. Either way, being accessible is the problem.
The key to solving this problem is simple…just say no. Don’t answer your phone between the hours of ? and ? and let everyone know that unless someone is bleeding, actually gushing blood, you aren’t accessible. If you don’t control the situations, the situations will control you and your writing which makes for no actual writing at all. I do understand that some of you have small children and it’s a bit harder but, once again, if you choose your writing time carefully and then set the parameters in such a way that everyone else “gets it”… you will be a much happier and productive writer. So say it with me folks…..noooooooooo……
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