Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peace and Quiet

So I'm chafing at the bit a tad. Well, a lot. I have two pages of revision notes I'm anxious to dive into, not to mention notes from my critique group, who is just finishing reading and giving me great feedback on my newest manuscript. And what I long for - what I think I need to write and to revise is a space in my mind that looks like this:

Ah. Serenity. It quiets the mind, allows new ideas to come into sharp focus, allows my muse to sit on my shoulder and carefully guide me through fantastic revisions and end up with the Best. Manuscript. Ever.

Alas. In our short summer season, we have Projects. Painting projects. Men in the house with power tools, doing remodeling projects. Clothes from my closet and important stuff strewn who-knows-where all over the house, and the smell of fresh paint on my fingertips (yes, I've been doing the painting.)

I know some of you create and write with people underfoot, kids and teenagers in the house, other work projects on your plate. How do you do it??

I keep telling myself - this, too, shall pass and soon it will just be me and the computer, thumping out those great words and phrases. But I am so restless, needing my quiet, creative space.

So I ask you. How do you make time and quiet and space to write? Have any of you taught yourself to write through distractions successfully? Any words of wisdom?


M.G.King said...

I can totally relate! Unfortunately I find peace and quiet only through sleep deprivation -- writing in the wee hours of the morning while everyone is still asleep. I try to do edits and rewrites when I know I'm going to be interrupted with phone calls, screaming kids, and everything else. Try to save those rare quiet times for that blank screen when I need to dream up characters and scenes.

Loretta Nyhan said...

I try to write in the mornings before the kids wake up. My guys sleep in, sometimes until 9 or 10. I'm lucky.

Also, after years of writing on trains and buses and in crowded restaurants, I kind of learned to tune everything out. Now, I think it's harder to turn off my mental to-do list--dishes that need to be washed, phone calls that need to be made, weeding that needs to be know how it is.

I taught a developemental reading class, and my students often had chaotic lives. They would complain about not being able to concentrate for various reasons. Because they couldn't change their home lives, I told them they had to train themselves to deal with it. I would pick an essay from our book and have them start reading. After a minute or two I'd blast Springsteen until they were done. We did this week after week until they barely noticed the music. You CAN train yourself to only hear what's inside your head.

Best of luck with your revisions.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I can certainly relate to this, Linda! I have a very hard time writing with too many distractions. Sometimes I close myself into my office and that muffles the house stuff going on. Other times, I head to a quiet cafe or library to write. Of course, once in a while the buzz can be too loud and distracting in these places, too. It's a constant battle. So it goes.

Linda Benson said...

Thanks for you comments!
M.G. - Methinks I need to be more dedicated and get up at 4:00 AM to write, too.

Loretta -fascinating. I have some old Springsteen albums. Great stuff. Maybe I will try that.

Cynthia - someday, I will have my own office, with a door *dreams*

Two of my critique group members rented an office in town where they go to write, so they won't be distracted my chores, housework, kids, etc. And I believe it's working for them.