Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Intrusions Affect your Writing

I’ll be going great guns on a scene, really be into my characters and have total focus on what’s happening in my story. Then suddenly the phone rings and it’s my sister having a melt down. Or it’s the bank informing me of some crisis with one of my accounts. Or a pipe bursts inside the wall and it sounds like a flood is about to carry me and my computer away. Events like this can put a serious dent in “the moment.”

Those aren’t the best examples, but my point is that sometimes everyday life intrudes on the writing life and can seriously affect creativity. When sudden events pass, you can climb back on that horse again and hopefully pick up where you left off. But if you’re suffering from a more long term interruption, such as a death in the family, loss of work, illness, or a big move, it’s not so easy to get your groove back.

Such setbacks are part and parcel of the writing life. Depending on the level of devastation, it could take time to get yourself back on track. It’s up to you to decide when. Sometimes you have no choice but to get back to it because of a deadline.

There are times that just switching your focus to another creative project can jolt you back to the path you were on before you got derailed. I think most artists have more than one creative outlet, so embarking on a new artistic project may jar your muse back into action.

A change of scenery often helps, too, so a quiet walk through the park or a gentle hike in the wilderness with Mother Nature may return peace to your soul.

It’s like clearing out the bad mojo and brushing away whatever dark clouds descended during your trauma. Best of all, getting back to your creative work is often healing all by itself.

Do you have methods that work for you when the unexpected comes along to disrupt your writing flow?


TheaH said...

I don't have any other answers for getting back on track, but for keeping on track, just fifteen minutes a day in front of the computer can keep you in the game. Life rolls may take our concentration away, may turn our focus to the outside world, may pull at our heart strings, but those fifteen minutes can convince us we're still writers, and that's what's the most important when pipes burst and loved ones melt down. It's that confidence, that believe in yourself that can keep us keeping on.

Karen Duvall said...

Great point, Thea. Just keeping the pedal to the metal is an important reminder to just do what we do no matter what's going on around us.

If i can take something away from an adverse situation that might be useful in my writing, i'll do that, too. It's all grist for the mill. :) And i don't know what it is about me and clichés today. Sorry. :)

Mike Ruchhoeft said...

Sometimes I go back a chapter or two and read to the point where I left off. Doesn't always work though.

Inkpot said...

When I have a few days between editing for clients, I don't take my computer to my writing lunches. That way I have only paper and pen to do hand edits of my rough drafts or long hand new chapters.

Corey Schwartz said...

I work with a partner. That kind forces me to get back on track. WE have regular "meeting" times online. I can cancel if I have an emergency of course like a doctor appt, but often I meet her when i dont' "feel" like writing because I have made a commitment to her.

Of course, not everyone wants to write collaboratively, but having some sort of writing buddy (i.e. someone you agree to meet at Starbucks once a week with your laptop )might help you stick to your routine during low motivation times.

Karen Duvall said...

Thank you, Mike, Inkpot, and Corey for your comments.

Mike, I also like to read back over what i've already written because it helps me get back in the swing of the story.

Ink, that's a great idea. I think writing longhand has a tendency to make you work harder.

Ooh, yes, Corey. Like a critique group who can hold you to task. That's a good idea, too.