I don’t know about you, but I always complain about not having enough time to write. When a (non)emergency happens at home, or friends want to catch you me up on the latest gossip, I find myself getting annoyed and sometimes downright angry. How dare the kids demand food at the precise moment my main character is about to make a major discovery. Wait, didn’t I feed the dog yesterday? You mean she has to be fed daily? And the nerve of those friends of mine wanting to know if I am going to the movies on Saturday. Don’t they realize that I’m writing? Talk about being inconsiderate.
Okay, obnoxious examples aside, you get the idea. Because some of us don’t have a lot of time to write, we become a little obsessive over the time we do have. But did you ever think that maybe you’re the one to blame in being so distracted? Last night, I realized my part in being a distraction to my writing time.
I have two computers. I work on publishing-related matters on my desktop and I do all of my writing on my laptop. Sometimes, while I’m writing, I will log in to my desktop to check my Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. I don’t even have to access these sites directly. Using TweetDeck, Digsby or even my email — since they all allow for multiple social network accounts — I can transform my desktop from a publishing tool to a social media hub, with pop-up notification galore. You would think that’s enough, but then I have my iPhone within easy reach as text messages come flooding in from friends and family members. (Anyone who knows me knows you have a better time reaching me by text over calling. I’m really not the phone type.)
So with my laptop on the desk, my office becomes a cacophony of dings, pings and little melodies that, while irritating, serve the purpose of letting me know when my attention is needed elsewhere. And I don’t know about you, but when I see a post that compels me to respond, I have to respond right then and there. Even if it is just a “LOL,” I just have to respond to a witty post. Then a would see a tweet that I had to investigate. I love my free iPhone apps, sue me. Oh, and can you wait a second, then phone is ringing…
I think you get my point. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in everything around us, but doing what we should be doing, writing. We’re quick to fault others from taking our writing time from us, but we forget to take responsibility for our shortcomings. I admit it, I’m guilty. Last night I had to be real with myself. Did I really need to update my Facebook? Could the tweet about something I read wait until after I was finished writing? Could I have let the calls go to voicemail? Maybe turned the phone off? My Farmville could have waited another hour, right?
If I expect people to take my writing seriously, I have to be serious about my writing. The same goes for you. You want friends and family to take you seriously as a writer? Then you need to take yourself seriously. Stop being distracted by everything other than finding the right speaker for your poem. Stop checking in on your friends’ cafes and start eavesdropping on conversations between your characters. Don’t wait, start today. Stop complaining that you don’t have enough time to write and writer. Start complaining about not having enough time to play Mafia Wars because you’ve been on tour promoting your new book.