The whole process of writing a book is long and arduous. From the first typed letter to the moment the files get sent off is roughly six months for me. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, depending on what factors are affecting my work. Some of these might be:
- Computer problems
- Lack of access to information for research purposes [i.e., the internet goes down]
- Interruptions due to illness of some sort, weather, familial problems, insect infestations
- Lack of sleep
- Constant interruptions from family members who have nothing better to do than call you into a room for some bullshit reason when you’re trying to work ["Look at the cute thing Kitty's doing!" "I couldn't give two shits, Mum."]
- Pets that don’t seem to understand the words ‘No’, ‘Down’, ‘Leave me alone’, or ‘Fuck off, this is my damn sandwich’
- Friends who must think that because you work from home, your schedule is wide open ["Hey, would you come over and clean the viruses off my Dell Shitbox 3000?" "Hey, you wanna come over and watch The Scavengers with us?" "I really need a babysitter and I know you hate children, but would you watch my kids for me this afternoon?"]
- Writer’s Block
- Lack of coffee [for those writers who consume caffeine; I don't, for many reasons]
- Lack of inspiration
- Power outages
- …and sundry other factors
I’ve been encountering quite a lot of these lately. Facebook seems to be the worst these days, along with my poor ability to say ‘No’ to people who ask me for help. I’m getting better. Therapy has helped me to not only set boundaries for myself and others, but also to realise that some people just don’t get it. They never have and probably never will.
But that’s okay.
Getting past distractions takes some discipline and lots of determination. One must have iron will and focus.
I do not have any of that shit. And I can’t take Adderall any more, either.
So how do I get past the distractions? By setting boundaries for myself and for others, and chastising myself severely when I don’t enforce them. I reward myself for sticking to my guns and getting work done.
I also use work as an excuse to get out of doing shit I don’t want to do. “Yeah, I can’t come over and watch your kids. Too much work.” “No, sorry, can’t come watch The Fellowship of the Bling. Gotta do revisions.” “Yeah, I’d love to come over and help you paint your entire house mauve, but I really need to finish this chapter. Deadlines, you know.”
Then there’s Mein Geliebte, who lovingly gives me encouragement, as well as threats: “Why aren’t you working? I don’t care if you haven’t eaten all day. I want to know what happens to Connor! If you don’t have that thing ready before June, I’m cutting off your supply of Ribena and Maltesers.”
Works every time.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about my writing process. It’s one that I’ve developed for myself, since not every writer uses the same methods. For example, some writers actually find outlines to be very useful. I honestly don’t. I also don’t know why I bother with them. And I want to punch my old teachers for making me write them out in class when I never, ever fucking followed them.
Shit. Where was I? Ah, sod it. I need sleep.
*Brand name in America is Neurontin, and it’s terrible for your brain. There will be a rant about this later.