The following is an excerpt of my new release: Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World.
CHAPTER ONE: Living a Life Full of Interruptions
Life happens. There’s no escaping it.
You finally catch a minute to write and are just getting into the flow when your son screams: he sees a spider.
He’s terrified of bugs, so you grab a tissue and toss it outside.
But he insists you check under the bed, in the closet, and every nook and cranny of his room.
After fifteen minutes of checking dark spots, along the ceiling, and among the toys littering his floor, you return to your writing.
Then your phone rings with your husband complaining about his boss and coworkers.
No matter what we do, we’re always interrupted.
Our writing must compete with work, family, chores…
And when we finally get back to our writing, something else steals our attention away.
Leaving us once again at square one, trying to regain our flow.
Every moment our attention wanders is time stolen from our projects, making it difficult to get back on task and find our flow again.
It can take up to twenty-five minutes to regain our focus, provided we don’t get distracted again.
Our minds can’t switch on and off at random.
Transitioning takes time because we’re still thinking about the last distraction or task.
It’s like a mental residue we can’t quite shake.
Doubts about our work, anxiety over the next step, congratulating ourselves for a job well done…
It takes time and effort to shove these thoughts from our minds and shifting our focus is tiring.
And as the day goes on, we lose our motivation to write.
For most writers, this can be devastating.
Concentrating on our writing is hard enough without things competing for our attention.
It’s even more difficult when you have children.
When they’re not in school, they want your attention for every little thing.
Even if it means being excited about a movie character or showing off something they made of Lego.
They’re not interrupting out of spite—they just want attention.
Well… most of the time. It depends on the kid.
My ten-year-old acts out and interrupts on purpose when his medicine hasn’t kicked in yet or is wearing off.
But when you have a child with ADHD and ODD, you learn to cope.
They can’t help bouncing off the walls, any more than the fact we can’t keep up, physically or mentally.
It’s in their nature.
But defiance is another issue altogether.
It’s almost impossible to write when your kid is smacking you or shoving something in your face.
Doing anything he can to disrupt your time, just because he knows you’re trying to think.
I dread the days my son is off school because I get nothing done.
Not that it’s much better when I’m constantly called to school because he’s disruptive or violent.
Children need lots of attention, and it’s our job to give it to them. No matter their difficulties or ours.
But life is hard even without kids.
Something is always demanding our attention: our career, chores, a nagging spouse…
Not to mention the constant distractions of a phone, Internet, TV, or someone at our front door.
Whenever we get a large chunk of time, we’re usually exhausted and ready to relax.
We don’t have the energy for one more thing.
We decide there’s plenty of time. It’s not going anywhere. Why rush?
So, we turn on the TV, read our email, log on to Facebook, read…
And we tell ourselves: “I need time to unwind. It’s only a short break.”
Ten minutes turn into an hour, then two, and time slips away.
Soon, the day is over, and we never got to our writing.
Too many times of this, and we forget about our writing or push it off whenever we can find the time.
It’s a shame we let life overwhelm us to the point we shove aside the things we love.
In the end, the world suffers the loss of our unique brand of creativity.
For our dreams will never become known, and our stories lost.
No matter how hard we try to avoid interruptions, they will always be there.
It’s easy to let our writing fall to the side in favor of doing other things, especially when we’re unpublished.
There’s no one waiting to read your next masterpiece. No pressure to finish or deadline to reach.
We keep telling ourselves it’ll get done.
Except we keep pushing it to the side and it never does. Somehow, our writing ends up last because something else always takes a higher priority.
Life is busy and finding writing time can be difficult.
We must each decide how important our writing is to the future and our happiness.
There are no shortcuts. Only hard work.
If you’ve enjoyed this excerpt, Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World is now available on Amazon through Kindle Unlimited.
Renea strives to help writers develop the focus and skills they need to finish their first novel, offering writers practical writing advice they can apply one step at a time.
She is the author of Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World where she helps writers find the courage to accept life will never be perfect. And if we want our dreams to succeed, we must fight to make them a reality.
She currently lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband Joe, her three children, and her five lovable furballs.
From a young age, Renea was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, which she read in the ninth grade.
She is an avid reader, with her main interests residing in history, mythology, and fantasy, along with some romance and science fiction in her earlier years.
When Renea’s not writing, she enjoys genealogy, role-playing games, and dreams of traveling the world. In a past life, she plucked chickens and milked cows.