Behind “The Process”: Dealing with Interruptions

Writing is a lot of fun. But, for many, it requires a little warming up, though that’s not what this post is about. (I’ve previously written about that, if you’re interested.)

The most frustrating thing that can happen while writing, for me, anyway, is getting interrupted. Writer’s block only exists when you’re not making yourself write. When something doesn’t look as good as it should, I just view it as a work in progress. But interruptions are a special kind of awful.

It takes awhile to get into the flow of whatever you’re writing. When I get into the flow, I can hear people talking to me, but I almost can’t switch my mind out of what I’m writing right away to answer. And once the flow stops, it’s gone. Getting it back will take work.

Interruptions come in many forms. I think the worst are when you have to come to a full stop. The kid needs to get picked up from school. It’s time to eat. You have somewhere to be, someone to meet, something to do…whatever thing it may be.

Before you lose the flow completely, try this

Today I was writing a story. The first few paragraphs came out slow and laboriously. But it started to happen. First my pen started moving at a steady speed. Then it was all I could do to keep up with my thoughts.

Bliss. Then the alarm on my ancient iPhone went off: Get the little guy from school.

I waited until the last possible moment, scrambled down about 6 or 7 bullet points of where I would’ve gone had I not stopped, and set my notepad aside.

It works kind of backwards, in a way, to how I suggest using bullet points here and here, but the effect is the same–it is something that gets that creative muscle twitching. This time you’re putting it away for later.

So if you’re writing (random example) a story about someone who discovers they have super powers, but you have to stop where you are, write a few points out underneath, like so:

  • they find out they’ve been lied to about where they came from
  • they run off in anger
  • out in the middle of the woods, they get attacked by a monster-like creature
  • they barely survive the struggle, injuring the creature, causing it to retreat
  • they come “home” and hear the whole story
  • they go out to try to use their powers for the first time

I dunno. Something like that. Then you can, hopefully, bypass some of the “work” of getting back into the flow.

Good luck!

(How do you handle interruptions and unwelcome stoppages? Comment below, yo!)

Thanks for reading!


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