Some distractions we have a lot more ability to control. I’ve blogged about your setting and digital distractions. But one area that you might not have given much thought is the distractions from people.
Photo by KaiChanVong in Flickr
This is where setting boundaries comes into play. In fact, I have to give a plug for author Henry Cloud who has written numerous books on boundaries. It might be helpful for those who struggle with this issue. At the end of this blog, I will share links to some of those.
But back to the topic of people distractions (notice how I got distracted there?)…this is a bit more complicated to gain a handle on. Especially if you live in a home where there are lots of people or the house is so small, it’s hard to find a place to escape to.
First, let me say that relationships are more important than your words. I’m preaching to myself here. Because I’ve been known to get a little snappy when I’m being interrupted in the middle of writing. Yet at the same time, it’s important that others respect your space and time. The key is finding balance.
When my children were younger, this was much more difficult to navigate. Now that they are older, they better understand when something can wait.
Sometimes it’s even been an issue with my husband, who would come into the room I write (which happens to also house one of our televisions and comfy recliners) and plop himself down. Even if he was quiet (looking at his computer), I found it unnerving to have someone in the same room. I would lose my concentration.
So I had to very kindly explain why this was disturbing to me. My tone and choice of words makes all the difference!
Of course, for some people they thrive in noise and activity. They can write with the television blaring, kids screaming, pots and pans clanging and the dog barking. Kudos to you! But for most of us, that isn’t feasible.
So what’s the solution? Well, if you have very young children, you are just going to have to recognize that writing might not happen as often as you would like. Get creative and write during nap time or after they have gone to sleep. If you have the resources, hire someone to babysit them for an hour each day. Of course, if you ask nicely—your spouse might be willing to help out.
With older children, set rules that you are only disturbed if it’s an emergency. You might have to give them examples. For my teenage daughter, just about everything is an emergency! But make sure you break away from your writing to come say hi or hang out for a few minutes. Don’t hole yourself away for hours on end.
I’ve even known writers who put a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside their door. That means no knocking and no entering.
I think the bottom line when it comes to people distractions is this: Be flexible. Be patient. But at the same time teach others the importance of respecting your writing time.
Henry Cloud Books:
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries Face to Face: How to Have That Difficult Conversation You’ve Been Avoiding
Boundaries With Kids