Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When you’re writing full-time, people tend to think you are always available. Granted, I have more flexibility than most workers, but the work still has to get done. If I don’t write, the opportunities for payment do not come.

I have relatives staying with me for three weeks. Or maybe I’m staying with them. It’s a family cottage—no reservations, no exclusive bookings. That’s the way it should be. However, the whole writing routine is out of whack. I hadn’t realized how critical that first chunk of writing is each morning. I had gotten into a routine of starting a pot of coffee, letting it brew while I walked the dogs and then sitting down at the dining table to begin the day’s work as I periodically glanced at the peaceful river view. While it was an hour of writing at most, it set the tone for the day.

My start is delayed now as breakfast television takes over the main living quarters. I try to write in my tiny bedroom, but looking at wood paneling is not as inspiring as the river, lined with trees in the midst of a color makeover. And “Today” blares through the thin walls. (One of my relatives is hard of hearing.) I have asked myself why background noise at home is distracting while din in a café makes writing feel less solitary and I suspect it comes down to expectations. In a home environment, I expect to have some control over sources of noise; when I venture into a public venue for writing, I know I won’t be alone and the people and bits of their conversation may actually lead to a writing spark.

By the time I have my shower, leave the cottage and drive to a more focused writing site, two hours have ticked by. Often, that is when the writing for the day starts. I never seem to catch up.

One more week to go. In the meantime, I’m trying to shorten the morning delay and fitting in extra writing after 11 p.m. The office, it seems, is never closed.

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