When the young writer didn’t communicate in his usual combination of valley-speak and text-speak, I knew something was up.
“I’m crazy-busy,” he spouted, jittery as an overly caffeinated Chihuahua.
I paused to inhale, maybe have a thought, so he anxiously interrupted to cement his point.
“Like, OMG, cray-cray busy!”
Oh, NOW I get it!
Sure, times seem fast, and we get busy, but does it make us crazy? Has the world gone mad, or are there just so many more options to pull our focus: smartphones, iPads, apps, games, social sites, blogs, internet radio, as well as televisions in restaurants, cars and, well, everywhere while at the same time we have tiny TV-computers in the palms of our hands?
Nowadays, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. Writers, like everyone else, are not immune to Crazy-Busy Syndrome.
To sit at my home studio desk and fully concentrate on my own or a client’s writing, I have to:
- declare a strong intention (involving gigantic musty books, fire, and a magic wand a la Dumbledore)
- turn off my iPhone (a crime in some states)
- darken the computer screen and disengage audio alerts (can’t shut it down, I might need it)
- hope the UPS delivery doesn’t arrive (shopping is SO easy these days)
- ignore the cats screaming for their evening meal at high noon, even with abundant dry food in their bowl (when will they make apps for cats?)
Without disengagement, the ‘ping’ of a text message, the appearance of a new email’s little golden envelope icon, or “Meow! Meow!” and WHAM! Cray-Cray! Where did my focus and time go?
A retired professional I know can’t even write in her own home as she’s pulled by her past students, her sorority planning committees, her church friends, as well as her neighbors. The epitome of graciousness, she would never ignore a doorbell, a phone call or anyone reaching out.
“I need to hide, and I mean in another country, but that takes too long.”
Since she is years into retirement from an institution with offices available, I suggested she call a work friend and set up a temporary space as most of the current staff doesn’t know her. Also, I mentioned, there are rooms at public libraries. I could tell that the idea of getting out of the house where she lives alone to have some privacy seemed absurd or, in today’s terms, crazy.
The world keeps spinning, and ideas keep coming and going, so when do you find the time to write? And where do you take the time? Writers have to claim the moments and protect the space to have sanity, peace and the opportunity to write.Disclaimer — It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences. However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.