|Boxes of inspiration?|
One of the most infuriating things for me as a writer is when real life gets in the way of those precious minutes (hours?) I need to spend in front of my computer. I’m ‘in the zone’ and I have all the ideas and words ready in my head – and then life interrupts. I really resent the phone calls, chores, trips, etc, etc, that eat in to my valuable writing time. However, I’m trying to be a little more zen about this. I’m trying to Embrace The Interruption.
OK, I know I’m not going to manage that all the time, but there are definitely moments when a distraction from writing can be useful. Here are some examples of when it has turned out to be just what I needed:
- That time I was driving to pick up one son from an after-school activity and paused at the traffic lights and saw a slim man in a leather jacket, hair pulled back in a pony-tail. He wasn’t exactly handsome but he was exactly who I needed to base the secondary hero of my current book on.
- The maddening phone call that dragged me out of deep engrossment in a current w-i-p and made me lose my train of thought, but provided me with exactly the dialect I needed for a bit of local colour.
- The rather unsettling visit by a neighbouring farmer who knocked on the door when I was home alone. The conversation provided me with a realistically aggressive male character. I rarely meet open aggression in my (very middle class) day-to-day life so you have to take it where you find it!
- And my least favourite one (because we’ve moved house twice in the last 18 months): sorting through long-forgotten possessions, or possessions handed down from other family members. This is boring and time-consuming, but just occasionally I find a little something that gives me an ‘oh, there’s a story here!’ moment. It almost makes all the sorting worthwhile.
One thing that I try to do at all times is to have a notepad to hand, because you never know when one of these little interruptions/helpful inspirations will occur. I can’t count on my memory to retain them all, but a few words in a notepad are usually enough.
So that’s my advice for the day – make the most of those interruptions, and, if you get inspired, don’t forget to note it down.