Saturday, 8 April 2017


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.


  1. I love your positivity, Gill! I foresee many interruptions as my teens head into exam revision season. 'Would you like a cup of tea, Mum? Is it lunch time yet, Mum? How long until dinner?' But I wouldn't have it any other way!

    1. I agree Rae. These are interruptions to be treasured!

  2. This post inspires me to try and see the positive in almost any event ... or at least to try to. Thanks Gill.

    1. I try aswell. Of course, I don't always succeed!