I’ve been doing this fiction-writing thing on and off for about ten years. Lately, it’s been more “on,” since I’ve been lucky and a lot of things are clicking, falling into place, making sense, etc. One thing that has become incredibly important to my writing, to the actual production of sentences that turn into paragraphs that turn into scenes that turn into stories, is the space I have found to write in.
It’s a library.
Previous to that, I wrote in the bedroom with the door closed. But it’s too cozy in there. I would get into my writing trance and get sleepy, and then fall asleep. It was embarrassing. And what a waste of time! I work a full time job and have about three hours per day, if I’m lucky, to squeeze in some writing. Here’s the other bad thing about writing in the bedroom, or at home in general: it’s also distracting. My dog barks. My boyfriend comes in to check on how I’m doing. I get thirsty. I get hungry. I have a wireless Internet connection. My mom calls.
The most important thing a writer can do after completing a sentence is to stay in the room. The great temptation is to leave the room to celebrate the completion of the sentence or to go out in the den where the television lies like a dormant monster and rest up for a few days for the next sentence or to go wander the seductive possibilities of the kitchen. But. It’s this simple. The writer is the person who stays in the room. The writer wants to read what she is in the process of creating with such passion and devotion that she will not leave the room. The writer understands that to stand up from the desk is to fail, and to leave the room is so radical and thorough a failure as to not be reversible. Who is not in the room writing? Everybody. Is it difficult to stay in the room, especially when you are not sure of what you’re doing, where you’re going? Yes. It’s impossible. Who can do it? The writer.
Yes. I am the writer! I will find a way to stay in the room. That’s what I thought after I read that paragraph. I decided that I needed a designated location that was The Place Where I Wrote. I considered a local cafe, but settled on the local library, which is amazingly beautiful and quiet and has special study carrels, which are individual nooks that only one person can fit in. They’re like isolation booths without the claustrophobia (they have windows). When I go there, I turn off my phone. Completely. I do not log into the library’s Internet connection. At all. And guess what? I stay in the room. I write for three hours at a time, and I am the most productive I have ever been in my fiction writing. Ever.
I suggest that you find a place where you can write and be productive. Find a place where you cannot be distracted, and stay in the room.