Over the last week I was out of town visiting family in another state. I stayed in a converted guest room, but it wasn’t set up with a desk or table space. Plus, it was in a different building than the house where my family members were staying, which meant I only slept in the guest room and spent most of my awake time in the living space with perpetual TV and random chatting, and dogs barking, and cooking. Because I wanted to stick with my writing schedule, I pulled out my laptop and attempted to do some writing during all the TV watching and people meandering.
I was unsuccessful. By that I mean that I was not able to concentrate in any fashion in a creative way. By that I mean I didn’t write a single word. I could barely read what I had written on previous days. There was just too much going on.
I had brought the laptop with me on this trip with the goal of getting much writing done. I expected to have much downtime, which I did. It just wasn’t distraction-free downtime. I work most days of the week on creative things of one sort or another, but I didn’t anticipate my need for functional writing space. I have a studio in my house where I do all the writing, editing, painting, etc. It’s small, but functional, and it is a space specifically for creative work. I need this space to get things done. I know this. The muse knows this. When I go in this room, the brain clicks over automatically into creative work mode, though it did take some time before that happened.
But, I assumed I could continue with my writing schedule regardless of travel because…I don’t know. I should know better. But that’s want normal writers do, right? When they go someplace out of the ordinary, they still write. They still meet their word counts. But not me, apparently.
Because my brain is like a busy magpie distracted by shiny things. My brain is busy like catching bunnies on a wild rabbit farm. Picture this: you have one acre of land and you surround it with a bunny-proof wire fence. Inside the fence are 10,000 rabbits. Some are happy rabbits. Some are lazy rabbits. Some rabbits are doing their best to outsmart coyotes. But all are rabbits hopping down the bunny trail or following a random thought down a rabbit hole. There is always movement. THEN, you grab five toddlers and you put them in with the rabbits and you tell all the toddlers to get a bunny. Get a bunny! Rabbits are hopping everywhere. Toddlers are running and tripping and squealing. It’s happy madness.
I know this about myself and this is why I have made concerted effort to create a space to write that works for me. The distractions are difficult to overcome otherwise and nothing gets done. I must corral the rabbits, and to do that I need to be consistent and have a regular place and time.
Here’s the thing. Each writer is unique, and each has different requirements to get the job done. I need a dedicated space. Period. In the future, I will take that need into consideration when traveling. Hopefully.
What about you? Do you know if this is an issue for you? Do you have rabbits? Do you need a dedicated space to get your writing done? Do you need a dedicated writing time to get your writing done? Every day? Are you doing everything that you can possibly do to help yourself be successful at this chosen profession? Are you? Or are you waiting for the muse to show up with random gusts of creativity in between herds of pesky rabbits?