Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A balancing act

Writers sit and write – for a long time. What do you do to stop yourself becoming welded to your writing seat?

by Dietrich

At times it’s more a question of how can I keep myself welded to the chair. Distractions come in many forms, furry friends who want attention or food, ringing phones, questions that can’t wait, noises from outside, all that real-life stuff. And sometimes it’s the temptation of a little social media when I’m writing, and I feel like coming up for a little air. Next thing, a half hour’s gone by and good writing time’s lost. I’m not that rigid about it, but a little self-discipline comes in handy. Then there are those times when everything just lines up and I just keep writing; I stay focused, everything clicks along, and I can keep going for hours.

On a good day, I jump right in and get lost in the story, working through just about any kind of distraction. It’s like entering a world I’ve created, one I want to be in for a while, writing as long as the energy, and the rhythm stays with me. And I guess it’s also good to know when it’s gone and it’s time to quit.

I generally write at my best during the early part of the day, so that’s when I try to stay welded to the chair. By the afternoon I’m usually done, and that peak energy’s not there anymore. Sometimes I get a second wind by early evening, and I get a little more done.

A good set-up helps. A quiet room with a window with a peaceful view works best. And I like my desk facing south, getting lots of light, and I prefer the door shut and the music on. There are times I like a change of scenery, trying something different. Sometimes I like writing on lined paper in a busy place, like an airport waiting terminal, or on a moving train.

“You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.” Michael Chabon 

It’s important to remember that there’s more to life than just writing. I do have other interests, and there are people in my life that I like to spend time with. And there are the furry kids. All of that keeps me from getting welded to the chair. Some things I do often, other things I wish I had more time to do, but generally, it’s about keeping a balance.


Paul D. Marks said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say it's all about balance.

Frank Zafiro said...

It's interesting to me how varied writers' processes are... Some are rigid and disciplined, some far less so. Never having been one to be able to have a fixed schedule early on due the real world schedule being fluid (police work is like that), I became more a block writer. Write when you can in as big a block as you can. Even though I try to be more of an on-pace, scheduled writer now, those old habits seem to rule. Some days are long and fruitful, some are short and sweet. Some are mauled by distractions.

I need some of that Dietrich balance!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Paul and Frank. Yeah, some days I feel like I could use a little more of that balance myself.