A writer is an artist and as such when we are writing our creative process is subject to the same rules as any other artist. We can be interrupted, discouraged, and our creativity can be drained. Writing takes patience and time. If you’re a writer who has been interrupted, or if you are someone with a writer in your family… you need to read this.
Many times I have found that people who are close to me have the greatest difficulty in giving me that space to be creative. When I am sitting in front of my computer or a notebook for an hour or two and I have written nothing, I can understand why they approach me. I’m sure from their perspective it looks like I am either bored or being lazy. But the opposite is true.
These times of quiet are necessary to producing a great piece of writing. It is not dissimilar to a painter staring at the blank canvas, staring for hours, contemplating, envisioning what they can create. A writer needs that time just as much as the painter does.
Requests by family members to help with a chore or run an errand may seem insignificant, but they are not. The creativity that was flowing for that last hour, once interrupted, is difficult to recover. Portions of story that I was piecing together, conflicts of emotion that I was envisioning for my characters, all of that is put in jeopardy when I am interrupted.
To the observer the writer is a fragile, unpredictable creature. Once interrupted they might turn in anger, or they might respond sweetly to you. They might even seem to display profound sadness.
These reactions are true of me. When writing I am unpredictable. I am best left alone. The creative process drowns me in a universe of emotions that are unfulfilled and until the creative process has finished I am in the same emotional state that I am dwelling my mind upon.
When you interrupt the writer you do not know if you are speaking to the hero, the heroine, the weak, the strong, or even the villain. The writer is all of these things as they write. They become all things for their story so that their art is perfected.
Q: Are you the interrupted writer or the interrupting family member? How true is this for you?
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