Thursday, August 1, 2013

I don’t know about you, but as a writer, I am infinitely distractable. (Word Check says that isn’t a word—but I say it is.) That is one big reason I don’t have any games on my primary work computer. And while my laptop can sort of, or almost mostly sort of, find the Internet, the connection is so woefully anemically, that I usually don’t bother.

Let me tell you a little about where I do most of my writing.

In the basement. In the back basement. Right past the furnace room.

I have my 40-year-old Sony stereo and turntable (seriously—its sound beats every newfangled electronic do-hickey.)(I still own a few feet of real vinyl LPs, retained for sentimental value, but I switched to CDs several years ago.) I listen to classical music most of the time.

I have a battered wooden desk, a chair and two small bookcases.

Anything more than that and I run the risk of finding things I could be doing instead of working to meet a deadline. Recently, our neighborhood was hit with a 100-year-rain. That seems to happen every year. We didn’t get flooded, no standing water at any rate, but the basement carpet did get splooshy. (That’s the right word for it. A sploosh with every step.) My son and I spent a few days tearing out wet carpet and hauling dripping rolls to the curb. 

The semi-flood forced me to go through my office and discard a lot of stuff. Now the room is nearly empty. This is great. No rummaging through old magazines looking for something that I thought I read, but probably didn’t, and then finding a crossword that I started back in 2005, and stumble across a book that Ionely read half of, and I should start reading it again—maybe even now.

It is so easy for me, and probably many other writers out there to confuse activity with writing. It is easy to confuse posting on Facebook and tweeting and whatever else people do these day with actual work.

It’s not.

When I was working on my latest release, The Cat That God sent, I knew that I had a tight deadline. It did not allow much room for error. My wife asked me why I wasn’t working upstairs, where the ambiance is better and where it was warmer.

“Because,” I said, “I would never get done—not with the TV right over there and a plethora of Spanish soap operas to watch.

Sitting in the solitude, working in the near empty office, has been much more conducive to my productivity than working in a spacious office with actual décor and windows.

Not every writer can have a barren office, set apart from daily distractions—but if you are struggling with getting writing assignments done on time—I would suggest giving emptiness a try.

After all, it worked for Superman. (That’s the reference for the title. He had “Fortress of Solitude” somewhere in Antarctica, I think. I would look it up, but I can’t get to the Internet from here.)

Jim Kraus grew up in Western Pennsylvania and has spent the last twenty years as a vice president of a major Christian publishing house. He has written more than twenty books and novels, including the best-selling The Dog That Talked to God. He and his family live outside of Chicago with a sweet miniature Schnauzer and an ill-tempered Siberian cat named (of course) Petey.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of The Cat that God Sent!

1 comment :

  1. Great post, Jim! Thank you for sharing this. And you are so right about distractions. It's so easy to whittle away the hours online.


Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry