For something that I enjoy doing so much, its extremely easy to find an excuse to not do it.
I’m speaking of writing, specifically. One of the reasons I force myself into a regular posting schedule here is to give myself deadlines to meet, because I know you have come to expect these posts to be up on certain days. I currently don’t have those deadlines looming on my other projects, and, try as I might to set personal deadlines for them, I just don’t tend to be that successful. Setting a time limit, or a word or page count, for a day’s work on my current work in progress (a novel) seems arbitrary, and I know that I typically won’t manage to keep it. The best I can do is schedule specific days for which I am going to block off significant time to write. That’s about as (successfully) structured as I get with timing.
I sort of face a particular problem, though…and I’m positive that I’m not the only writer who experiences this. I’m an auditory learner. I’m very, very keyed into sounds, which is the reason I’m a music lover, and the reason I entered theatre by doing sound design. So, I don’t do well (even with reading) if there’s conversation going on the background. Even music with lyrics tends to be a significant distraction.
Our apartment, which I love, has an open floor plan, in which the only rooms with doors are the bathroom and the bedroom. Its an energy efficient, “green” apartment, using its open floor plan to provide a significant amount of natural light during the day. We love that. The best part of an open floor plan is the openness.
And, the worst about an open floor plan is…the openness.
My writing desk sits in the upstairs loft, and whatever Karen happens to be doing downstairs drifts its sounds remarkably well upstairs, leaving me hopelessly distracted. Thus, I’m essentially in the same position going upstairs as I am sitting in a coffee shop to hope to do some writing. Earbuds and my iPod become my best friend, and I had to invest in some nice earbuds, to prevent myself from hearing all of the ambient conversation and noise. I have to play jazz or other instrumental music, though, because lyrics will seriously mess with my word flow.
None of that is a challenge in and of itself, of course, but setting it up (as trivial as it is to do so), or to travel to the coffee shop, sometimes seems so daunting when so much else is on my plate that I simply use it as an excuse to not write at all.
Fellow writers, what specific environmental obstacles do you face when working on a project? How do you overcome them?
And, I promise, I’m working on that work in progress this weekend!
Photo Attribution: underminingme