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Writing through distractions

I know why writers like J.K. Rowling sequester themselves in hotel rooms to write, or finish writing, their novels. I don’t think non-writers can understand what writers of fiction have to do to create our imaginary worlds. For me at least, certain distractions make it simply impossible to “live the fictive dream.”

It really is like a dream, you know. When I sit down to write a scene, my mind has to go to another place. I see the setting, I recognize the characters and I hear them talking. I’m just writing down what I see and hear. I smell the pine scent of the trees where the scene takes place. I feel the breeze on my face. I hear the sound of birds in the trees. I listen to the people whose conversation advances my plot.

Then my husband comes in and even if he says nothing at all to me, his very presence drags me from the scene I’m watching and listening to. He is alien to it. And suddenly, the scene begins to dim. It is muted by what is in my environment – a closing door, a cough, the smell of coffee brewing.

Now my mind tries to sift through the conflicting messages. Why do I hear a door and smell coffee in the outdoor scene I’m writing? And why do I hear a man coughing in a scene with two women? Is it the killer?! Aaaargh!! You get the picture.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my husband and I’m glad he lives here. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But once he comes onto the scene, the “scene” is gone. No matter how hard I try to recapture it, it’s no use. Writing is done for the day or at least for this part of the day. I’ll pick it up again later and try to once again immerse myself in the sights, sounds and smells of the scene I’m writing.

Oddly enough, when my cat paces back and forth between me and my keyboard, that doesn’t seem to wreck my concentration. Maybe that’s why writers always seem to have cats instead of dogs. (I know there are exceptions.) My theory is that cats aren’t as distracting as dogs. They’re not as noisy. They don’t need to be walked. Dogs are intrusive. Like husbands.

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