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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a helpful blog post about writing interruptions…
I take it for granted that I’m going to face regular interruptions as a writer. I try not to get angry about them. Instead, I focus on setting up systems that reduce those interruptions or that help me deal with the ones I cannot avoid.
A recent blog post by John Soares headlined “How To End Writing Interruptions,” does a good job of identifying the different types of interruptions and suggesting strategies for them.
I particularly like his advice about phone interruptions. Turn off your phone, he suggests and then listen to messages at a time that’s convenient for you (hint: NOT when you’re writing!) I found his counsel about how to deal with urgent calls from kids, partners or elderly parents to be especially wise:
Set a specific ringtone for each important person. Let all the important people in your life know your general writing schedule and tell them to only call you during your work time when it is really, truly important.
My own best tip for dealing with interruptions relates to people showing up at my door. I live in a neighbourhood where we have a constant stream of real estate people and trade workers trying to sell their services.
I had our doorbell wired to our phone so now, when these people show up, I don’t have to leave my office — which is in a loft at the very top of our house, two flights up. Instead, I have a brief 30-second interaction with them, by phone, in which I can politely say I’m not interested.