I’ve read that JK Rowling used to write in a coffee shop or café. Some said it was because she didn’t have any heat in her flat, which she has denied. She says her daughter, Jessica, would sleep better after a walk and afterwards she’d write wherever she could get her to fall asleep. I’ve often wondered how Rowling could concentrate in such an active place. I also thought that I certainly couldn’t write in a coffee shop; I’d be too distracted.
After years of writing, I’ve changed my tune. How many times have I started to write but have had distractions? More times than not. Many of the same distractions that you’ve had, too. I don’t really need to name them, do I?
I thought back to the distractions of a time without all of the technology. We had less channels to surf on TV, but still watched plenty of programs. I’ve had years of practice being pulled away from something else to the boob tube. I remember as a teenager trying to watch TV and do my homework at the same time. Others took a good hour in the morning, or evening perusing the newspaper – my dad relaxed that way. Some, I’m sure, read books. So, even then we had enough distractions to sway our attention. Even without technology as we know it, it was not necessarily the good old days for the writer, as some would believe.
Without a doubt, I write more during the summer than during the other seasons of the year. True, I’m off work for the summer, so that would make sense that I write more at that time. When I go back to work in the fall, I’ve cut my hours down to eighteen per week. Look at the writing time I now have! Not. The extra hours to myself just make me lazier.
Now sitting here in my fifth wheel trailer in another state, I’m contemplating what escapism means. It’s not just that I left home; I still have the internet, email, Facebook, etc. I have DVDs to watch in the evenings. What’s really different is I don’t usually have laundry to do. It takes about five minutes to vacuum a fifth wheel. I serve easy, fast meals; I usually do not bake, but cook with the microwave, stove top, or barbeque. I use a lot of paper plates, so I don’t have very many dishes to do.
When I get home the TV can run nearly all day. I do laundry, vacuum and clean a whole house, grocery shop, haircuts, doctor or dentist appointments, writer’s group, visiting, company, church, baking and baking some more. No wonder why I have more time to write when I’m away. And my list of to do’s is nothing compared to someone who has children at home.
The truth is, we don’t need much to make us procrastinate, do we? Still there are those things we have to do to keep ourselves, our families, and the house going. Perhaps if we step away from home and the duties that come with it for awhile, we’ll have a little more time to write. Just do as Phillips says above: Take a break from your ordinary life.
Okay, so you don’t have a fifth wheel, you say. Point taken, but mine’s not that fancy. Rowling barely had enough money to live on when she spent time writing in a café. I think I may do better writing at a library, than a coffee shop. It’s free, your children are welcome and it’s relatively quiet. How about the park down the street?
Do you have an idea where a writer can get away to write?