This is a guest post by my author friend, Charles E. Yallowitz. Written in his trademark tongue-in-cheek manner, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Writing In The Midst Of Chaos
Thank you to Nicholas for offering a spot on his blog. My name is Charles E. Yallowitz and I’m the author behind the Legends of Windemere blog. There’s also a fantasy adventure series by that name if anyone is into that kind of stuff or simply curious about a new genre. I’ll just leave the link HERE and mosey away from the blatant promo. Figure it’s a requirement considering I am an author and electric companies prefer money than signed eBooks or mentions in a story.
One of the most common questions and post subjects I’ve seen as an author involves talking about your workstation. I’ve seen neat desks, messy offices, shelves with action figures, and even writing sheds. Let me show you what I’m working with:
Yeah, I’ve got nothing. The bed is the easiest place to work, which explains the giant divot that says a bit too much about my hindquarters. Once the weather gets hot, I’m forced to migrate down the dining room and work within the chaos. That’s the stage I’m going to write about here because most authors don’t do well here. It’s a different atmosphere working at home than a library or a coffeehouse. You get a sense that interruptions will occur, which range from people talking to the phone going off. I’ve spoken to more robots than humans on that thing. So, what are some tips to being productive within a chaotic house?
- Preparation is key here because leaving your spot is filled more dangers than wearing bacon underwear and walking through bear country. Put your laptop or notebook in place, but then hit the bathroom, get 2-4 drinks, check the lighting, and stock up on snacks before sitting down. Seriously, an author wandering away from their workstation is a sign that they are done and can be dragged into something else. I don’t even recommend leaning back. Even if you can’t think of what to write, hunch over your work like your life depends on it.
- If you’re like me and need music, then headphones are a must. Noise-canceling types are good, but they create a threat to your focus. People may still be calling for you and they’ll get aggressive if you ignore them for too long. That’s when the shoulder pokes, looming presences, and hands waved in front of the face come into play. That’s actually a lot more startling than being called to. I prefer simple earbuds because I can hear the music and zone out just enough that I only get brought out when I hear my name. Honestly, headphones might even work if you don’t have music and they can act as a decoy.
- Work on your ‘bothering me’ look, which can drive some people away if they just happen to be around. This doesn’t really work when you’re the target of their attention, but it can help in other instances. For example, someone is on the phone and ends up taking the call in the same room even though they have a whole house to work with. My personal favorite is when other people work at the table to prepare food even though the kitchen is one room over. Seriously, I don’t care if it’s a gourmet salad with an odd number of shrimp. Take the negotiations to either the kitchen or a boxing ring.
- While it isn’t pretty, you can put up folders or some other kind of barrier like they would do during tests in school. You might feel foolish and the whole thing can be undone by a ceiling fan or an open window. Still, it can prevent the smaller intrusions from happening, especially if you write warnings on the other side.
- Put out an ‘interruption jar’, which means people put a dollar in for every time they break your concentration. This might stop the distractions altogether, so don’t get too used to buying coffee and snacks with your loot. Also, be a little flexible when people don’t have the cash. Just run up a tab on a notepad that you keep in the opening. Write in pen because you never know when someone will come by with an erasure and a plan.
- When almost everything fails, begging may get you an hour or two. Push the need for quiet and solitude even if you’re in view. Promise to clean something or cook dinners for the week. No sense in maintaining your pride and it isn’t like anyone outside of the house will notice. Well, the mailman might see it if your timing is off. Not to mention any neighbors that happen to look through the window. Eh, you’re probably seen as an oddball anyway.
- When everything fails, time to go full Tasmanian Devil. Yell, scream, cry, spit, and spin around the place. Make loud declarations about your dreams being in danger and how this is why so many authors drink heavily. Sure, you might be tired and stuck in a rage when you sit down to write, but at least you’re being left alone for a while.
About the Author:
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
- Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
- Twitter: @cyallowitz
- Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
- Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com
- All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN