Distractions are a part of every writers life.
The writing process shares much with riding a bike in that you can expend every word in the English language trying to instill it successfully to a non-writer, but it's something each person has to learn for themselves.
There are always impediments to your work. Quite frankly, life get's in the way sometimes. People that will not think twice about disrupting your typical 9-5 workday at a traditional job will scarcely spare a second thought about asking a favor or otherwise interrupting your narrative flow.
I've thought alot about it, and come to a few conclusions.
The first is that the disruptive person knows you, and that comes with expectations of cordiality that they do not expect from an employer of a 9-5. If they constantly call you at work or otherwise disrupt you, they expect it to cause problems, and justifying their disruption becomes much harder. The lack of familiarity with your boss is a variable that most people do not contest.
However, if they find that you are separated from the corporate culture, that your three piece suit or work clothes have been replaced by more comfortable attire, you lose the invisible barrier of insulation. You become fair game. Quite frankly, you make your own hours, and to some extent making time for their problems should be quite a bit easier. A disruption of 15 minutes is at most a setback of a few hundred words. The true worth of that lost time can vary anywhere from a negligible amount to rendering the rest of your day fruitless.
If you happen to be on an inspired hot streak, with literary gold streaming from your fingertips, the results can be pretty frustrating. If you are simply keeping your fingers moving, waiting for the muse to take pity on you, perhaps you welcome the reprieve.
This is a big reason why writers are considered moody, emotional creatures. Sometimes, when people come across us, we can leverage our witty nature to become the most entertaining people around. We spend a fair amount of time bending reality to our will, and everything is predictable in the sense that we create it. There are times when we welcome social interaction, with all of it's unpredictability. Other times, we are trying to focus every last fume of inspiration into our work, and if someone crosses our path expecting to deal with an unproductive writer, they are met with curtness and requests for privacy. You see, we know exactly how precious those moments of creative clarity are, and no writer worth their salt would callously waste that inspiration.
There are some writers that would tell you that inspiration is a farce, that the more you write, the easier it comes to keep on task and keep the creative juices flowing. I disagree with this line of thinking. I think that it IS important to continue working through periods of decreased creativity, but not necessarily to produce word count. I don't feel it productive to write crap that you know stands a greater than 50/50 chance of requiring extensive revision or deletion.
The other problem with distractions are....I forgot. Kidding.
The second root cause of people feeling justified in interrupting a writer is that a writers work is only valuable when it's done. If it was possible to have an accurate tally of the value presented during the writing process as it was happening, there would be more value placed on the writers time. Actually, that's a good idea, no one steal it. I'm going to invent a meter, much like a Cabbie's meter, that can be set with an estimated value and tick off accordingly per word typed. That way, if someone tries to interrupt you and you happen to be riding the lightning, you can simply point to the meter and continue on crafting your legacy.
It is easy to justify interrupting a writer because they don't have a per-hour rate assigned to their work. Some days, what comes out is unfettered genius, others are a complete loss, but all are an important part of the process. It's not a process that you can shortcut.
So please, don't feed the bears, and have respect for a writer that is trying to change their stars.
To repurpose a phrase my father uses, "You'll like it when it's done".
Thanks again for reading. Hopefully everyone has electricity back and can see this.
Ours is apparently not due to return for another few days, the curse of living in a rural area.
Oh yeah....another distraction.
About Chris Godsoe