Week 16 – Interruptions

It was hard for me to sit down and write today, but I finally got to it–around eight o’clock this evening.

First of all, I had a nine o’clock dental appointment. When I got home around eleven, a man was installing a new furnace in our basement. Joan had let him in and then left for her classes at San Francisco State University. Whenever I sat down at my desk, the furnace man would call up to interrupt my train of thought: “Can you help me lift something?” “I need you to tell me where I can make a hole in the wall.” “Can I use your bathroom?” “Do you have a broom I can use?” I couldn’t concentrate for one minute on what I had to do. So I reluctantly threw in the towel and assisted him until he completed the job. Then, after he left, because I had promised Joan, I drove to the produce market to buy some fruit and vegetables. When I got home, she was in the kitchen cooking dinner. We ate. After eating, I washed the dishes.

What is a writer to do in a world that is trying its best, day and night, to stop him from sitting down and writing? I’m talking about interruptions like phone calls, the doorbell ringing, errands, appointments, noises and chores. To overcome these obstacles, a writer has to clear his mind of everything and focus on one thing and one thing only–writing. If you don’t focus on your writing, as you can see from what happened to me today, the world will prevent you from doing what you have to do.

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