The ‘Interruptible’ writer – Karen Katchur
By Karen Katchur
Most writers I know dream of escaping to a secluded cabin in the woods or perhaps a beach house on some exotic island where they can sit and write for a week, a month, a year without interruption. I know I dream about it. It’s a good fantasy, and I have no doubt some writers can actually pull it off and leave their busy lives behind while they finish that novel. If you’re like me though, the reality is that it’s just never going to happen. So how do you finish that novel and still take care of the demands of a family, a house, a full-time job?♥
It wasn’t until I listened to a podcast interview with author, Sue Miller, where she said something that struck a chord with me. She was talking about her early years as a writer when she was a single mom raising two kids. She had to learn to be “interruptible.” In other words, she was used to being pulled away from her writing to meet the demands of her family.
Wait. What? You can be interrupted and still write and finish a novel? Yes! You can! And the best part is that you can train yourself to be “interruptible.” It’s not easy. It takes a lot of discipline, but it can be done. When you get pulled away from your work, you have to force yourself to return to it at the earliest chance you get. You have to sit down and pick up where you left off.
There are a couple of tricks you can do to get your mind back into your story. You can read the last few paragraphs you were working on before you got pulled away. You can also grab a pen and notebook and take it with you. This way you can jot down notes or dialogue or whatever so you don’t forget while you’re busy doing other things like getting your kids a snack.
I started writing when my two girls were toddlers. They’re now teenagers, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I trained myself to be an “interruptible” writer. I was constantly being pulled away from my “designated” writing time. Yeah, I really did try to put time aside where I could write and not be disturbed. It didn’t always go as planned. I had to tend to scraped elbows, spilled drinks, board game disagreements, whatever my kids needed. But once they were settled and I could slip away again, I did.
And I trained myself to sit back down at my desk and focus on whatever scene I was writing that day. As they got older and started school, things got a little easier. I still get text messages from them throughout the day, and don’t get me started on the attention the dog and cat now demand from me. But hey, it’s all good. It’s life. I can be interrupted. I know that eventually I’ll get back to my desk, my story, and somehow, minute by minute, word by word, I’ll finish that novel.
Karen Katchur lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. The Secrets of Lake Road is her first novel. Her second novel, The Sisters of Blue Mountain, released April 4, 2017.