The peaceful desk you see here is where I normally sit down to write.
There are times, though, when I cannot focus for the life of me while at this desk, or anywhere at home. I get wrapped up in life’s infinite to-do list, distracted by dishes, dirty clothes, and other necessary tasks that beckon my attention. It certainly does not help that over the weekend, we adopted a second kitty. His name is Dexter, and he’s the most adorable three-month-old bundle of fluff who chases my feet, swats my curls, and runs around the room with a worn workout sock dangling from his mouth. Cute, yes. Also? A fun distraction!
When I get in these can’t-focus-funks, I head to Starbucks or La Madeleine. The problem with this, though, is familiarity. Not only am I on a first-name basis with every Starbucks employee, but they’re my friends, as well. Plus, it’s hard to focus when five chatty businesspeople take the seat right beside you – seriously, two feet away – even though it’s plain you’re trying to concentrate.
One day last week, I ended up writing 1,500 words from the passenger seat of my car, for lack of other private (or quiet) options. Rain splattered my windows the entire time, the sky was gray, and I parked in a place overlooking a green field lined with tall, green trees. It turned out to be an amazing place to write, something I’d never tried before. I’d go there now, except my battery is about to die.
I don’t know what my problem is. Some days, I can write until my wrists hurt in any location, no matter how loud, no matter how many chores are begging me to spend time with them. Other days, I feel like I have to have just the right environment or else my productivity (in terms of writing, anyway) is doomed for the day. Sometimes this depends on where I am in my novel. Sometimes I just feel like life is cluttered; the clutter closes in on me as I sit in the midst of it, whether it’s noise clutter or chore clutter or too-many-thoughts-about-other-things clutter.
When this happens, I either push through it, go elsewhere, work on a different project, read, or succumb to the clutter. If this happens, I try again later in the day, sometimes with better results, sometimes still under a fog of funk. Today is finally getting back on track, after writing this blog. Victory! Hopefully that will translate to my ability to make necessary headway in my novel this afternoon.
How much does location affect your ability to write? How do you beat the clutter, the to-do lists, short of forsaking your writing time to eliminate them? If you have no place else to go, do you have any tricks for setting your mind to work, and then getting it done?