A Quiet Place

The dishes are done. The cats are napping. Quiet at last. I sit down to write. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! “What are you doing, Mommy?” my son asks between mouthfuls of cheesy puffed corn snacks.

“I’m writing.”

“I’ll bring my toys back here and play then.” Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

I stare at the blank page. Two fat crows squawk and caw back and forth to each other outside the window. My son is staging an epic battle between a cluster of shock troopers and a battalion of Middle Age knights adorned with gold fleur-de-lis. “Bam! Clang! Wham! Crash! Blam!” One of the crows flies up to the tin-covered patio roof. His feet scritch and scratch as he struts to and fro.

One of the greatest struggles I face as a writer is how to tune out the noise and find a quiet place amidst the din and clamor of daily life. Sadly, I have not discovered any magic formula. What have I learned? The more I fight the noise, the more I make excuses why I can’t write right now, the more I blame the people and things around me for my lack of creativity and productivity, the more miserable I become and the more my writing suffers.

a quiet placeIt’s okay to write in a noisy house. If that’s all you have available to you, take a deep breath and dive in. It’s okay to tell everyone in the house you’ll be unavailable for an hour, a half hour, even fifteen minutes. If you’re interrupted by anything other than an emergency, it’s okay to half-heartedly listen and respond with auto-pilot “mhmms.”

Trust me, the noise isn’t going anywhere. From the hiss and froth of your local coffee shop, to the “he said, she said,” conversation of the teenagers in the “Quiet Study Area” of the library, to the rustle of leaves in the trees, noise is everywhere. Besides, if I’m perfectly honest, there have been times I’ve complained I couldn’t write because it was too quiet.

Forget about finding the perfect circumstances. They’re never perfect. Focus on the words. Tell the story. Stop fretting about the Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Behind you. Gnaw on it. March with it. Write.

 

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