I bet this happens to you too.
You finally carve out a few hours in the day to write. You turn off your phone. You close the drapes. The TV is off. You’re ready.
You fire up your laptop, or your notepad, or your fastest gel pen/pencil/sacrificial blood and a piece of parchment (I don’t judge). You’re ready to let the ideas flow.
Then someone knocks on the door.
And before you can think, I don’t care if it’s the zombie apocalypse. I’m not answering this fucking door right now, the neighbor from next door peeks through that crack in your window blinds. (You should really get that fixed.) You make accidental eye contact, and she waves. Crying baby on her hip or a pack of jumper cables in her hand.
Damn it! You open the door. You open your mouth. But what do you say?
Here are 5 scripts against distraction that will help you get back to writing without hurting anyone’s feelings.
5 Scripts To Untangle You from Time Sinks & Attention Hogs And Get You Back To Writing
#1 Your Best Friend Calls After a Break Up/To Complain About Her Kids/To Hash Over Her Bad Day
[Insert your sad friend’s name right here], that’s awful! I can hear you’re upset and need to talk. I’m committed to two more hours on my [book draft/revision/blog post] today. Let me call you after, and we’ll [make fun of your boss over Belgian chocolate] together. Okay?
#2 The Dishes Need Doing and Spouse is Hulk-Angry
Fuck you. Do the dishes yourself. (Just kidding! Sort of…) That one would feel good for about two seconds, but then you’d have a bigger problem on your hands. Try this one that will let you get back to writing instead.
My book took a lot of my time today. It’s important to me that I’m able to keep working on it. If you want household tasks to keep getting done, I’m going to need more help with them. When is a good time to talk about redistributing responsibilities or fitting a housekeeper into the budget?
Add a little bit of the let-me-show-you-why-it’s-in-your-best-interest-to-support-my-life-goals seduction (baw chicka bow wow).
#3 The Needy Neighbor
Hey [neighbor’s name]. I’m working against an important deadline right now, but I can see you’re in a jam. Why don’t you try a few more houses first. And if you still can’t get the help you need, consider me your last resort.
Then maybe it’s time to move your go-to work space to a cafe instead. Which leads me to the next common disruption.
#4 Chatty Cathy at The Cafe
Wrap up the conversation in a sentence. Something like “that’s interesting because so many people are drinking pumpkin spice lattes these days. hahaha.” Whatever. Then segue into this.
It’s been great chatting with you. I better get back to work if I’m going to finish this before my deadline.
#5 Mom, I’m Hungry/Dad, My Toy Is Broken
Want to know what it feels like to grow up in a Tijuana orphanage? You will if you keep interrupting my writing! (diabolical laughter) Actually, your kid probably doesn’t know what Tijuana is anyway.
In all seriousness, this distraction a little more complicated. Since you’re the caregiver, the responsibility is ultimately yours. You can’t always ask them to bug someone else first like you can with the Needy Neighbor. And you can’t always explain to a child that you have a deadline the way you can with the Chatty Cathy. Which means you have a lot more to consider here. Like your child’s age group, abilities, temperament, etc.
If you’re child is old enough and able to write, you could try:
I’m writing a story right now. Can you write one too?
And if that doesn’t work, try 41 Ways to Entertain Your Kids. (Not all of these will work when you’re trying to write, but a lot of them will.)
You’ve bought yourself some freedom with these scripts. What now?