No matter what we write, we all face the same problem: Carving out some quiet time when our loved ones will leave us the hell alone to do our thing.
This is never so difficult as in the month of November, when novelists participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) try to finish a greater-than-50,000-word novel in thirty days. NaNo Writers and Rebels try to find ways to explain their needs to those around them, especially friends asking for paper writing help.
Whom are we kidding? If your family and friends don’t already respect your writing time, they’re not going to suddenly change their minds in the two weeks before NaNoWriMo.
So here’s my advice: If people won’t respect your writing time, you’ll need to lie about what you’re doing.
The problem with my advice: One lie doesn’t fit all. How do you tell your family or roommates that you’re going out with friends (when you’re really going to the library or coffeehouse to write) and simultaneously tell your friends and colleagues that you have a million things to do at home?
Solution #1. Lie about staying in. Your best bet is to come up with a reason that you’re home, but can’t be contacted. Tell your internet friends that, while you’re home, you’re going to run a full anti-virus scan. That way they won’t expect you to respond to their social media messages. If they try to text you, tell them you were charging the phone in another room. Next week, pretend to defrag your hard drive. Week after, fake-resintall your operating system. (Note: These suggestions only work for PCs. If you own a Mac, pray that none of your friends do.)
Solution #2: Lie about going out. Note: This solution is for people who don’t have kids at home. If you have kids at home, tough cookies. We all did our time; now it’s your turn.
Ladies! Invent a fictitious book club. There’s no way any man in your life is going to go near a ladies’ book club. If you’re worried your man might actually want to discuss novels with you, make it a poetry club. Or better yet, a play-reading club, where everyone has to take a role, the better to explore their feelings about the literature. This will ensure you several regular hours of quiet time in your favorite writing place.
Men! You’ll have a much harder time creating a going-out lie. If you say you’re meeting a bunch of guys at a sports bar to watch the game, there’s a good chance the woman in your life will want to go. Also, you don’t have a reason to bring your laptop to a sports bar. You’re probably safe inventing a Three Stooges marathon, but this is a lie you can only use once. Your best bet is to buy a pair of tickets to each and every performing arts series in your city as a surprise for the woman in your life. Sure, it’s expensive, but you’ll get your money back when you’re on the bestseller list!
Well, I hope I’ve made you think. Maybe you’ll come up with a creative idea of your own!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Have you found a good way to get respect for your writing time? Let me know in the comments section!