How to Deal With People When You’re Writing

26 Feb

I don’t know about you, but I’m an introvert.  And the time when my introverted self tends to show up the most is when I’m writing.  During my writing time, I don’t want people to come in and ask me for favors, tell me that I forgot to do something, demand help, or, really, speak to me at all.  You heard me: Shoo.  Go away, people.  I am writing, so leave me alone.

Then, I hit the metaphorical wall in my novel.  You know the one; the point where every word you write is a struggle?  Yeah.  By now I’m kind of wishing I didn’t get everyone hating me and my novel because now I want them back.  I want them back to whine to.  I want them to hear my plea for help, and then I want them to encourage me.  But, I don’t have them anymore.  If I so much as say the word “novel,” they run for the hills.

There is a lesson to be learned from my mistake.  When you’re writing, do not completely push everyone away. Gently let them know that when you’re writing, you don’t want to be disturbed.  Hold your friends and family at an arm’s length, but don’t toss them over a cliff.  If they do disturb you during your precious writing time, take a deep breath and ask them in a voice that cannot in anyway be mistaken for condescending what they need.  Then, unless it’s an emergency, tell them you’ll get right to it.

This trick works like magic.  They’ll probably nod and go away, leaving you to get back to writing.  But, you did say you would do it, so you probably should.  Get to a natural stopping point, e.g., the end of a scene or chapter, and do what you promised to do.  Then, use the interruption as an excuse to add onto your writing time if you can.

You’ll be glad that you did this when you hit the aforementioned wall.  Then, you can mention your literary troubles to them and they might offer some helpful advice or, at the very least, some encouragement.  You’ll also be glad you kept these people around when you face rejection, but I’ll get to that in my next post.  Stay tuned!

Writing People Away,
Katarina Madden

My Experience:

I sort of alluded to it above, but I totally push people away when I’m writing.  I can’t help it.  When it comes to hitting the wall, my family, who are terrified of the Monster-Novel by now, isn’t my first stop on the pity gathering train.  Instead, I go to my friends that aren’t around to be pushed away much when I’m writing for my encouragement.  This works, but I’ve found that your family is more accessible to gather encouragement from, while friends could be a car ride away.


Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “How to Deal With People When You’re Writing

  1. Peter D. Mallett

    February 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    This is a wonderful and helpful post. It is important. I’m so glad that I have a supportive wife. I also try not to bother her when she is really into reading a book. If I do she is usually just as kind (once I get her attention).

    • katmadwriter

      February 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks so much! When I want an opinion, I’m kind of pushy about it. Not the best idea if you want to KEEP that friend, but it normally gets things done!


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