Establishing Boundaries During Writing Hours
Everything is all set: laptop booted up, pen and paper at hand and a cup of coffee that is still hot. You have been waiting for this “free” time to get all those words out of your head and onto the paper. With hands poised above the keyboard, you take a deep breath… And the doorbell rings. It’s your neighbor, who saw your car in the driveway and stopped for a quick cuppa and a chat. You really like this neighbor but right now you don’t. You start to say that you are writing, but you feel it sounds superfluous and arrogant, change your mind and throw open the door and put the kettle on.
Whether it is the doorbell, the phone, or a kid tugging at your sleeve, when you do find the courage to say it is not a good time as you are in the middle of writing. They look at you blankly for a millisecond then carry on, ignoring you. It is worse if you are not published as then friends and family view it as sort of a hobby, something you can do anytime, or in your spare time.
How do you get all your writing done without interruption?
First, set a writing routine and live by it. Let everyone far and wide know that you write between the hours of 9 a.m. to noon (or whatever your chosen time is) and are not available to do anything else. This requires a little bravery as you have to admit to family and friends that you write and you spend your free time doing it. And you are serious about it. The more you do it and tell people, the easier it becomes.
To establish boundaries, start with your immediate household and let them know that under no circumstances are you to be interrupted while writing. The only exception being hospitalization or death. Then go global. Tell your extended family, friends and co-workers that you will not be responding to phone calls, emails or texts during this time.
Be firm but kind. And if that does not work, ignore it. It may come to that especially if you have a pesky relative who is not to be denied. Do not answer that bell, phone, or whatever. Let it ring, chime or beep away (or better yet, take the phone off the hook).
I had a family member who napped between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and if you called him on the phone during his nap, you incurred his wrath. Decades later, we still know not to call at this time. Way back when, he established his boundary, the consequences were consistent and clear and to this day, no one calls him in the afternoon. So he naps, uninterrupted.