I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m In “Airplane Mode”

I try to do a blog post here each morning. However, it is often a challenge doing so. Yet I push myself to do it not only because daily posts are unsurprisingly a good way to keep visitors coming back, but also because writing one usually spurs my thinking about what I may be writing novel-wise afterwards during the “work day.”

After the post goes up, assorted “life necessities” are dealt with. And if he’s with us, the hound gets his walkie. Then it’s time to go “to work.”

It has to be seen as “a job.” I lock myself away from distractions. Usually I play familiar music softly in the background (often to muffle external noises), and, possibly for several hours at a stretch, attack more of the tale that is currently “under construction.”

Print working cover for "Conventions." Click to expand.
Print working cover for “Conventions.” Click to expand.

As the old advice always reminds us – and I’ve learned after finishing three books that it’s absolutely true – if you can get 2 or 3 decent pages written every day, within about three months you’ve got a pretty full “rough draft.”

But in our “social media” world, we all face increasing demands on our time. There is so much to “check” and “monitor.” And, of course, “notification” banners may pop up on our screens unexpectedly.

I like to reply as quickly as possible, but I often simply can’t because I have that daily writing goal. Many years ago, I remember my uncle wouldn’t answer his landline telephone, or even his door, when he was writing. (“When I’m writing,” he once told me, “I’m not here.”) As with letter-writing, times may have changed in terms of tech, but the need to focus certainly hasn’t.

The major way I seek to “isolate” myself is to set both my iPad and my Microsoft Surface (on which I write in Word) to airplane mode. After all, there was no internet in the summer of 1792:

Sneak Peek into  "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek into “Conventions.” Click to expand.

That’s part of what I was working on yesterday. From my perspective, my novels are a written painting. Every character gesture, every comma, matters to me. If I’m distracted, I make sloppy, silly mistakes.

As a writer, there are ten thousand excuses for why you don’t get to your work today. You have to do your best to avoid the temptation to “procrastinate.” Hanging around on “social media” isn’t going to get your book finished and into readers’ hands quicker.

Free Stock Photo: Closeup of a teenage girl reading a book on a park bench.
Free Stock Photo: Closeup of a teenage girl reading a book on a park bench.

Oh, and, yes, as you can also see in that rough draft excerpt, I am indeed working to get one Thomas Jefferson into the story. 😉

Have a good Thursday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.

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