I took a Master Class recently on The Art of Short Story Telling taught by Joyce Carol Oates. I've taken a few of these classes here and there, but this one is currently my favorite. In the first lesson, Joyce uttered two of the most eye-opening phrases I have ever heard as a writer. The first, "You can't possibly work or create anything of worth if people are constantly interrupting you," and the second, "Constant interruptions are the destruction of the imagination." These phrases could not be more true at this time in my life. Let me tell you a little more about what I mean.
The first time I attempted to write this paragraph, I was so inspired by the lesson that I wanted to write a blog post. Sometimes I feel all I do is drown in interruptions, finding it impossible to concentrate. In turn, I feel guilty and ill-equipped as a writer. Bound to be unsuccessful and unpublished.
But after watching Joyce Carol Oates speak on the subject of interruptions, I'm feeling a little bit better about my inability to write among the chaos. In fact, I'm starting to think my best writing has yet to hit the page.
Immediately following the first Master Class lesson, I popped up a new post to begin typing and was interrupted by one of my children before my finger hit the keys. So I decided to do something a little different.
Every time I was interrupted while writing I decided to type the word *Interruption*. I was curious to see how many real-life interruptions I would experience in the brief moment it took to write just one short paragraph of a blog. Here was the result:
I started taking a Master Class today on The Art of Short Story Telling taught by *Interruption* Joyce Carol Oates. I've taken a few of these classes *Interruption* here and there, but this one is currently my favorite. In the *Interruption* first lesson, Joyce uttered two of the most eye-opening phrases I have heard as a *Interruption* writer. *Interruption* The first *Interruption*, "You can't possibly work or create anything of worth if people are constantly *Interruption* interrupting you," *Interruption* and the second, "Constant interruptions are the destruction of the imagination." *Interruption*. These phrases could not be *Interruption* more true at this time in my life. *Interruption* Let me tell you a little more about what I mean.
Eleven interruptions, physical and verbal only, within just a few minutes of trying to type a paragraph for my blog. I didn't even include the audio distractions from the multiple screens surrounding me or the various notifications and spam calls that blew up my phone.
This wasn't a creative piece I was pouring my heart and soul into or anything significant at all really. Just a little thought I had that I wanted to share on my blog. But the number of interruptions that stood in my way to make it happen made me wonder: how the hell am I supposed to write anything worth reading under these conditions?
Eleven interruptions: people asking questions, fights that needed to be broken up, snack requests, complaints over toys, and being jumped on or pulled away by my toddler for various things. Worst of all, when I looked back at what little I was able to write...it wasn't even good! And my mind wasn't in any kind of space at the time to make it sound any better.
If I gave myself the time I needed to sit down, by myself, with little to no interruptions, this post might have sounded a whole lot different. It might be more interesting and thought-provoking or include some funny anecdotes. It definitely would not have included as many rants.
Interruptions truly are the killers of imagination and free-flowing thinking, at least they are in my book. I told my oldest son the other day, who insistently asked me for a snack over and over again while I was jotting down a story idea in my journal, that ideas are like animals. Now, this means a great deal to a child who cares more about animals than anything else in his world. A child who feels a sense of loss whenever he reads about a prehistoric mammal he will never get to meet.
I went on to explain that every time I was interrupted in the middle of writing, the idea I was creating died. Disappeared, right out of my head. Just like what happened to thousands of now prehistoric animals that have disappeared off the face of the earth, the idea would become extinct- unrecoverable.
Was this method morbid.? Possibly. Effective.? Definitely.
Long story short, if you are blessed enough to live with a writer of your very own, and they tell you they need to write, or you see them writing so peacefully...you better leave that brain the hell alone, if you know what's good for you.