What are good techniques to prevent personal/family issues from interfering with your writing?
I try to write an average of 500 words a day. One time, just as I sat down to write a few paragraphs, my husband wanted me to do this and that. Ready to strangle him. I work night shift and try to do my writing before I go to bed. The other day, my daughter was having problems with her car so I had to arrange for a tow truck to get it to the shop. So sometimes I don't have the time to write 500 words. I have an excel worksheet that I track my progress on it. So if I see I am falling behind, I know how much I need to write to catch up. I try to do an extra 1-2 thousand words a week so I am ahead. As for distractions, when I am on my days off, I try to get up an hour or two earlier than anybody else and have the time to myself to get the writing done. Or if my husband goes to the store I take advantage of that time as well and also when my daughters are at school-the oldest is away at college and the younger is taking computer classes through BOSES.
Sometimes I will get out of the house and go to the local library or Star Bucks for some quiet. And if you are driving a lot, or like to walk, you can try using one of those mini tape recorders. There is software called Dragon Naturally speaking which is an excellent dictating tool and will traslate spoken word to written. But have not tried that yet.
I work full-time from home while my husband is a stay-at-home dad. He's able to take care of the kids and most of the housework while I work. However, lately we've been having issues with friends and family just dropping by whenever they please, since my husband and I are both at home now. I finally told them that they either had to call or Facebook message me first to see if they could come over. I also told them that I have a set work schedule and prefer no one to come over during those set times. A few of them were a little upset, but most of them understood the reason behind why I got so strict.
Audrey - Since it's difficult, if not impossible, to isolate ourselves from family while we work unless we do so entirely while they are sleeping (~smile~), it's best if freelance writers develop a formal daytime writing/work schedule.
Notify family members and friends of the hours and days you will normally work and state you will not respond to phone calls, text messages or emails during this time, but will return messages after a certain hour each day. Naturally, you will need an alternate method by which they can contact you in the event of a real emergency (say, phoning a neighbor who can physically summon you to the front door by ringing the bell). Again (naturally), you may have to explain what a 'real' emergency is and what it is NOT. (Telling you about a sale at Macy's is NOT an emergency!)
It's important, especially when you first put this system into place, that you stick to your schedule. It may take some time for everyone to realize you work within a time frame even though you do it at home (or even while still in your pajamas) and stop bothering you while you're in creation mode.
Of course, there is likely to be at least one hold-out who won't be able to believe that 'Mom' or 'Aunt Audrey' simply will not answer his or her call due to her 'little writing hobby.' It's up to you to sell your writing as a real occupation--a business--to this person. Be cheerful, but firm.
As for personal and/or family 'issues', if you're referring to worry or stress caused by those, it isn't nearly as easy to isolate yourself from worrisome thoughts. I can only suggest practicing stress management techniques and giving yourself permission to concentrate on (and worry about) these issues after your work schedule for the day is finished. So many of the things we worry about are things over which we have no control anyway. Why let them control our lives and productivity?
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