Red light zone for writers - what do you do.

The Struggle to Find Somewhere to Write

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family to bits, but writers have to go to a creative place inside their heads requiring isolation from distractions. And no matter how many times I try to explain why I turn into a deranged psycho when interrupted, they still have a hard time of it and think I’m being mean. Is this ringing any bells?

Now I’ve tried all sorts of remedies, most of which involve writing when they’re either asleep or out. But even then I only need the sound of a key in the door or the upstairs floorboards creaking, to make me cringe and break out of the zone. In fact, sometimes just the thought of them maybe waking up or coming home any minute keeps me on edge.

Outdoors

And I hear you say, ‘Just go out, Miles, and switch off the phone.’ And of course you’re right, there’s always that. But then you have to spend time travelling, finding a place just right, perhaps a park, or pub, or cafe. Living in England though, we have that pesky weather thing spoiling the outdoors. And using inside venues, you have to pay for the privilege of spending a day in a pub consuming at least polite amounts of coffee and probably a lunch. This, done daily, literally eats away your future royalties. And there’s only so much the tax man will swallow as expenses, and it’s a lot less than you do.

Indoors

At home I’ve tried those ear defenders workman use on building sites, they’re pretty good, and also tell the family ‘not now!’ which sometimes works; and other times I play music using in-ear earphones, which cut out the world nicely. On rare occasions, I’ve even put up with the discomfort of both together, but it makes my ears ache from the pressure of squeezing the plugs in under the defenders. Even then there’s always that little tap on the shoulder creating a cast to the sky with my eyes. And doesn’t it always happen right at the bit where you’re holding a dozen facts over four threads, and projecting into future books in the series the consequences of the actions taking place? And trust me, doing things like raising your hand in polite gesture to say, ‘I acknowledge you’re there, but this is a really bad time, please go away unless the cat’s in the dog’s jaws, or one of you is bleeding (and I mean profusely), doesn’t cut it.

Press to Kill

So my next idea to venture into distraction-free writing is the use of a red light – you know, like in recording studios. I’ll put it on view near my desk, visible to the rest of the downstairs (My first scheme of hooking up some eye-self-targeting laser pens was a no-go as such affordable technology isn’t quite here yet. Maybe a red button on my desk, one with a satisfying ‘click’ and the words ‘KILL’ written on it, would complete the ensemble when available).

I can already tell though, knowing that the other three occupants are my wife and two girls, that none of these will work, and will be seen as some draconian gender control device.

I think I’ll go reread The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan and the Venus and Mars book one more time in hope of inspiration.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

If you have a solution that works for you, please put me out of my misery.

Miles Allen

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