I spent this past week in Maine with my family. A whole week. With my family. In a two bedroom cottage. With no AC. No cable. And no wi-fi. I survived. Barely. (Do you have any idea how insufferable soon to be 18-year-old boys are?)
But despite the sibling squawking Old Orchard Beach was kind of nice. I had originally planned to use my first week off the get a lot of writing done. I was 19, 464 words short in an 80,000 word WIP that is due in this week. Normally even with work and a busy schedule I can write about 10,000 words a week. So I figured without work or any pressing engagements I could meet that nearly 20,000 word goal with no problem. I was wrong.
It turns out I’m one of those people who need absolute silence to write. My family tried to be somewhat understanding. The deal was I would spend the days with them doing whatever family fun thing they wanted, but the evenings after dinner were mine alone. Which meant I needed them NOT to bother me.
My father was the best about it. He would park himself in front of the TV and not say a word to me the whole time. BUT the TV was on and I couldn’t seem to tune out the noise. And for the record I find THE BIG BANG THEORY very funny. Even with that distraction I managed to get in my share of words. But when the TV got to be too much I ventured outside.
Ah… sea air and a nice quiet backyard.
Yeah right. The dog followed me outside every time I went, always bringing with her a toy or a rope and those damn cute puppy dog eyes that always seem to say, “Play with me. Play with me. I’m so cute you have to play with me.” So I played with her. And after she finally tired out I would sit down to write with her laying on top of my feet. But apparently I’m quite tasty because I ended up with seventeen (17!) very itchy mosquitos bites.
After that I ventured to the bedroom I shared with my baby brother. There was no TV in there, only a love-sick teenager who spends more time on the phone with his girlfriend than is normal or acceptable. They don’t even talk about anything. She’s usually whining about her mom. He’s usually whining about how everybody picks on him and I’m usually gagging.
“So what did you do today?”
“Nothing. What did you do today?”
“What did you eat for dinner?”
“Lobster roll. What did you eat for dinner?”
And it goes on and on for hours like that. I COULDN’T listen to that. It was torture. But it was nothing compared to sitting next to my mom while I worked. I never considered my mother a chatter box but give her a margarita and no cable and the woman could talk your ear off.
“Ma, I need a little bit of quiet. Okay.”
“Yes.” She nodded emphatically. “I won’t bother you.”
A minute later.”I’m not sure why your Aunt Nikki keeps texting me. I never answer her back.”
“Ma. Quiet. Remember?”
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m sorry. You’re working.”
Thirty seconds later. “Whatcha writing?”
Type. Type. Type.
My mother, who I get my nasty sense of humor from, doesn’t even bat a lash. “You never tell me what you’re working on. It’s probably dirty.”
“You’re right. It’s so dirty I’m going to get arrested for writing it . Then they are going to throw me in jail. Then I’m gonna to have to pick a fight with another prisoner so I get thrown in the hole. I might be able to actually get some writing done there.”
She looks at me, mutters something under her breath and then proceeds to tell me about how my grandmother’s cat has worms. I shut my laptop and listen. I really have no other choice. It’s not like we talk on the phone almost every single day or anything.
Needless to say 10,000 words turned in to 5,000 poorly written ones. It appears that I am too distractable to write when others are around. But that’s okay. We only get to spend one week a year together as a family so I guess a few distractions are okay.
Your turn! Can you write with your family around? Are you distractable? Need absolute silence? Music? Like to write in public? Know a lovesick teenager? Any and all comments are welcome?