I love this quote from Elizabeth Berg:
This is one of those wisdoms I pray for. Because it's a hard thing, discerning what exactly is pulling me away from the desk.
I have been the smarmy, glowering girl, bringing her notebook everywhere, insisting to everyone that she isn't going to stop her work, thanks very much. I'm embarrassed to say, I've been overly defensive of my time when I didn't need to be. I've kept working when I should have stopped.
Other times I do stop. Because it's truly needed. (This past year and a half have been record-breaking in that respect.) Sometimes I really do need to get up, shelve the book for the day, and permit the interruption.
And then I've also been too delighted to step away. I would much rather participate in that movie marathon, thanks so much! Why yes, I will run errands instead of writing. I wanted to make the four-hour dinner.
When are those breaks feeding the work? Challenging my own story-building skills through watching movies attentively; meeting new characters and catching a breath of fresh air while running errands; stimulating my creativity as I chop and dice and stir in a complicated dinner.
And then when am I just escaping?
Usually I can tell after the break. Do I come back to my desk all fired up, my mind refreshed? Have I been writing in my head, even while I was away?
Or do I sit back down with a mind full of jabbering monkeys? I end up staring out the window as my thoughts run in circles, and I start thinking helpful, productive thoughts like, I should probably go get a real job.
Knowing the difference. Knowing when to get up. And knowing when to protect that precious writing time.
It is going to happen often enough that life will interrupt you because it has to. But sometimes it interrupts you only because you let it. Learn to tell the difference, and act accordingly. -- Elizabeth Berg