Alone time and distractions

I have yet to reach 10 hours of thesis writing time and that has been for two reasons.  First, today is the first time I’ve been alone in the apt.  I can’t write with my husband around.  He gets offended when I say things like, “Do not talk to me unless the apartment is burning down.”  In our old apartment the desk and all of my stuff for writing were in the living room.  So, if he was home, he would either have to stay in the bedroom and not come out, or sit in the living room and not talk and not walk around and basically not do anything in order for me to be able to concentrate.  Need I say that was essentially an impossibility?

Now, we are in our new, two bedroom apt. and the second bedroom is set up as an office.  You’d think I’d be home free, right?  You’d be wrong.  The office is the least complete of all of the rooms in the apt.  First of all, it has the boxes of books that go in the living room.  Those boxes can’t be unpacked until Husband takes his work stuff into his new job (Thurs. is his first official day) because the work stuff is blocking the living room bookcases.  In the living room boxes of books is a lot of my thesis stuff so I really need to unpack at least one of those boxes.

Second of all, in addition to the boxes, everything else that doesn’t currently have a home in the apt. is in the office.  And, there is no space on the desk due to a large collection of computer wires that Husband says he’s going to organize.  There’s no space to put your legs under the desk because a little file cabinet is there because there is currently  no other place to put it because there are unpacked boxes in there, boxes which contain my thesis stuff.  Argh!

So, not a lot of thesis writing going on.

So, my goal for the week is to get a work area set up in the office and find my thesis stuff.  If I can sneak in an hour of writing, that would be great, too, but I’m not going to hold my breath.


9 thoughts on “Alone time and distractions

  1. You don’t need things to be just so to write. I sympathize with the maddening chaos of moving, and I agree it is hard to focus in these situations. But, it is still just an excuse.

    If hubby distracts you, you could get earphones, leave the house, write while he is in the shower, wake up write and before he wakes up or stay up and write after he goes to sleep. If the desk is uncomfortable, write on the couch. If you the boxes drive you to distraction, go to Starbucks. Things may not be optimal, but this isn’t a reason not to write. For inspiration, read Stephen King’s memoir where he talks about writing in a closet with screaming children in the next room before 10 hour shifts at a factory job. None of the obstacles you describe are actually preventing you from writing.

    • It’s not that things have to be “just so” for me to write, they just need to be better than they are now. For various reasons, I’m tied to writing on a desktop computer right now. That computer is in the office so writing in other places is really not an option right now. And I can try to write all I want with a million distractions going on but the fact is that in those situations I simply don’t produce anything. I get a sentence, maybe two, that’s it, no matter how long I sit and try to write. Whereas when I’m alone, I can crank out a lot more. Stephen King may have been able to write with all of that going on, but I just don’t have that kind of focus. That’s one reason why I’ve gotten loads more done in the 8 hours I’ve spent writing here in California than in the three months I tried to write while in lab.

      The good news is that I’m making headway with the office. It hadn’t been a priority until I thought about how much it’s holding me back.

      • Sounds like you are finding solutions. That is good. I know my comment was harsh, but my point is that you are the one in charge here. When it doesn’t get done, it is because you didn’t make it happen.

        I also agree with ecogeofemme. If cleaning your office is necessary to get you writing, then cleaning your office counts as writing progress. Not my favorite kind of writing progress, personally. But we take what we can get.

  2. Doing a PhD in art history in a tiny apartment inhabited by two people and two dogs! I can relate, actually so much so, that this whole article makes me a feel a smidge less isolated! My “solution” has been to become half-nocturnal, and write the thesis from eleven till three or four in the morning, when the sane, normal folk among us are all sleeping…

  3. But, it is still just an excuse.

    Yeah, I hate to be a dick, but it really sounds like you are making excuses and procrastinating. If you want to write, push the shit out of the way and put your computer on the desk and start writing.

  4. Just curious: If you were to drop your thesis and forego your degree — what’s the worst that would happen?

  5. I think it’s great that you’re trying to find solutions!

    I’d like to suggest one. You should go to a local library or coffee shop. The library will be quiet and free of distractions and there will be a definite end point (you’ll have to go home at some point). I know coffee shops are not always quiet but I find them very conducive to writing and studying.

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