Friday, October 30, 2009

Learning To Not Answer The Phone





I am learning how to not answer the phone.

That might sound easy but it is not. In the corporate world part of your job as a manager is answering the phone. The phone is a medium through which you conduct business. Meetings are interrupted to take a call. Sometimes you wait for that ring, the important one that will tell you a deal is closed. The phone is never avoided. It is an important cog in the wheel that makes sales spin.

My world is different now. The phone has become an interruption that upsets the flow of my writing. Whether working on my novel, a new story, or this blog, taking that call can throw it all off, sending my story to a place where it can take me hours, sometimes even days to get back to. Especially when I am in the zone all writers aspire to, the one where the words are rushing forth, and you cannot get the sentences down fast enough. Breaking to take a call is more than a distraction. It can mean the end of any more good writing for the day. My characters do not take kindly to being interrupted mid speech.

Maybe this doesn't sound hard to you, but this is taking practice. I grew up in a world where there was only one phone in a household that everyone shared. There was no voice mail, no mobile devices, no call waiting and no caller ID. When the phone rang everyone stopped and it was answered. My addiction to answering the phone when it was ringing started long before it meant money in my pocket.

But as I have learned things change and I am changing with them. I get startled when one of my two phones starts making noise. I often have to breathe past the anxiety of not hitting the talk button. It takes a few minutes, but then it passes. I remember that I can return that call when I am done the chapter or when I am not sure what my characters might do next. Whatever it is can and will have to wait.

It gets easier each time. I probably will never stop checking Caller ID to see who it is. Mostly because I cannot quite predict when it will be my agent telling me we have an editor offering me a deal. Then I will slip back for a while into that other world. The one where answering the phone meant someone was ready to buy.














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