My five year old is starting to discover the joys of writing and wrote his first story last week. He was so proud he asked me to bring it to work with me and then quickly made me promise to bring it back home, too. I was wise enough, albeit at the last minute, to have some coworkers write comments on post-its so I could attach them to the story and bring the story back to my son with their glowing praise stuck to the front. He was thrilled.
Five year olds, however, hop from one task to another and once he’d written that story, he quickly found something else – a video game, I’m sure – on which to spend his time. He’s not a “consumed” writer, sitting in front of a laptop or at the table with paper and pencil hour upon hour. He’s a quick hit writer – write a little story about his best friend, color a picture, and move on to something else. I, on the other hand, will spend endless amounts of time working away on my laptop. As no one else in the house writes extensively, cares to write, or would write to save their lives (hence the reason my middle son is spending two and a half weeks in summer school this year), they do not understand the need to concentrate when writing.
By choice, I work on the outside patio – the quietest spot in our little chunk of space on this earth – even in the middle of an Arizona summer. This does not stop the kids from hunting me down with questions nor does it stop my husband from launching into a discussion about the kids, the budget, family plans or what needs to be done over the upcoming weekend. (It does, however, allow me a quick dip in the pool when I’ve stalled or when little wisps of steam start to emanate from the top of my head).
I’ve discovered that it’s very hard to write creatively when someone is talking to you. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe it’s a skill that will develop over time. Perhaps, someday, my brain and fingers will continue to float along, pounding keys on the keyboard in quick rhythm – the words flowing like water over a waterfall – strong, unresisting, continuously in motion. If someone starts talking to me, I’ll be able to keep plugging along. My head will nod or the appropriate answer will manage to come out of my mouth, but I won’t skip a beat.
For now, though, I’m considering stuffing cotton balls in my ears and hanging a sign on my forehead that says:
Shhhh – Writer in the Zone.