The American writers Joyce Carol Oates famously said:
“The biggest obstacle for writers is distraction from other people."
And it’s substantially true. But those who say we should exclude these distracting people are offering a solution that is both naïve and selfish, and doesn’t really allow for the reality of our lives.
In truth, it’s usually the people that we love who are the most distracting, and we choose to continue to love them and engage with them rather than cut ourselves off from them; our partner, our children, family members, close friends, maybe even vulnerable people to whom we have made some kind of commitment.
We have to find a way of acknowledging our responsibilities to those who we have a commitment to, whilst still finding the time and energy to write, and to achieve this balance is an essential skill for the writers life. To help us explore this issue, and to offer practical steps to help us all with this tight rope act, I am joined by two writers, Sam Mills and Michael J Harvey.
Sam Mills studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and worked as a journalist and publicist before giving it all up to write full time. She has published seven books, the latest of which is “The Fragments of My Father” which explores her personal story of becoming a carer to her father, who has schizophrenia.
Michael J. Harvey is a fantasy novelist with degrees in History from the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge. He is a blogger, writer and traveller, and also a husband and father to two young children.
Both of my guests have had to learn to create and manage time for their writing, this is their story.
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