Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer Time And The Living is—Easy?

~Sia McKye~

Unless you’re a writer and live at my house.

Easy is not exactly how I would describe it. I’m overrun with people, noise, the constant barking of dogs, and clutter. My yard looks like a used truck lot. Hey, I got all colors, makes, and models. Of course, I also have hot sixpacks walking around—not hard at all on the eyes.

We had a tornado come through in April and did thousands of dollars of damage to my property, so now we’re doing repairs. New house roof, siding, fencing, tree removal, new barn, haying and bush hogging. So we have all sorts of equipment going at any given time. Logging trucks moving in and out the pasture. Bucket trucks, tractors, and three huge trailers to haul the tear off from the roof.

Living at my house is anything but quiet or easy. August has always been my best writing month. I look back with fondness to last August when I wrote 3000 words in a day and still got my household chores done. Pfft. Not this August. Even earphones and music don’t help. There’s no place to hide to escape the pounding hammers, buzzing saws, or blaring of rock music—even with the windows closed it thumped it’s way into my house.

Add to the chaos outside, I’ve had my sister and her guy living at my house too. So my three-bedroom house is full, meals become a major undertaking. Do you realize how many dishes six people use in the course of a day? What dishwasher? My sis and I shared the dishwashing tasks as well as meal preparation. Not to mention what your refrigerator looks like with a cazillion bottles of Gatorade stocked in it. Trust me, it's suddenly not as big as you thought it was. You know? I once thought I had too many towels. I don’t think that any more and I swear I heard my washer groan.

There was always a question I needed to answer, or something I had to see, a decision I had to make on some aspect of the work being done. This was a big project and at any given time there were at least three crews working, one on the house, one cleaning the debris bush hogging, and cutting down trees, one on the two barns needing repairs and new roofs. I walked miles—just to walk to the barn and back is a half a mile and I did that several times a day, climbed ladders to look at the damaged decking, or something around the chimney, to see the how the felt was laying or look at how the shingles went down, a problem with the drip lip…endless. Then there is the paper work. While I have a good insurance policy, I still had to fight tooth and nail at times, to get funds released. So I was either on the phone with the bank, the lumberyard, or the insurance company. I have about 200 pictures of documentation and most of those pictures were taken by moi.

You’d think once everyone went home and the house became quiet after dinner writing would be easy. Sorry, the brain was mush and I was tired and ready for bed by 8 or 9 pm. I don’t know how many times I was falling asleep over my keyboard as I prepared my blog. And it suffered as well. Normally I’m booked about four to six weeks in advance. I’m looking at September and realizing I still have open slots. Most people have TBR stacks and I do too, but now I also have a pile of ARCs sent to me by various publishers to be read and reviews written. Normally, everything is organized and each day I have X amount of time to work and X amount of time for my own writing. I still did what I had to do, but any extras—forgetaboutit.

My poor muse said later gator, and headed off to parts unknown for a vacation and is apparently having a grand time. All I can say is, thank god I didn’t have a deadline.

This week has been a bit quieter but next week, I have another crew coming in to finish up my outer office walls and then I get to go on a working vacation to a writer’s conference in Columbus, OH. I also have an interview, and a speaking engagement with a writing group. I figure by the time I get back, my muse will be too and we can pound out the rest of this book and work on a proposal. I hope.

So, how was your summer? Get much writing done? If you’re on a deadline, how do you handle distractions? Especially like these?