Interruption Insight

How well do you handle the constant starting and stopping process from interruptions? It’s different for each of us and I think it’s all a matter of what you grow accustomed to handling. As I think back to my chaotic days in the news room of a newspaper office, it’s a wonder that anything got written—but it did—every single day on deadline.  There were no quiet offices or even cubicles but simply a long room with desks and typewriters (pre-computer days). You could hear a reporter across the room handling an interview while you were writing your own story. It was a matter of crawling into your personal space and hitting the keys to complete your own story. I’ll admit it was a challenging environment but a great training ground to learn you can write almost any place and any time.

The April 3rd issue of Publisher’s Weekly included this little bit of interruption insight about best-selling novelist Steve Berry. It comes from the Paperback Bestseller page where Berry’s The Third Secret is number 9.  About his writing routine, he says, “I still practice law and I serve on our local Board of County Commissioners (Camden County, Ga.), so my days are full. But I write every week day between 7 and 9 in the morning. There’s a rule at the office that those two hours are mine, but that rule is broken every single day. I actually can’t write without interruptions. I’ve grown accustomed to constantly starting and stopping. I told Gale, one of my employees, that if I’m ever lucky enough to write full time I’m going to hire her to interrupt me every 10 minutes.”

The key is to continue—no matter what. Press ahead with your writing and keep making progress.

8 Responses to “Interruption Insight”

  1. Intern at Grace Clinic Says:

    Boy, did I need that. I’m an interim pastor, stay-home dad, caretaker for an elderly parent, and a writer. My to-do stack for any one of my “hats” will take me until at November 14 of 2026 to complete, at the earliest. I’ll be seventy-one, but maybe I can take a breath.

    Meanwhile, I need to learn to roll with the interruptions. Thanks, Terry.

  2. relevantgirl Says:

    I’m with Ron (sorry to blow your cover!)

    Planting a church, parenting, managing a home, living in a foreign country…I’m constantly interrupted. My office is in our bedroom.

    It takes a lot of discipline to be interruptible, and to be gentle and kind like Jesus when I am. I have a feeling Jesus is more pleased by my kind attitude during the interruption than my word count.

  3. Macromoments Says:

    What a great quote from Steve Berry! “I told Gale, one of my employees, that if I’m ever lucky enough to write full time I’m going to hire her to interrupt me every 10 minutes.”

    This topic is one that affects us every single day. Thanks, Terry.

    (Mary, I love your observation: “I have a feeling Jesus is more pleased by my kind attitude during the interruption than my word count.”)

  4. C.J. Darlington Says:

    Echoing all of the above, Terry. Thanks for the poignant reminder to keep on keeping on!

  5. Cathy West Says:

    Oh, I’m definitely NOT good at dealing with interruptions! The thing is, I’m too stupid to realize that if I DON’T sit down and write between the hours of say 6-9pm, (when my kids are racing around getting homework done and screaming at each other), then I probably won’t have to deal with them. But sometimes the urge to write outweighs common sense. Life is a journey.
    I’m learning. 🙂

  6. Chris Well Says:

    Ahhh … what a *timely* (and much needed) kick in the pants! Thank you!

  7. Daniel Darling Says:

    That’s a great insight. I’m a precinct committeeman in my area, I’m heavily involved in a Congressional race, I’m a full-time writer and editor, plus I’m studying for my Master’s in theology. Not to mention an wife with a bad back and a 15-month old.

    Only God has the power to keep me sane and productive.

  8. C. H. Green Says:

    I love and have learned so much from your blog. I am a new writer. One of my critique partners brought up an interesting question after reading my first chapter. (I am over halfway finished with the first draft.) I address this question in my post: http://beneaththeivywreath.blogspot.com/2006/04/fencing-god-in-or-out.html .

    The question concerns how much, if any, sex, violence, or graphic content is appropriate for Christian fiction. I am having problems determining where my book will fit in. I am not sure what guidelines the editors at Christian publishing houses follow. Specifics about the question at hand can be found in the post if you have time to read it.

    I need an honest answer, and I value your opinion.

    Thanks for sharing with all of us your knowledge and experience.

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