You know how you often will find a page at the back of a book where the author will give credits? Of course he or she mentions their agent, their editor, their mom—but often they will give what may seem as an unusual credit. They will say something like, “My sincere thanks to Tom and Mary Smith for lending me their (summer home, guest house, garage, basement, spare bedroom) for the time and space to finish this novel.”
I used to think that odd. But I don’t anymore. It was common among the really great writers of our time to have a “place” where they wrote. Ernest Hemingway, in his Paris years, had a separate “office” where he went to write. F. Scott Fitzgerald often stayed in a friend’s carriage house to do his final drafts. Truman Capote did the same thing accepting offers of places to stay while he finished his work. And some of the modern writers, who are good at their trade, also have a “special writing place” which is often some friend’s ranch or vacation home. I envy that opportunity.
It seems that when I am into my characters and scenes the deepest—something, or someone interrupts me. The phone rings, the doorbell rings. “Oh, I just need to ask you one question, honey.”
Writing fiction is hard, eye-burning work. And it requires single-focus concentration. If you are into that mode, and the spell is broken by an interruption you might as well hang it up for that day. Try as you might, you can never, at that time, recapture the “muse” that had you going. Only a writer can relate to that feeling where the fingers are flying and the characters are writing the story for you and the action is flowing and—bang—you are interrupted and the balloon bursts.
Someday, when I get rich I will have a special writing place. And you are not invited.