Literary Reflections is pleased to present our featured writing prompt response for May. We asked “How do you handle interruptions? How do you they affect your material? Have any interruptions become or led to inspirations?”
Sarah Yost wrote:
“This is maybe the 5th time I’ve started this piece, approaching it from the beginning, middle, a place of explication. I had been feeling stiff and awkward and writerly so I kept rewriting bad sentences, sentences that felt far away from where I want to be. I want to tell you about getting up early in the morning to write. Because doing it first is the only way it will get done.
Nothing makes me so neurotic as writing. Actually, it’s the not writing and wanting to that makes me neurotic. Desire coupled with inaction is an impossible place to be. I am alive and awake when I write regularly. I need to visit the world from a place of noticing and gathering evidence for whatever I’m working on. Having my daughter, Lula, building her body in mine, birthing it into the early morning, learning to love and claim something so fiercely are all such holy experiences. Having her has awakened me to my life with a visceral hunger I never knew. Couple that with an intense craving for writing and literature, for connection really. The reality of combing all of that is pretty hard.
Babies are just so distracting. And I’m distracted enough on my own. Leave me alone to write and I’ve got to contend with the voices. They say: you’re not good enough, will never make it, you’ll never get down what you want. look at ____. They get it. They’re probably rolling their eyes at you. Maybe I should take Yoga teacher training, maybe I should really start a Yoga practice first, sell things on Etsy, become a real estate mogul, cuddle the dogs, have breakfast, sleep. Really I should sleep because how can I expect to write if I haven’t had enough sleep?
The actual getting down of an idea is nearly impossible with Lula around. When I try to work through interruptions I just get frustrated. So I sit here, in the quiet morning, typing, seated on the couch between my dogs. I was up at 4:00 this morning which gives me a few hours before Lula gets up. Getting up early is the only way I know it will get done. About 6:30 she’ll awaken. We’ll sit together, her little body curled into mine nursing, my nose resting in her soft baby hair. I will have had my time of creation and I can give my energy to what’s at hand.
I won’t finish this essay this morning but it looks like I’m close. I’ll be with her and let this idea gel a little more, work it over in my mind, practice turns of phrasing through the day. She’ll dip her pink plastic teapot in the dogs water bowl and I’ll chase her down and change her soggy bottomed jammies. Even if she’s occupied with a baby or a book, I’ll have one eye on her. So while attending to her I’ll practice the writing in my mind, leaving it there for the day, trusting I’ll get to the actual act of the work tomorrow morning.”
You can read more from Sarah at her blog,