Writing can be a challenging occupation, not only because as your own boss, you have to be the one to keep yourself focused and at work rather than doing the million other things you could do on your computers, but also because you have to make others understand that what you’re doing alone on your computer really is work. Here is what author Cindy Vine has to say on the subject!
Writing requires commitment and focus. Other people don’t always understand that. They don’t get that there are times you need to be alone so that you can get into that zone where you create and write productively. They seem to feel it’s their duty to keep you company. Normally I like to keep up to date with what is happening in the world, others’ news, gossip. But when I am on a roll with my writing I can become quite distant and disinterested in others. My own children understand. They accept me like that, it’s who I am. A writer. An escapist.
When I moved to Kyiv to take up a new teaching post in September 2013, I was going to be alone for the first time in my life. Mistakenly I thought that being alone would mean that I’d have more time to write without any distractions. How silly of me. The distractions really start when you live alone. The apartment is quiet so you become addicted to downloading music. Then to fill up the silence you start watching TV series online and get so caught up in them that you can’t write or do anything else – just watch. When one series ends there are many others to take their place. Fast internet has its cons. How I long for the days in Tanzania when the internet was almost too slow to check and send emails (when it worked.) There was no way you could watch any TV show online. A carrier pigeon with a broken wing flew faster than the internet. My writing times were set, Saturday and Sunday morning for about 5 hours, a total of ten hours a week. My daughter knew and understood this, nothing would happen until after my writing time so she’d sleep in. The internet is too fast in Kyiv.
My daughter’s parting gift to me was Candy Crush. A completely addictive waste of time inane game. Now I could only write when my lives were all used up. But then a colleague at school introduced me to Criminal Case and that is time consuming. And of course there have been protests in Kyiv since November 2013, so one has to keep checking live updates to see what is happening. But with all these distractions I have managed to complete two books.
Hush Baby is a novel that I worked on for over a year and just finished off in Kyiv. The Colorful Art of Pain was an interesting project that both excited and scared me. A colleague at the school I worked at in Tanzania approached me with a book idea. Besides teaching ESL he was also a Canadian artist and sold many of his works over the internet. Daniel Quinlan had lived with chronic back pain for 8 years. In Tanzania he decided to go off painkillers and use art as a way of pain relief. He started finger painting to distract himself from the pain and in 3 years produced 125 large canvases. When his fingers became so raw and swollen he had to stop and it was at that time he suggested we work together to create a book with some of his paintings. Now the problem was his paintings were quite random and of different East African scenes. How would one write a story about that? I vegetated on that for 6 months and allowed many distractions to keep me away from Dan’s book idea. Then when I was sick and couldn’t go into work I decided to look through Dan’s paintings again and then it came to me. Dan’s book would be about the Journey to the Hell of Pain and back. It would be a visual diary of what you go through when you experience pain and I would narrate the story so it would be like an adult picture book. Sort of like a modern day Africanized version of the Pilgrim’s Progress. That was how The Colorful Art of Pain was born. When I pushed my distractions aside and allowed myself to regain my focus and commitment to my writing. Don’t let mindless distractions keep you away from your writing.
Born in Cape Town South Africa, Cindy Vine currently lives in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is a teacher, mother and author who loves traveling the world to find new adventures. Cindy has written two self-help books which deal with relationships, three children’s books, a travel diary and six novels.
Find her books:
(click on the cover to buy!)