There was a time when I used to study for classes in front of the TV, music playing in the background, often while speaking on the phone. I could even do it with other people in the room doing their own thing, often loudly.

Not any longer. I was young then, and for some reason, focus came more easily to me. I took it for granted.

Today it is my biggest writing challenge, even more than finding time to write. For I have learned one can find the time to write simply by making it a priority. I learned that in graduate school. You discover that the average person has lots of free time available to them that the spend watching TV, talking with other people, or just sleeping. When you’re in graduate school–if you’re serious about finishing with a degree–you learn to make yourself feel guilty when you’re not studying or working on another paper. And you find the time, amazing amounts of time, to do what needs to be done, simply because it’s a necessity.

My problem these days is focus. I find I write best early in the morning when I am the only one up and awake at my house. Why? I have picked up this belief somewhere that if someone else is up and around, I need to pay attention to them. If a TV is going on, I need to be watching it with whoever is there. If someone is making breakfast, I need to help them. Why? I have no clue where this comes from. But I know I need to get a handle on it. Retirement comes in three years, and when that happens, I will be around my wife more and more, and if I am to get any writing done, I’m going to need to find time to do it.

This week has been great for getting writing done. Sunday I got 2,000 words written, and Monday I got about 2,400 words done. Yesterday I wrote about 5,000 words. I was making great progress on my novel, Tesla’s Ghost. What’s even better, I had pushed out of a slow area in the novel into a part that is more exciting to write, and the words started coming even more easily. I looked forward to today’s writing, with hopes to get another 5,000 words done.

I got up this morning and my wife was home. She had worked two 12-hour days on Monday and Tuesday and come down with my cold. She announced that she would be spending the day at home, to rest, get well and wrap some Christmas presents. In addition, she wanted to catch up on some TV programs she had missed in the past two days.

I love my wife, but my hopes sunk for getting some writing done today. It may still happen; she may decide that she needs to do some Christmas shopping later today. If that’s the case, I might be able to slip some writing in during that time. I wish I wasn’t held hostage by my inability to write with distractions around. And it’s only when I am working on major projects, such as my novel. As you can see, I am easily able to write my blog.

Many of my blogs on writing offer solutions to writing problems; this isn’t one of them. I’ve found that in many cases you just have to figure out what works for you. In my case, I need to figure out this problem of distractions before it becomes a major issue.