This past week I’ve cleared my creative plate and have been able to focus all of my attention on my third manuscript. I had started this MS at the end of last summer, and the three chapters I had finished have sat untouched for months. I was a little intimidated to open this back up and dive right in, but it felt good. Creating something from scratch and feeling that rush of excitement when the story line starts clicking into place in my mind has gotten my creative juices flowing again. The characters, and the story they want me to tell, are screaming in my mind and I have this constant nagging in my brain to just sit down and write it all out.

But something is happening that I didn’t experience with my first two MS’s . I’m having a hard time blocking the noise out. Not just the external noise, but the internal noise as well. Don’t get me wrong, the external noise in my house is deafening and constant. When you stay at home with a two-year-old who only naps about every other day and a four-year-old who has a limitless amount of energy, quiet isn’t something I even strife for anymore. I mean, how do you say no when your adorable daughter sweetly asks, “Mommy, would you like to hear my wonderful music while you work?” I’ll tell you the answer…you don’t. You sit on your computer and cringe as you type away and she wildly shakes a tambourine and dances around the dining room table. Or when your toddler runs up and tells you it’s time for dinner, how do you not stop the work to eat the fried chicken he puts in your face. Okay, so it’s made from Play-Doh and it’s only a quick, “Mmm, yummy!” on my part, but it’s pretty damn distracting.

I’ve gotten pretty good over the past year and a half at giving the kids the minute they are begging for, and then getting my head right back where it needs to be. I have to do this, or I’d never get anything done. Or, I’d be up all night and never sleep and that’s just not an option for me. This mama needs her sleep or we all suffer. It’s the internal noise I’m having a hard time pushing away. And the most frustrating part about this, is there is nothing out there I need to be doing besides working on my MS. My short synopsis, long synopsis, and author bio are turned into my agent. MS number 2 is complete and patiently waiting for it’s time to shine, and I’ve kept surprisingly up-to-date on my blog posts lately. But there’s still this constant buzzing in my brain I can’t quiet down.

I sit down to write, knowing exactly what I want to happen in the chapter, and I can’t seem to concentrate on getting the words on the screen. I’m wondering how far my agent has gotten on my revised MS, when will submissions to publishers start, and how my entries are doing in contests. I’m checking my email a ridiculous number of times a day, even when there’s nothing pressing that should be coming in. It’s frustrating as hell. I try to clear my mind and see the scene the way I want to paint it, and I see it, but I can’t get the sentences down in a way that makes me happy. At least not for awhile. Where I was writing several chapters a week, I’m now happy to get one complete and a second started. I know quality is more important than quantity, and there’s no rush to get this MS finished, but the characters constantly chatting away in my mind say differently.

I can’t be the only person who has this problem. How do you handle it? Do you just push through it, happy with whatever it is you get accomplished that day, or is there another solution to this problem? I suppose I could hire a nanny to watch the kids and a personal assistant to sort out the other stuff I don’t want to deal with. But I’m thinking this isn’t a plausible option. Until I figure it out, I’ll sit at my computer again tomorrow and write as much as I can. Emma’s story is itching to escape, and eventually it will get done. I just need the world to quiet down a little bit so I can put pen to paper…or at least finger to keyboard. But as I type this, that sweet as sugar two-year-old screams for mommy to sing more Thomas the Train before he finally falls asleep. I guess the world won’t be quieting down any time soon, so I just need to figure out how to block it out and get the work done. For now, I’m off to seeing about that cheeky little Thomas the Train.