People ask me this when they call or drop by during the day. “What are you doing?”
“Writing” is my usual response. Sometimes I’m revising, or working on a press release or reading for research. If the caller or visitor is another writer, or someone who cares about me, I know the business will be concluded quickly, or I might have the pleasure of a mini brainstorming session when they say “How’s it going?” or “Where are you in the story?”
Then there are the people who Just Don’t Get It.
“Oh.” Mr. or Ms. JDGI proceeds to present whatever induced them to call or come by, while I try to be polite and not betray my impatience to get back to work. Most days are productive enough that I can deal with the occasional interruptions without turning into the Vulture Woman from Hell. These aren’t salespeople who pop up, mind you, whom I just don’t speak to during my work time. There are simply people in my life who refuse to respect my boundaries no matter how insistently I proclaim them.
The relationship experts will tell you to kick people who do this to you straight to the curb, but for a variety of reasons that is not always possible. I remind myself to be thankful that none of the people I live with are so cavalier. Sometimes my patience is rewarded with a good story or a decent conversation, but often as not I pass a fruitless half-hour trying to make chit-chat while worrying that I’ll lose the thread of my writing for the day. I remind myself that all visitors leave eventually, especially if their presence is not responded to with more than is required by good manners.
I am getting a reputation in some quarters as being no fun anymore, or even downright rude. I am okay with this. People don’t just drop in someone working their day jobs to chat about trivia. Please don’t do it to me.