During the classic Hollywood era, every studio maintained a string of mountain cabins in nearby Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. Most were without telephone service. This is where the studio execs would send deadline-stressed writers to pump out screenplays in short five and ten day blocks. The idea was to get them out of Hollywood and away from temptation and social diversions where they were “forced” to produce. It can be assumed that this method worked, since it is still practiced by deadline-stressed producers.
Solitude has always been a problem for writers. There is that phase of every job where the writer just needs to write. And writing sessions take time and concentration. What was once “unplug the phone” evolved into “kill your TV” and on into the present age of constant interruption. No one can wait in a supermarket checkout line without pulling out a phone and checking on something.
What’s a writer to do?
Anyone who has tried to temporarily drop off the grid to take an informational detox, knows how hard it is to do this. Unplugging and cutting wi-fi doesn’t accomplish much, except to create a pile of unanswered messages. The quiet mountain cabin isn’t an option when your daily presence is required to live in the real world. Above all, the work is the focus and the deadline is chiseled in stone.
The only answer is discipline.
Ignore non-essential communication. Establish two or three short periods of time at specific times of the day to check messages and return calls. All social media should be pushed to the end of the day. Or the end of the week.
Assert your right to solitude until the task is accomplished.
Seclusion is available, but it must be insisted upon.
Your clients will marvel at your dedication to their project. Your colleagues will envy you.
Your friends and family will understand.