Leave me alone. I’m writing.

Christopher Jennings Penders


My friend, Mike Allton inspired today’s column when he shared:
12 Things You Should Never Say To A Writer


Before I start this column, let me say, I’m aware that many of you may see the above quote and think:
Wow!  That’s kind of harsh.

Image from:

Let me just say sometimes in order to create boundaries we need to be harsh.  To protect ourselves.


I’m sure writers everywhere have experienced interruptions with the person doing the interrupting saying something like:
Oh, you’re only writing and you can’t take a moment to talk?  Or something to that effect


It’s the only writing thing that disturbs me more than being interrupted because THAT ONE phrase trivializes what we do. It seems as if ALL artists are spoken to this way.


–Would you interrupt a lawyer in the middle of a trial?
–Would you interrupt a chef while they were cooking?
I think not?


Then why is it alright to do so to an artist?  Because art, ANY KIND of art is no longer taken seriously.  We consider it a hobby, something people do to pass the time; not as a vocation, not as something one does to get paid. This is also reflected in the world when someone asks if you can give your work away without compensation. There is an overall lack of respect for artists in general and I find it shameful that it still happens.  


Writers matter.  For without the written word, society would cease to exist. So the next time you consider interrupting a writer while they are working, AFTER they have already said as much (And YES. I said working) think about whether you would do the same to someone in another field.  It’s why when I write, I don’t answer my phone, or respond to texts or emails.  Most of my friends and family now understand that IF I don’t respond, it means that I’m working.  And on the off chance that I do pick up a ringing phone and say I’m writing and I can call back later, MOST people understand.  It took some conditioning to get the point across and yes there are STILL SOME times when I need to recondition.  For the most part however, people now respect me when I say I can call back later.  I even have an outgoing message on my phone that says I may be writing.


Anything we can do to get across the understanding that yes, for some of us, writing is much more than just a hobby.  


For me, writing was my first passion even before I picked up my first camera.  I’ve been writing since I COULD write.  So when someone, ANYONE disrespects my writing, they disrespect me.  


Am I the only one who feels this way?  Would love to hear from others in the comments below.


Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.


Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.


4 thoughts on “Leave Me Alone. I’m Writing!

  1. Martha Orlando

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, Chris! My family has learned, thank goodness, that when I’m writing, I’m not to be disturbed. It is an extremely focused task, as you well know, and I like things to be absolutely quiet when I’m in the creative process – no music or background noise allowed!
    And it’s also true that this society fails to recognize artistic gifts as work – hard work at times.
    Thanks for bringing this to light!

  2. Timothy Jacobs

    Good advice! I have often thought of writing an article for writing magazines, but the article would be aimed at those living with a writer. It would explain why we do what we do and how it’s important not to be disturbed at certain times. I’ve heard that Stephen King has a rule at his house, if the door to his office is closed, do not disturb. If the door is open, come on in.

  3. Jean Wise

    wow I needed to read this today, Chris. You are right on or should i say write on. LOL.

    Working at home people drop by and that interruption of flow takes so long to get back into. Then I feel guilty if I say to someone I need to work in solitude… like I am being antisocial. Unless you are an artist or writer, I don’t think they fully understand…Thanks of saying this so clearly!

  4. Brenda

    Hi Chris,
    There must have been a reason for me finding your site again… Thankfully you are still writing and I think it was a reminder for me to get back to writing/blogging/photography as well. 🙂
    I am one of those people that loves to work from home so I can be alone to focus while writing for work or for myself. The constant distractions from working in a business office is enough to know that any distractions at home are equally as unproductive. It’s good that you have stuck to a consistent answer for those who interrupt you. When you strip away all the layers of external actions you are left with what it’s all about and that is standing up for yourself and what is important to you – writing.

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