Working from home
It sounded great at first. You were going to join that small but growing army of freelance writers making their living writing from home. You could earn some much-needed cash while still being there for your family. You would put in three or four hours of steady writing time, then start a load of laundry and be there when the kids got home.
That was the dream. But it didn’t quite work out that way, did it? The first week you tried hard to stick to your schedule. You ignored the phone and the doorbell and finished several important assignments. The second week started out with promise, but then your child got the flu, or maybe the cat had kittens. Your writing time was starting to dwindle.
It was downhill after that. You probably took a day off just to catch up with the chores. By then your neighbor had noticed that you were staying home. You wouldn’t mind feeding her fish while she was away, would you? By the end of your first month, your day was full, all right, but not with writing. You were doing that in five minute spurts, jotting notes on a soggy notepad while standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes and trying to figure out when you’d have time to flesh out your ideas.
A brave, new world
Welcome to the reality of working from home. Some people can pull it off with panache. Maybe they live alone. Maybe their spouse is a saint. But the truth is, most homes are filled with enough distractions to make working there nearly impossible. Maybe it’s time to leave home so you can work from home. Here’s how.
- Value your craft – Craft, talent, career, vocation. Whatever you call it, acknowledge that your writing has value and deserves the time — and space — required to do it well. Just because you don’t go to an office each day, doesn’t mean that your job is less important than any other.
- Find a home away from home – Find a place where you can work regularly. A library. An Internet cafe. A coffee shop. Anyplace that’s quiet, well lit and has Internet access. Head over here for a few tips about keeping your laptop or smart phone secure while using a public network.
- Consider your car – This may sound a little unorthodox, but if you live in a temperate climate, you can turn your car into a mini, mobile office. There are mobile desks, laptop holders and even in-car coffee makers designed specifically for turning your car into a workspace. Just remember to stay aware of your surroundings at all times, and pick a well-lit, public place to park.
- Remember it’s a job – When you worked nine to five, you showed up on time every morning, ready to start. This job is no different. Get up at the same time each day, have breakfast and take a shower, and try to make it to your writing space on a regular schedule. When you start your job each day at the same time, with mind and body primed for work, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll get done.
Kate C is a teacher, freelance writer and organic gardening enthusiast. She lives in the desert but loves the mountains. She shares her home with her husband of 27 years and a fat, sassy Boston terrier named Tess.