Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Believe it or not there are some writers who have the luxury of writing full time. From home. Which means there are days when they might not feel like getting dressed. Or brushing their teeth. Or flossing. Most writers who work a job outside the home, in addition to writing, are green with envy at the idea of staying home all day and pecking at their keyboards.

But let’s not be fooled. A full time writer at home has their share of hurdles to overcome.

Let’s take, for instance, those who would drop by unannounced. “Well, I knew you were here so I thought I’d come for a visit.” Okay, but when I’m trying to pound out five thousand words I don’t have time to chat.

Solution: Set boundaries for yourself (and others!) by establishing office hours.

Then there are the household chores that beckon to SAHW (stay-at-home-writer). It’s much too easy to fall prey to guilt so that writing time becomes cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, babysitting, child-rearing, laundry, bill-paying, cooking time. Can you say the words “No. Word. Count?”

Solution: Again, you have to establish business hours and treat the job of writing as if you were truly doing a 9-to-5.

And let’s not forget the pajama trap. To stay in your pajamas while working can result in too lax an attitude toward your writing. You’ll find yourself becoming unfocused and unproductive.

Solution: To motivate yourself, it would probably be better for you to get dressed as if you were going to work.

What about phone calls? Would you answer the phone and talk for hours on company time? Your writing time is just as important.

Solution: Treat calls as you would if you were an employee outside of the home. Turn off the ringer or let the answering machine pickup. Make use of caller ID.

You see, no one will have respect for your ability to work from home if you don’t lay guidelines for yourself. Set your work hours and stick with the schedule. When you treat the business of writing full-time from home *as* a business, friends and family will follow your lead.

What is your most difficult writing-from-home challenge?


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