Why Writing From Home Won’t Work by Julie Mayerson Brown
You would think that working from home is a writer’s dream. Going into the “office” any time of day, wearing pajamas or sweats (or whatever), sipping coffee or tea (or whatever), locating your workspace anywhere you want, ideally in front of a picture window that looks out over a forest thick with trees and birds and romping deer, as the sun rises (or sets) and one’s imagination runs free and stories spring forth and flow like a river of melting snow . . .
Yeah, right . . .
7 am: I’m up and in the kitchen, on schedule and ready to go. I have the entire day ahead of me – hours of uninterrupted creativity. I pour my coffee and head to the table where my laptop awaits. I push the button, and it springs to life. “Fifty-three new emails,” it says. Mostly trash, as usual. I’ll just erase them and then get to work. Click-delete, click-delete, click-del . . . wait, what’s this? Clearance sale on Zappos – one quick peek . . .
8:30 (ish): After shoe shopping, I decide to eat something. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and besides, a hungry writer is a distracted writer (yes, I just made that up). I pour milk into my cereal and take a bite – bleech! Ugh – sour milk! I empty the milk carton and throw out my ruined breakfast. Forget eating. I have to get to work.
9:00 on the nose: I sit, again, in front of my computer, open a new word document, type a temporary title, and save as . . . What is that out there on the lawn? A flock of birds eating my grass seed? I jump up and run outside with the hose to scare them off. That’ll show you! Since I’m now outside with the hose running, I decide to sprinkle the lawn. And water the pots, pull a few weeds, and . . . oh my, look at that gorgeous pink rose! I should put it in a bud vase on my desk to inspire my work. I go inside to get my gardening shears. Where are they? I rummage through several drawers, find them in the garage, and go back to snip the lovely rose. Then I prune the rest of the bush. And the bush next to it.
10:15 (ish): I am back at my desk/kitchen table with my fragrant rose, fresh cup of coffee, and a piece of buttered toast. I begin to type, and I’m making progress, and I laugh at my own wit, and . . . oh geez, Lucy’s crying. Lucy is my oldest of four Boxers. She’s almost blind, so if the water bowl isn’t filled to the top, she thinks it’s empty. At least that’s what I think she thinks. I go into the laundry room, and poor Lucy is standing by a half-full water bowl. I fill it to the top and put it right under her nose. She drinks. I pat her on the head, turn, and . . . when did all that dirty laundry pile up? I’ll just throw in a quick load. I push the “start” button, and my three male Boxers barrel through the dog door, tracking in mud and whatever else has stuck to their paws. I do a quick mop-up with paper-towels and then wipe their paws – all twelve of them.
Noon (almost): I’m back at the computer with a diet coke and a bag of chips. My fingers are poised over the keys, and I am about to type when the phone rings. I won’t answer. Whoever it is will leave a message. But my caller ID tells me that it’s my mother . . . don’t ever ignore your mother, because it could be an emergency. Hello? It’s not an emergency. We talk about the weather, the roast she’s making for dinner, the bedspread that cost a fortune and how she hates it, the letter she received from the insurance company explaining why . . .
I don’t even look at the clock because I don’t want to know. I have finished my diet coke and need to pee. My dogs follow me into the bathroom, because that’s what dogs do. Since I’m close to the laundry room, I decide to transfer the clean clothes into the dryer. Then I fill the water dish for Lucy and fold a stack of towels. I take them into my bathroom and decide to brush my teeth. Then I get dressed. Then I wash my face. I don’t need to put on make-up since I’m working from home, but maybe a little just in case . . .
2:10 to 2:40 I work without interruption. I make pretty good progress until there’s a knock on the front door. I pretend I’m not home. Another knock. I go answer the door. The UPS driver smiles at me. He’s cute, and I’m glad I put on make-up. I carry the box back to the kitchen. It’s for my husband. I go back to work. I wonder what’s in that box. I call my husband. No answer. I leave a voice mail that he got a package and to call back asap, because it’s killing me to not know what’s in it. Then I eat a granola bar, drink some water, and go to the bathroom again, dogs in tow . . .
3:00: Working from home is not working. Eight hours and I’ve written one paragraph, barely. I pack my laptop, find my keys, and grab my jacket. On the way out, I notice that the rain gutters are full of leaves. I prop up the ladder and clear one section. Then berate myself for getting distracted.
4:00: I hide out in my favorite spot at the library and settle in for some serious writing. My cell phone buzzes – I ignore it. Girl nearby munches carrots – I ignore her. I need to use the bathroom – I run and go and come right back. I work for two and a half hours and write over 1000 words.
I want to stay and write for several more hours, but I start to feel guilty. After all, I’ve been working all day, and I really ought to go home and get a few things done around the house.
Julie Mayerson Brown began her career writing humorous essays, using her two adorable (yes, biased opinion) sons as unwitting muses, for an LA based parenting monthly. After several years as a columnist, Brown began freelancing. Her work has appeared in the Daily Breeze, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and Parenting Magazine.
An original “Valley Girl” from Encino, California, Brown now lives on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a rural suburb of Los Angeles, with her husband, two sons (who return from college periodically for laundry service and home-made chicken soup), four (yes FOUR) boxer dogs, and hundreds of wild peacocks. An “at-home” mom and community volunteer for over twenty years, she is a founding member of a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to protecting children and teens.
Her first novel, The Long Dance Home, was published by Mischievous Muse Press, a subsidiary of World Nouveau Books. Her next book, The Second Sister, will be released early 2015. When not writing novels or rescuing dogs, Julie is reading, gardening, cooking, or bargain shoe shopping online (not necessarily in that order…) Learn more and order your copy of The Long Dance Home here.
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