I love having the ability to work from home. I love being able to write for a living. For the most part, I really enjoy being able to move my schedule around a little bit to suit the needs of my family. It’s great that I can take my job anywhere I go, providing I have Internet access. There are a few things, however, that make working from home difficult, and I wish others could understand that sometimes it can be hard.
1. I’m working. I know that sounds overly simple, but it’s true. People see me writing and assume I have nothing to do, so I must be free to run errands for them. Or that I am available to go out to lunch. Or to babysit. Writing is my work, and if I don’t have my work turned in by the deadline, I don’t get paid. Writing time is not my free time.
2. Sometimes it takes a while to get into the “writing zone” and when I get snapped out of it, it can be difficult to get back into that mindset. Getting my attention back on my work after a phone call is one thing. Trying to keep my attention focused on an article or story I am writing when I am interrupted twenty times in an hour is quite another.
3. It can be exhausting. Perhaps writing isn’t hard physical labor, but it is still often a tiring job. Some days I am working 12-15 hours, and my brain is so exhausted I can barely see straight. Cracking jokes about how people wish they could have my job so they could sit around all day are not funny. My back aches, my legs go numb, my hands hurt, my eyes are strained. Writing is work.
4. I’m not avoiding friends and family. Sometimes, depending on my workload, I can move my schedule around so I can be more available to my family and their needs. That means I might work four extra hours on Wednesday so I can attend my child’s concert on Friday night. I cannot do that all the time, though. If I don’t write, I can’t pay my bills. I’m not avoiding doing fun stuff with friends. I’m just trying to pay my mortgage like everyone else.
5. I often feel as if I don’t get any down time. People who work a traditional job get to leave the office at the end of the day, but I don’t. This means I don’t feel as though I get a break. Some days I write from the time I wake up until I fall asleep. If I stop to do something else, I feel like I’m supposed to be working harder.
There are downsides to every career, and I’m always thankful to be working. Having any sort of creative job, work is never guaranteed, so I’m happy to have a paycheck. I just wish others could understand that working from home doesn’t mean I get to hang out and do nothing all day. Uninterrupted time to write and a little support of my work goes a long way. If you have an artist in your life who is working from home, please consider these points. Everyone deserves respect and understanding, artists included.