By: Dennis Bates
Don’t get me wrong, I love working from home. Even though I have a second office where I do some consulting, the majority of my work is done at a table in the corner of my basement. You would think I would be safe there and free from distraction. That is not always the case.
First, the upside. I have two basic outfits, one for winter and one for summer. My winter outfit consists of a sweat suit (I own five) and a pair of slippers. I have an elaborate rotation system for them which is much more detail than I need to get into here. My summer wardrobe consists of several pair’s of shorts and a drawer full of T shirts from various sources. All of them match my flip flops perfectly, although those of you who are really fashion conscious would quickly point out that I wear slides, not flip flops.
Also, coffee is readily available, I have a private bathroom, and I can take my breaks anytime I want to. I have no time clock or office supervisor who thinks he’s one. I eat lunch when I’m hungry, not when I’m scheduled to and I shower when the mood strikes me which is usually when even I can’t stand myself anymore. A lot of the times that happens mid afternoon. If I remember something that I need to do, I just get up and do it. I don’t need permission and I don’t have to wait until after work or the weekend. Every day is after work or the weekend. As a friend of mine says, the only thing you have to remember is that the big paper comes on Sunday.
So, what could possibly be wrong with this? Maybe wrong isn’t the right way to look at it, especially when it’s my wife, daughter and to some degree my friends who are involved. How do I say this delicately? There are distractions when you work at home and sometimes it seems as if those distractions work together almost as if they are part of a conspiracy to frustrate you.
Granted, some days are worse than others, but the consensus seems to be that a person working from home doesn’t really have a job; therefore, they don’t really work. To some degree that problems exists for everyone who works from home, but for those of us who write, it is especially bad. As writers know, much of our time is spent pondering the greater truths of our day, or imagining the details of the next scene in the endless Saturday afternoon matinee that passes for thought in most writer’s heads.
We are not day dreaming; we are creating. Why is that so hard to understand? We need large blocks of time strung together without interruption so that we can make all the characters in our mental soap operas behave. Who knows what they might do if we didn’t keep our thoughts focused on their every movement, sigh and desire?
So when your spouse says, “Honey, you seem to be taking a break. I need to run something by you; it will only take a minute,” it really is hard to keep from screaming. Sometimes even if they just walk through the room it is enough to take you out of that moment you spent so much time finding. “Sorry,” doesn’t help. Now you have to hunt for that moment again and hope you can find it. No matter how good a spouse’s intentions are, or how innocent, those interruptions are like serial killers for all those creative thoughts you need to have.
Then, just when you get going and are about to jump your story to hyperspace, some kitchen Klingon shouts, “Diner’s ready, Dear. Bring up some bottled water from the frig down there will you?” It’s not their fault…really…but it does make you wish you could just have Scottie beam you up for a day or two so you could get something done.