Why Writing from Home Won’t Work

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 IMG_0065sun 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 . . . IMG_0065