Working At Home – Tips and Tricks

Happy Friday. Casey here.

Writers get asked a lot of interesting questions . One of the more popular ones is – IMG_3012“where do you find the time?” Often followed by comments like “I would write, if I had the time.”

Well, guess what? People do have the time, they just aren’t using it to write. Sugar covered this topic on Monday, so I am not going to elaborate on finding time. See her excellent post here.

Instead, I’m going to share my twenty years experience as a work at home employee of a large national company. These tips and tricks can apply to writers as well as anyone.

1. Get up in the morning, like you would on a work day for an outside employer and bathe. Yes. Get out of your pajamas and wash yourself.  Go to your designated work space and report for duty.

2. Remember to eat breakfast. Again, in case you haven’t heard this before: it’s the most important meal of the day.

3. Develop a mindset that this is a job. Create the same mental head space/attitude you would if an employer was paying you. Writers – if you are under contract – yes, you have an employer who is paying you. If you are aspiring to publication, best develop a solid work ethic now. It will serve you well when you land that contract.

4. Have a schedule. For example, I will write from the hours of 9:00 – 12:00. Or midnight to four am. Whatever fits. And during this time, I am working. No social media, no television, no phone calls, etc.

5. Tell yourself – I do NOT have all day to get it done. See # 3 & #4. You don’t have all day. I know it seems that way, but if you want to work at home (doing any job, not just writing) you have to be professional and get your work done during scheduled hours.

6. Dirt doesn’t matter. Leave the dishes, killer dust bunnies and monster laundry piles alone. Believe me, they aren’t going anywhere. You can deal with them later. Like you would if you went to a day job outside of your home.  If you are bothered by these things, sorry, but you have to get over it. Or find a place to work outside of the home.

7. Take a lunch break. See #2. Eating in important to the body and brain’s function.

8. Drink lots of water. Why? So you don’t sit in your chair until your muscles atrophy. Every time you take a bio break, drink some more liquid.

9. Exercise. Especially important if you are staring at  a blank screen or hating your job. Take 10 to 30 minutes and walk (or whatever exercise does it for you – lifting your arm to aim a remote doesn’t count).

10. If you aren’t writing a story, you should be plotting your next one. Use every minute allotted to writing time to advance yourself.

11. Fake it till you make it – if your day’s writing is crappy – who cares! It can all be fixed

Only the queen can hang around in her castle all day.
Only the queen can hang around in her castle all day.

later. That’s what editing is for.

12. Schedule down time. All work and no play, make a writer grumpy and not very good at their job. Granted, if you have a full-time job (like many of us do), then allow yourself a day of rest (or even a few hours). I did this recently – see here.

13. Have fun. Remember, you’re doing this because you wanted to be a writer!

Anyone else have any tips to share?

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4 thoughts on “Working At Home – Tips and Tricks”

  1. Excellent advice all the way around, Casey. I’ve developed a schedule that is working for me right now, but I advocate being flexible. Be willing to change with the demands of life, the job, the family, and especially, your own physical needs. I know that sitting for long periods of time is creating neck problems for me, so now I write in sprints. After a half hour, I get up and do something else. Throw a load of laundry in, do the dishes, take that shower, work out, or get outside and walk. Then it’s back to work for another go round. I’m actually finding good success with this method…and I’m getting other things done so I don’t feel so consumed by the job of being a writer. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I can’t sit in one spot for hours on end so I totally agree with flexibility! I move around a lot during my work day especially on conference calls. Thank goodness for wireless phones and headsets.

      Glad to hear you’ve found that golden balance 🙂

  2. You are so right Casey. All of the above, great. Eat right, exercise and sleep all make for a good mind and body too of course. Take a break, paint a picture, water the bushes, have some coffee and glance through the newspaper or the Neiman Marcus catalog, then discard, keeping the place neat and orderly.

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