Like a lot of people who work from home, I can so easily get distracted by everything that is NOT work. I don’t really fall into the trap many have problems with – social media – as I am still kind of ‘oh fine if I absolutely must’ when it comes to interacting with others. Although I do like a good meme!
But no, social media is not my guilty secret. I tend to drift off in my thoughts a little too often – not always a good thing, even if I am a writer. And I also get distracted by the garden and what the birds are doing, or what my cat is doing…I play lots of Sudoku, and like a lot of home-based workers, I often notice little things I suddenly need to tackle – but don’t get the idea my home is a shrine to cleanliness. So there’s the ever-present housework. And then there’s the laundry, the shopping, food preparation and menu planning (which consists mainly wondering if those fish fingers I found in the back of the freezer are okay. They could only be a maximum of seven years old, ‘cos that’s when we got the freezer, so…?)
And of course I have to hone my IT skills by learning how to do things on the computer, and I need to keep up with what’s happening in the world of books and stories and authors – sometimes I also need to squeeze in a good gloat over my book collection…
So life for the home-based worker is very, very busy. Heaven forbid if you have any young children too. It can be all too easy to forget to do any actual work. That’s why deadlines help me.
Leaving aside my editing and proofreading actual paid work, when it comes to my own writing, I have to actually force myself to achieve. if you are not a writer, or maybe even if you are ( I know a number of writers who never have the least trouble getting on with their WIP – work in progress) you could be forgiven for thinking all you have to do is sit down and – well – write.
But I know that many people, including myself, find it quite difficult to begin – even when they have notes and an outline, and know exactly what they want to say. It’s like a kind of stage-fright, I guess. Often known as the Fear Of The Blank Page.
So I have now obtained a desk diary, (yes, old school – actual paper!) and I have started putting in my ‘due date’ for each project, and working backwards like my Criss Cross protagonist Cressida, I then work out how long it will take me if I work around the commitments I already have, and how much time I have available. So far so good, I am pleased with this strange, newly-efficient me. I have also begun to limit myself to twice-weekly social media binges, which was an easy thing to do for me, and I am working solely in my teeny tiny office ‘out back’ on my new all-signing, all-dancing laptop, which keeps me away from the dishes and the state of the floor, and I can no longer see the birds, and only occasionally get walked on by a cat.
So I have sorted out my work-space and I have sorted out my time-keeping – all of this, I hope will lead to improved productivity and a sense of achievement that will spur me on even more. Maybe Virginia Woolf was right, and all we need to work, is a ‘room of one’s own’? Now if only I could get some good, fresh ideas…
This may look like a picture of one of my cats, but actually it’s an IT exercise! Or so I told myself for the time it took me to create it, when I should have been revising my novel-in-progress!