My year of writing from home hasn't been what I expected. It's not better or worse, just different, with completely unexpected pros and cons.
It was easy to foresee most of the challenges I would go through. I knew it would be hard to wake up in the mornings at first and that I'd have to resist Netflix, naps, and other forms of procrastination.
I didn't realize I would actually be less productive than when I was sitting in an office with nothing else to do. I'm so glad I didn't wait until conditions were "perfect" before working on my books, because my best work happened when conditions were horribly imperfect.
Part of that is because of the want-what-you-can't-have mentality. When it was hard to fit writing into my day, finding time was an exciting challenge. Now I can write anytime, and "later" always seems as good a time as any.
But those things are nothing compared to the greatest disadvantage of all, the one I expected the least and am struggling with the most:
The lack of recognition.
It might sound stupid, but the fact that I'm working just for myself is really wearing me down. When my husband tells me about praise he receives at work (and he seems to get a lot of it), I think about my book no one has read and feel jealous. Even when I was underappreciated at my old jobs, at least I was paid. Now if finish my book or I don't finish it, who will care?
It makes me chuckle to think that in four weeks, I'll have a new job -- being a mother -- which is supposedly the second most thankless job in the world (the first being unpublished author, of course).
At least when I'm busy with the baby, "later" won't be a crutch for me anymore.
I love the fact that I'm always doing something. Rarely have I ever had a job where I kept busy. I had a custodial job that gave me four hours to clean a building that only took one, a call center job that wouldn't get a call for a good 45 minutes at a time, an office job that was full-time but only took up two hours of my day, and I even had a job writing a user manual for a computer program that wasn't finished. My boss told me just to come into work everyday and I would start writing once the program was completed. (It never was.)
Now, I never have to twiddle my thumbs or pretend to be busy ever again. If I'm bored, I just need to find a creative way to fill my time. You have no idea how exhilarating that feels!
I also love having the time to cook meals and clean the house, instead of coming home at six too tired to do anything. I'm sure some of that will fall by the wayside once the baby is born, but being here makes my apartment feel much more like a home.
What I Can Take Away From This
When working for myself, I have to always, always enjoy what I'm doing. If I ever pour on guilt or too much pressure, or if my passion isn't in the writing, I might stop and ask myself, "What am I even doing this for, anyway?" When I write just because I love the work, that's when the work gets done.
So, after my year of writing from home, I've discovered the secret to being a productive writer:
Love what you do.