Lately a number of people have talked (or technically communicated with me via email…do we all refer to email communications as talking now?) to me about the challenges and difficulties of working from home.
It’s important to remember that I don’t just work at home, I don’t have a boss either. So it’s different than being a Regional Sales Rep. At the end of the day and the end of the month, I answer to me (I sometimes drive me crazy!)
I have deadlines with editors and art directors which I try very hard to keep but that’s not the same as having daily duties from a full time employer. For instance I don’t need to be at my desk until 6 just to show what a hard worker I am – even though I finished what I needed to get done at 4.
The most difficult aspect of working at home is maintaining focus. Ideally the day is spent in solitude allowing one to focus on the project at hand and have a playful sense of diligence. But time is rarely more available just because your desk is in your house. Often I start digging into work, maybe I get up extra early to start when it’s dark and quiet and then – I need to feed the dog, walk the dog, feed my daughter and shortly get her on the bus and to school. Or we miss the bus and I start up the car and drive her. Then it’s grocery shopping, house jobs and chores.
Each interruption takes something from you. It’s like a month passing. When I sit back down and look at the painting or the manuscript I was working on it’s like a foreign artifact. What was I thinking? Why was I enjoying this? Look how much more I still have to do!
It’s a fight to reclaim the energy, the focus and the fun. And while not every moment of work can be expected to be FUN!, you need to keep some sense of wonder and fun or the work becomes a drag. Literally, I feel like I have to drag the pencil across the paper or carve the right word from stone in my manuscript. With any commercial art project a great deal of your work gets changed, revised, altered and edited, so you need to attack the task again and again and again before it’s done. If you lose the sense of fun that comes from doing the creative work I don’t think you will stay working at it.
So now I will quit all this blogging stuff and hit the manuscript. Although the dog does have a vet appointment in 3 hours.