Thursday, January 19, 2012

Calling All Stay At Home Worker Bees!

Calling all stay at home moms/writers!! Okay as some of you may know, I was layed off from my regular full-time job last week. The company I was working for had another big layoff in April 2011 and then cut everyones pay by 5% before Christmas. There were all kinds of rumors going around the office of another lay-off so I was preparing myself for the worst. I was an administrative employee at an engineering consultant firm so as you may guess, administrative people aren’t all that important in the eyes of the company. Anyway, I had been preparing myself and my husband that if it happened to me, I was not going to go out seeking another job in the office, but I would find a way to make myself a fulltime writer at home.

But geez, not only am I not making any money but I’m finding it very hard to balance out my day. There are so many things around the house to distract me. Like cleaning, walking the dogs, dying my hair, Dr. Phil , Ellen and my favorite… naps. I never realized how long it takes me to actually get going in the mornings when I don’t have an office to go to. Why is it taking me so long just to eat my breakfast and drink a cup of coffee? When I had to go to work, I didn’t even drink coffee until I got to the office! I got up, ran in the shower, got dressed, ate my cereal and out the door. No problem. But now, I’m finding it a major task to even TAKE a shower!! I’m too tired when I first get out of bed and then before I know it, I’ve wasted 2 hrs and I need to get to my computer, not the shower. I’m starting to stink!!!

How do you stay at home moms and writers do it? Can you give me some tips to help balance myself? Do I need to just overlook the mess and not clean until a specific time of the day? Or am I completely getting ahead of myself since it’s only been one week now?  How long did it take you to get yourself adjusted to be a productive stay at home worker and not end up a stay at home… bum.

Encouragement people… I need encouragement!! Ugh.


18 comments:

  1. Al, first let me say how sorry I am about your job.

    Now, to your extremely important topic. I have very strong feelings about this, and I've been working on it myself lately. I've become very good at staying productive when I'm home alone all day. Bu I have to have a routine. Have to, have to, have to. Here's it is:

    After breakfast, until lunch, I do marketing tasks and editing. I take an hour (sometimes two, depending on household needs) for lunch. I do not watch TV during the daytime. Ever. That's a very big rule for me. At lunchtime, I read other people's fiction, since that is also part of my job as a writer.
    After lunch I write for several hours, until it's time to cook dinner. I take the evening off, just like I would if I had an office job.

    The only time I break this routine is if I have a particular job that trumps everything else. Like this week, I'm editing one of my novels on deadline. So I just do that all day long.

    Also, Al, I really recommend keeping a writing/marketing calendar. I figure out what I want to accomplish, and by when. Then I picture what it will take to get you there, and break the tasks into doable chunks and write them on my calendar. This gives me a sense of direction, making it less likely that I'll just float or waste a day.

    Sure hope this helps. Very best of luck to you!

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  2. Not to sound like Bill Clinton - but I feel your pain. I am struggling with this as well. If I told you all the obstacles I overcame in 2011 you would wonder how I managed to get one book published. I was doing fine with my plans before my husband got laid off of his job. He is a big distraction. It's a good thing we love one another, we might have to live off of love if I don't get my butt in gear and start making some REAL money. I'm thrifty and still feeling Wealthy because of the love mind you. :)

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  3. Anne,

    Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. I will try some of your suggestions for sure. I know watching daytime TV is a waste of time... but I enjoy it!! However, going to have to learn to not even turn it on. Ugh.

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  4. Carol,

    I'm copying your quote cause I "feel your pain" as well. If my husband was laid off too and home all day, one of us would probably be dead by now!! Just joking of course but we both like our alone time so we'd drive each other nuts. I'm a bit worried about approaching retirement age. I have lots of interests and things to keep me from doing nothing but he is another story.
    Sorry you had to weather so many obstacles in 2011. I will keep my fingers crossed that 2012 will be much better for you! Stay strong.

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  5. Thanks Allyn. I often joke that I am mad strong, and that I know adversity builds character but I've had enough to be a cartoon character by now. Fingers crossed, prayers, good vibes....I'll take what I can get. :)

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  6. I work from home, too, and I agree with Anne: turn off the TV, and make plans on your scheduler every morning (or every night for the next day). I'm still working on watching less TV every day so that I can increase my reading amount. Best of luck with this new routine, Allyn. I hope you find your most comfortable and effective one!

    Claudine
    http://www.carryusoffbooks.com/blog.html

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  7. Create a schedule, Allyn. Writing is a job. Treat like one. Set aside time for writing, time for promotional things, time for research. Make a schedule and hold yourself to it. I'd also schedule household chores and naps (if you need them) so you know when it's time for those too.

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  8. You could use "Flyladys" tip for the morning. "Get dressed to shoes". She says to get up and get dressed as you would if you were going to work - shoes included. Then work your day as if you were at work. So, I'd say, take your best plans add them to the other good ideas you've got in the comments and come up with a workable plan.

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  9. You've already gotten a lot of great tips. The biggest one is to treat your writing like a job. I have friends who cannot write at home - all the distractions you mention. Two I know go to their local Barnes and Noble. The cliche would be the writer at the coffee shop. I certainly see plenty of laptops there, but who knows if their writing or facebooking. I've done some time at the library with my laptop last year as it worked with my kids pick up drop off schedule and I was trying to save gas and maximize time.

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  10. Well, I am going to admit--I don't have a schedule, and still I get a large amount done each day. But I am disciplined! Someitmes I jsut can't write if the dishes are piled up, or the laundry is over flowing, or the toys have taken over the living room. Once I'm done with those things, though, I CAN get down to business. Sometimes I don't take a shower until noon.

    Like others have said, though, I don't indulge in TV (well really ever, but) during the day. I do write at night, too though.

    Hopefully you'll fall into a nice pattern soon :)

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  11. When my hubby graduated college, he was SO burnt out that I was glad to see him sit around at home and relax for awhile. A few months later, when he started telling me what the daily Brady Bunch episode was about, I knew it was time for him to get a job :)

    Make a daily & weekly schedule of stuff to do around the house, start working on some home projects, and don't sit at home all the time. Go outside - do gardening, ride a bike, go to the library regularly, do some volunteer work, etc - as long as it gets you out the door regularly.

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  12. I'm not sure what the cure is - haven't found mine yet. Good luck with it, though. Keep us posted.

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  13. Claudine,
    Thanks for you advise. Turning off the TV is really hard for me, my husband and I are both addicts. But I'm going to try my best!

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  14. Thanks everyone, you've given me some great advise. Most of it, I already figured I'd need to do like make a schedule, but hearing it reinforced by all of you will hopefully convince me that i really need to do that. Like you, Katie, if I know my kitchen is a mess or really most any other place in the house, I just have to get that cleaned up first before I can begin to write. However, I need to work on that and try to ignore the dirt and write first! After I get what I wanted to get done for the day in regards to my writing, THEN I can clean. Wish me luck!!

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  15. You have been given some great advice so I don't have anything to add. Just wanted to wish you lots of luck and say how sorry I am about your job.

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  16. Thank you, Barbara. It will all work out!

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  17. That Dr. Phil can be a real problem...hah! Since I Have never ever watched his show I wouldn't really know. Its all a giant flux right now for you. You got some great advise though. Good luck. I know you want this so you WILL make it happen. You will.

    ctny

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  18. Very good advice. The most important thing is you have to do what works for you...but you have to figure out what that is. Writing is your job, and being self employed you get to set your hours. BUT if you fail to work, you fail to make and income...so be disciplined. You can do it!!

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