Tag Archives: self-employment

Motivation for writers and those working at home

How do you get motivated when the internet (Pinterest! DIY blogs! Twitter links! Ack!) and on-demand television seem so much more alluring than writing or whatever you’re supposed to be doing?

When my boyfriend was unemployed, I saw him waste entire days getting sucked into movies or TV series marathons, and (although I generally dislike most TV) I am well aware of how easy it can be for the hours to evaporate unnoticed. So I have pledged, and thus far in this month of joblessness held fast to, no television before evening and thus have at least accomplished a few things every day.

What I need to do now is to turn off the wireless and write (maybe with a timer?) without the constant distraction of email, Facebook notifications, the abyss that is Pinterest… Gah! I did set myself up a home office upstairs in the guest room/music room/craft room, with a real desk, but somehow I always end up on the couch. With the internet on. Bad girl.

“Flylady,” the “home executive” organization website, advocates putting on real shoes as the most important step in getting yourself going. Since I typically go Japanese-style at home and remove shoes at the door (way more hygenic, by the way), this particular suggestion doesn’t really work for me, but I find that the big step of putting my contact lenses in (my “eyes” as my mom would say) somehow signals to my brain that it’s not lazing-around time any more. Some days the glasses stay on longer than others; perhaps that’s another item I should add to my “schedule”!

The threat of having no income is sufficient for many, and will be way more frightening for me as soon as my severance runs out.  A friend who is a self-employed textile artist and seamster, who “homesteads” (as the self-sufficiency movement is being dubbed), gets herself motivated every day because otherwise she won’t have anything to eat. Literally. Today, or next month, or next winter, or pretty much ever, since she bakes, grows, and/or preserves most of her own food. That is a lot of pressure, and a pretty convincing argument. (You argue with yourself, too, right; it’s not just me?)

Another friend swears by the “done” list instead of a to-do list. I have tried this, particularly on major chore days, and it is definitely effective for me. The to-do list is always incredibly daunting; of course, I include just about everything that should be done, rather than making an achievable plan… maybe not smart. The “done” list works well especially if you break tasks down into small parts. I could write in and check off “clean bathroom” but how much more satisfying is “sweep bathroom floor (check)/ mop bathroom floor (check)/ bathroom surfaces (or even sink/toilet/scrub tub!) (check), etc.? This might be difficult to apply to writing, though; “printed query letter / signed query letter /mailed query letter” might be reaching a bit 😉

If you have any special tips and tricks to keep you going please comment!



Filed under Self-employment

In which I am grateful to be sacked

The universe works in mysterious ways, as they say. On the Friday after the New Year, I found out I was being “restructured” out of the horrible office job I’d been in for a year (after five in a different, not horrible job at the same company).

My self-worth immediately collapsed. I’m the type of person who isn’t happy with an A minus, know what I mean? Being told I just hadn’t done a good enough job because I lacked the experience required (which they knew when they hired me, of course) was crushing. At first.

In time, once the shock and hurt had worn off, I began to realize that with a severance package and potential unemployment benefits, I wouldn’t necessarily have to rush into a new horrible office job…

I had finally, over the previous year, published a couple of Arts & Living-style articles thanks to a journalism class at Harvard Extension (with a fabulously encouraging professor). More than a decade before, I had submitted a few short stories while pursuing an English degree when a diabolical man at Boston University (whom I shall someday soon tell the story of) stomped on my burgeoning dreams and left only latent shreds.

Over the past five years, I crept back into writing, starting a painfully-photographed but fun little fashion-for-less blog and signing up to be the Examiner for budget living in Cambridge. Since I was raised by a cheapskate, and have never had much extra money, frugality is one of my major focuses, along with living more sustainably and healthfully. I hoped to someday “find the time” to start a novel (doesn’t everyone?) and vaguely (but without action) longed to repeat my small successes in publishing locally. But it had not occurred to me, dude, that I would be giving a shot to making writing my life.

March 1st was my first day of a nice little vacation from everything…  (yes, I had to work for two full months knowing I was being sacked: good times). A successful day included yoga class, sauna time, a trip to the library and languorous reading time with maybe a bit of writing thrown in… and a month passed me by in a moment. Whoops. Clearly it is time to get serious and start querying and coaxing the ideas from my head onto the page.

I would love to have you along on my journey. I hope that my experiences, book reviews, and commentary on the process will be helpful for writers, entertaining for readers, and interesting for anyone trying to take (or thinking of taking) the leap from a day job to self-employment.

Thanks for stopping by.



Filed under Journalism, Unemployment