“You can do that, after all you stay home all day.”
“Oh come on, you’ve got nothing better to do.”
And my favorite. “It’s not like you have a real job.”
So what’s a writer to do?
First, take a deep breath and realize this problem isn’t unique to writers. It happens to everyone who works from home—I should know—my husband and I have shared a home office for the past eleven years. For some people an office isn’t an office if it isn’t off site. Not logical, but an all too common misconception. I’ve fought this battle—sometimes more successfully than others—and these are the strategies I’ve come up with.
- Make certain you’re setting the example you want followed. By that I mean keep regular hours. Notice I said regular hours—not to be confused with normal ones. For years I wrote with young children in the house. That meant writing in the afternoons and after they were in bed. Just because you’re working odd hours doesn’t mean you can’t have a schedule.
- Treat what you’re doing like you’re serious. If you blow off writing for shopping and lunch several times a week your friends and family won’t understand if you don’t stop for them.
- Be consistent. If you’re not accepting calls from your mother-in-law because you’re working, don’t spend the afternoon on the phone with your best friend. Stay focused on your writing. This is even more critical if your time is at a premium.
- Recruit a support team. Instead of adversaries, enlist your friends and family to help you reach your writing goals. Communicate those goals, clearly and frequently. Ask for their help to reach them. After all, what mother doesn’t want to help her baby succeed!
- Share your victories. Let those who love you share in the joy of goals accomplished and milestones reached.