Working (mostly) from home, doing something I love, is a gift; right now, I wouldn’t change it for anything. That word ‘home’, though, should be interpreted as ‘anywhere I can sit with a Kindle or a laptop or a notebook’, and in July, it’s included: trains, planes, a boat, several different towns in a couple of different countries, and a yurt.
The flipside, of course, is that nobody ever, ever believes I’m working. ‘What do you do all day?’ they ask. Or, ‘When are you going to get a proper job?’ The really annoying summer version, once the 6 year old finishes school, is: ‘Aren’t you lucky to get the whole summer off.’ I would be, yes, but when I take summer days off, I work long into the summer nights to compensate. Being able to be that flexible is the lucky aspect.
I do concede it often doesn’t look as if I’m working. Six years ago I learned it is absolutely possible simultaneously to balance both a sleeping baby and a computer on your knee. These days, there’s no difficulty in playing Minions Monopoly and devising a ten week novel-writing programme at the same time. It’s a breeze to take a phone call from an author whilst you’re on the kitchen floor overseeing two small boys make a magic potion. And writing a blog post, supervising a Christmas list (yep, in July) and carrying on a conversation with one of those people who doesn’t believe you’re working, is a fun and creative way to multi-task.
At this point, I would like to add a note to any of ‘my’ authors and other students who are reading this – yes, you certainly do get my undivided attention at all times. No question. I promise…! In fact, this is one of the benefits of a bespoke service catering for only a handful of clients at a time; everyone is doing something so different in such a unique way, that it’s impossible to muddle you up, even when – of six of you – three share one first name and two another. (And no, I’m not using poetic licence – you know who you are!)
So, what exactly is the purpose of this post? Quite simply, it’s a public declaration. A defence. An indication that appearances can be deceptive and I am working. But it’s also a reminder to myself that I don’t have to work every hour of every day either…
And as such it’s dedicated to all the other freelancers out there who work from home (and especially, in summer, those who are also parents) and feel my pain.
Meantime, I’m off to sit with my feet up, a cracking novel and a digital red pen in front of me, and I’ll call it work. How lucky am I?