Friday, June 20, 2008

The Life of a Freelance Writer: Setting Boundaries When You Work From Home

One of the biggest complaints among freelance writers and other freelance businesses is getting others in your life to respect your work hours during the day. I have a friend and a relative that used to think nothing of showing up unannounced at my door. I would tell them I was working, and even try to work while they were visiting to get the message across, but apparently I needed a flashing billboard sign.

I have seen many freelance writers discussing this very issue at writer's forums and on their blogs all over the web. Many of us are frustrated with explaining what we do for a living. What does it take to get those close to us to realize that we are running a business, not just kicking it each afternoon? I don't know about you, but my perpetrators always show up when there is a deadline pending.

It used to bother me that my family thought I was sitting around doing nothing all day. But I realized that in order to maintain the love between us, I needed to stop seeking their approval. So I stopped trying to force them to understand my business, and just firmly let them know when they drop by unexpectedly that I am unavailable since I am in the middle of my work day. The frequency of those visits is dwindling fast. Learning to say "no" to the things that take you off course during your work day is an important right of passage for many writers.


Justin Dupre said...

This job just got a whole lot more difficult for me. I just entered a new relationship, and as young adults will do, she often spends the night at my house. Living in a one-room flat with another person is difficult when managing a freelance career! I've found that I either have to get up early, leave the apartment, or just tell her "I have to do it" in order to get back to work.

I never watch a TV, but I've forgotten it has entertainment power. I think it might be a good idea to buy one to distract guests while they are here. Free cable and movies are always good, as well, I suppose.

Take Care,

Justin Dupre

Avid Writer said...

Yep, Justin, there's no other way to do it really. If you're able to re establish some sort of regular schedule for your writing, it will make it easier for your girlfriend to adjust too. Oh, and TV is the devil! Lol Take care!

Lori said...

Oh my lord - I swear I had no idea you posted this! I echoed your post on Monday because, once again, my curtain climbers were interrupting my work - and the youngest is 19!

Great minds think alike, Kimberly. :))

Avid Writer said...

Lol -Lori I read your post and was laughing because you have college aged kids and I have smaller children (7yr old, 5 yr old twins & 2yr old) and they are reeking havoc on my writing schedule (not to mention my nerves...)right now! But I realize it's not going to get much better as they get older like I'd been hoping, darnit! And house guests too!! Lol I am sending you my most positive thoughts, Lori - You'll survive it all! :)

Justin Dupre said...

TV is the devil... But it is soooooo shiny. Good thing I'm not one for daytime Thai soap operas. They are ridiculous. Problem is solved with headphones and telling my girlfriend that "it is time for work and I'll be back in a few hours for break." Haha. She completely understands which is great.

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