Guest Post: Cut the Cord, Writers!

by Meryl Evans | Category: Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 6 comments
Writing ball keyboard
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Writers tend to be  an insular lot. Let’s face it, we work on our own, stuck in our own headspace, most of the time. We sit in front of our computer, or if we’re particularly old school, typewriter, and venture nary a toe into the outside world. (Sometimes all day, sometimes all week!) As a result, we also tend to rank pretty high on the pasty scale (oh, sunshine, how we miss your warm embrace and supply of vitamin D).

Most of us choose to work from home because we think it will give us freedom to lunch with friends, go grocery shopping early, hit daytime classes at the gym and so on. But how many of us do these things? If you’re like me,that would be zero. I find that writing from home has only allowed me the freedom to shower (much) later than I used to. I now sit in front of my computer all day long, waiting for the next job to come in. I even got a laptop so I could work outdoors, but I never do. So what’s the problem?

Thou Shalt Be Creative… NOW

As writers, we are, by necessity, creative. In fact, we often need to be creative on command. This grows tough over time. After all, we don’t often inspire ourselves. The things that make us creative usually come from an outside source and if you’re stuck playing the me-and-my-computer game, you are going to hit the limits of your ingenuity. You may counter, as I have, that you can get all the outside help you need on the internet, but it’s not true. Writers need to get out of the house, not only to improve the quality of their work, but to improve the quality of their lives.

For one, you can only focus on a task for so long before you need to reboot your brain with a break. The brain suffers from energy drain just like a battery. Sitting in front of a computer for hours leads to work that is boring, repetitive and sloppy. I know, I’ve done it. And it’s usually followed by a request for a rewrite.  A simple grabbing coffee (or insert beverage of choice) with a friend or reading the paper in the park rejuvenates your mental facilities and ready to work again.

Humanity Demands Social Interactions

Besides that, we are social creatures. Even the most introspective people crave human contact and interaction, so don’t let yourself fall into a funk and neglect your social yearnings. Join a class or make ongoing dates to meet with friends, and do not cancel! Look at the time away as your reward for hard work and make every effort to enjoy it to the fullest. Freedom is the best reason to work from home, so take advantage of it. Do you know how many people would love to set their own schedule instead of feeling caged like a cubicle-monkey?

As a freelance writer, you have the flexibility to develop an active social life, so don’t let yourself become isolated. It not only affects your work, but also it has a negative impact on your mental and physical health (not to mention your relationships). Creativity demands a variety of sensory input, so leave the old ball and chain (and keyboard) at home and take a zumba class at the gym, meet your friends for lunch or go see that awful movie that you can’t get anyone to go see (et tu, MacGruber?).

Your work (and your well-being) depends on it!

About the guest author: Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Colleges who gives advice on the pursuit of higher education and living a healthy life. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

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  • Posted by George Angus on June 4th, 2010, 12:46 AM

    Hehe. Alexis, you and I are cut from the same cloth. Working from home has been just that – working from home. Now I can get up at 6am and start working right away instead of having those pesky donuts and coffee whilst discussing the latest Seinfeld episode. Uh oh. dating myself.

    I got a laptop too. Visions of coffee house blog posting and being part of the cool crowd. Trips to the lakes or the mountains to feed my muse. Yeah, right. The laptop never leaves the desk.

    Great advice here and I’ll do my best to take it to heart.


    .-= George Angus’s blog …Is Your Passionate Writing Fueled By Anger Or Inspiration? =-.

  • Posted by Davina on June 5th, 2010, 11:06 PM

    Hi Meryl & Alexis.
    Lol, I felt like I had written this because it is exactly what I’m facing in my own life. I couldn’t agree more about your advice to get out. Just this morning in fact, I decided to have my morning coffee out at a nearby coffee shop. I read a book over coffee and found myself flooded with inspiration. Just something as simple as having coffee out can make all the difference.

  • Posted by Meryl K Evans on June 6th, 2010, 8:33 AM

    @George, I’ll never be able to work with a laptop outside — I can’t make it work as it’s harder to see the screen.

    @Davina, good for you! I get out a bit, but mostly to volunteer and exercise… not so much socially except for the occasional weekday mah jongg game.
    .-= Meryl K Evans’s blog …Catch of the Week: Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases =-.

  • Posted by Lisa on June 8th, 2010, 8:24 PM

    I could not agree more–especially about being asked to do a rewrite. Even in cubicle land you can isolate yourself for hours. A quick walk around the block can do wonders and unlock the muse.

  • Posted by Meryl K Evans on June 9th, 2010, 6:35 AM

    @Lisa, I read a great tip — every two hours, go walk for 15 minutes. Do that and you’ll get at least one hour’s worth of walking for the day!
    .-= Meryl K Evans’s blog …Catch of the Week: The Spirit of Wandering: The Legend =-.

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