Writers’ Tips If You’re Working From Home

In the Guardian Weekly, author Brigid Delaney offers tips for writers working from home:

If there is one cohort uniquely prepared for both working from home and going into isolation–it is writers.

Writers with book deadlines or a passion project that must be written now usually have to go into lockdown to get the damn thing finished.

Do the hard things first

You may be at the mercy of others with your schedule–particularly if you work in a team, but if you can work independently–seize the day early.

Have a routine and stick to it

You’ll need to lock in a routine fairly quickly and stick to it if you want to be productive working from home.

Writers in full throttle will have a schedule that wouldn’t look out of place in the military. They get up at the same time each day, have a word count goal, a time when they put down their pens, a time set aside for exercise, a time when they start drinking and–for today’s writers–a discipline around using the internet and social media.

Even interaction can be scheduled. As Graham Greene wrote in the End of the Affair, “When I was young not even a love affair would alter my schedule. A love affair had to begin after lunch.”

Make sure you plan ahead. When I’m writing, the night before I will write a to-do list, so when I wake the next day (always at the same time each day, and starting work straight away) I have a sense of what needs to be done. I methodically work through the list and tick off tasks throughout the day. By the end of the day, even though I have just been a blob sitting in a chair, I feel a sense of achievement. . . .

The internet is your enemy

Social distancing would be a lot harder without the internet. As I write, it’s day 10 of my social isolation and I’ve been in more contact with more friends, in more parts of the world, than the entire rest of this year combined. With no coworkers to look over your shoulder and judge you for checking Facebook, texting, and having long phone chats, you’ll have to be self-disciplined about not spending all day on FaceTime in your pyjamas.

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