12 Things Only Work-From-Home Writers Understand

by Rachel Kolman

Let's be real: being a full-time writer can be a lonely gig. It's a lot of long hours staring at a screen and spending more time inside your own head than a therapist would. Writing is a completely individual creative endeavor, where you can be lost in your own little world for hours. And for those that are lucky enough to pay their bills with writing, your "typical" work day is anything but normal. You start at weird hours and might work for 12 hours one day and for two the next. Plus, the lack of coworkers can make you a little stir-crazy. (I suggest a cat. She's great for inspiring new ideas, like that mid-afternoon nap you two took. Brilliant.)

Don't get me wrong, wannabe work-from-home writers: it's lovely to create your own schedule (plus, working from home tends to increase productivity), to not have to count down the hours left in your workday, and to be paid for your ability to write down words and thoughts. But your days can get a little... strange. These 12 things below will show you what I mean:

Your most brilliant work is often at 2 a.m.

What is a normal sleep schedule or regular routine when you're a writer? All you know is whatever you are writing down in the middle of the night is genius.

Instant gratification is your biggest enemy

You can't start any real work until you check all those tabs you have open first and watch what's on last night's DVR. Then you can focus. At least, till it's time to break for a snack.

Knowing you should put on "real clothes" at some point... but staying in PJs instead

Sure, studies have shown that how you dress indicates how you work. And that if you stay in lounge clothes all day, your brain will be in relax mode. Studies have also shown that those fleece pants you got for Christmas feel amazing on your legs. Yep, I did that study, all last week. And still got work done. Boom.

Going outside for the first time all day can be disorienting

Was the sun always this bright? Why are the birds so loud? And it smells like trash. I'll just be slowly heading back inside now...

Sending a dozen emails sometimes feels like a pretty good day

You emailed both your editor and agent. You sent out a few pitches. You answered a few flagged emails. It's not really "writing," but it's productivity. Time for frozen yogurt and trash TV!

That one really good week when you got up at 6 a.m. and wrote for an hour every morning

This feels great! I've gotten so much done! I was actually able to stop by 2 p.m. and write a chapter to my novel! This is the life!

And then the next week when you woke up at noon everyday

Welp, today is practically over. Might as well start again tomorrow.

No, I can’t do the dishes, laundry, or run errands right now

You’re in the middle of a quiet, productive writing groove and your roommate/partner/whoever pops their head in your door to have a serious talk about the bills. Or to complain about the neighbors. Sigh. And you were doing so well.

Being on a first-name basis with your delivery man

Greg keeps the pizza coming, and he is a god.

Staring off into space for indeterminate amounts of time

The total "zone out" happens much too often. I've stared more at a painting of a black dog on my wall than tourists have at the Mona Lisa.

Trashing a whole day's work in one minute

Just get it away from my face. I don't wan't to be associated with this.

Yes, you have a real job, old ladies eyeing you at the grocery store at 11 a.m.

You're not just a lazy twentysomething (well, most of the time). You can be successful without agreeing to the 9-5 corporate lifestyle.

Images: Olivia Muenter/Instagram; Tim Urban/WaitButWhy; Chapendra, Mish Mish, Oliver Quinian Jessica Walkins/Flickr; Giphy(8)