Fate of the Office-Less Author

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I’ve mentioned many times that I lack an office space and how I’m envious of authors that can escape to a refuge.  Well, the winter and summer seasons really drive this home.  A snow day means no work and summer break results in the same thing.  This coming summer will be the first one where my son doesn’t have a school program.  So I’m going to see how editing only goes, which means I want to write two more first drafts (Books 10 & 11) before that time comes.

Now I’ve wondered if I’ll ever get a room to call my own.  I know what I’d have there too.  My exercise bike, a TV with DVD player, my laptop, a comfy chair, the desk, maybe a fish tank, a mini-fridge with seltzer and yogurt, and a lock on the door.  I wouldn’t have a library because my wife and I share the books.  Yet, the following conversation really makes me think this will never come to pass:

Me–  One day I’ll have an office.  Just a spot I can work in without fearing a disturbance.  No phones beyond my cellphone too.

Wife–  And a spot in the corner for my scrapbooking stuff.

Me–  No.  What part of ‘my office’ did you miss?

Wife–  Then I get a scrapbooking room.

Me–  You have the basement, part of our room, and part of the dining room.  I’ve nearly hole-punched my foot on several occasions.

Wife–  I want a room.

Me–  *looks around bedroom*  I think you’re covered.

Yeah.  I know this goes into the personal realm here, but this has been weighing heavily on my mind.  Also, she technically won that debate since I use the bedroom as an office and she has scrapbooking stuff on the floor.  Many people don’t realize what they can do to support or take the edge off the author in their family.  To the same extent, there seems to be an inability to figure this out for stay-at-home parents.  So I’m going to touch on those two areas this week with some fun lists.  For today I ask the question:

As an author/artist/overworked person, what do you really want from the people around you?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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71 Responses to Fate of the Office-Less Author

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    A. Silence, coffee and inspiration.

    …and occasionally someone to say, ‘enough’ and drag me out into the fresh air.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sknicholls says:

    I totally agree with Sue. My husband and I share office space. His computer is in one corner and mine in the other, but our chairs are nearly side-by-side. I’m okay with that until he sits down to watch You Tube videos and keeps asking me to watch this or that. Such distractions. I bought him a pair of headphones so he could listen without disturbing me, but he didn’t take the full hint.

    Like

  3. quiall says:

    I want the people around me to not be there! Not every day, just 2-3 days a week.

    Like

  4. eclecticalli says:

    I shared an office for a while with my roommate, and it only workes because he’s also a writer who needs quiet and his own space. Now I live in the equivalant of a (small) studio, so my “office” is the corner my desk is in. The nice part being I have no roommates to disrupte me 🙂

    Like

    • Lucky. I don’t think I’ve had my own room or space since senior year of high school. I’ve always had a roommate or shared the room with somebody.

      Liked by 1 person

      • eclecticalli says:

        The trade off… to having this room to myself… is that the “studio” is an addition built onto my mothers house. Yup.. mid-30’s and essentially living in my mom’s garage.
        But, it’s probably the nicest room I’ll ever live in 🙂

        Like

      • Mid-30’s, married with kid, and we live in the same house as my parents. Still trying to recover after a bad event.

        Liked by 1 person

      • eclecticalli says:

        It’s actually kind of nice to have more and more people living with their parents — so many different reasons, but it’s kind of a cool way to have more extended family community.
        But, I’ve got no spouse, and no kids… I love that I have the space and time for myself to write, but think being married and having kids would be a pretty worthwhile trade-off.

        Like

      • It’s becoming more common today. Multi-generation houses definitely help in some areas, but it’d be nice to have our own place.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. suecoletta says:

    Silence! When my husband is home I get, “So, whatcha doin’?” My dogs set a paw on my knee with the face, “I’m bored. Come play with me.” Sometimes I want to rip my hair out. But– even my husband agrees that I need an office. He has a workshop in the garage, so he’s happy. I need my own writing space. I feel for you. I really do.

    Like

  6. 1WriteWay says:

    I have yet to formally ask my husband to not interrupt me when I’m in my room working. Yes, I do have a room of my own. But when you’re home, people think you’re available for anything just because you’re physically there. Still, I’m lucky that my husband is usually too busy with his own stuff to interrupt me much.

    Like

    • Good point on what people think when you’re home. I wonder if other home-based careers get the same treatment that artists do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1WriteWay says:

        I think so. Over the years I’ve heard people with home-based businesses complain that their biggest problem is getting their family and friends to recognize that they need to work regular hours. Just because they are working at home doesn’t mean they’re free to drop everything to talk for an hour on the phone or go shopping. Seems like our society has been conditioned to only take home-based businesses seriously when the business is located outside the home 😉

        Like

      • That explains things perfectly. Maybe it stems from the idea that we have to keep home and work separate. So when it isn’t as clear a boundary, people get confused or don’t realize the difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1WriteWay says:

        And it’s even harder when you are your own boss, setting your deadlines. Then people think you should be flexible for them, even though you have just as much a need to meet your deadline as you would if you had a boss.

        Like

      • I always wondered about that mentality. It makes a lot of sense and makes me wonder if I’ve done it to others.

        Like

      • 1WriteWay says:

        I be guilty 😉

        Like

  7. Olivia Stocum says:

    Respect would be great, and for people to realize that I have more going on in my head than what color eye-shadow to wear tomorrow.

    Like

  8. SleepyDragon1320 says:

    I find myself craving time alone just to write without having to attend to this and that. Not exactly possible with my family.

    Like

  9. As both the stay-at-home parent and the writer in the family, I have to say some understanding and support from the other side really goes a long way. It took him a few years to understand that, and he is doing much better than he used to. What would REALLY help, is if he would take the kids for a few hours every weekend so that my writing could be uninterrupted for a brief period out of every week. Unfortunately, his job has gotten extremely hectic in the past year, and I have to be understanding and supportive too. So for us, it’s a juggling game, and I appreciate as much emotional and mental support as I can get from him, while knowing that the practical support just isn’t possible right now.

    I do have two desks in the house, but neither is in its own room with a door, let alone a lock. A closed room would be nice, but not possible unless we move to a different house. I guess we’ll see what the future brings!

    Like

  10. All I really want is the freedom to spend the time needed to work. We have no kids at home so this is easy peasy. I do get a list of things needed to de done from a home perspective. I commit to getting these done and the timeframe so all is good.

    Like

  11. Toni Betzner says:

    I’m going to set up a small work place in my bedroom. When my son moves out, my sister and I are going to have a shared office. You might do something like this with your wife in the basement. One corner is yours and one is hers. It might be nice to move all “work” stuff out of the bedroom, unless it’s a very productive spot for you. I could just never get anything done in the same room I sleep. Right now, my bedroom is my only option though.

    Like

  12. You covered my wishes with the photo attached. No phone. No knocking on the front door…no talking. No moving around and no breathing. I need a hut somewhere, I think.

    Like

  13. Wow, this is a tough one, especially if you don’t have much extra space to use for these types of specific purposes. I guess all I really want is support for what I do, I guess that really is all any of us want. I have some extra room that I can use, but nothing with a door, so I guess in some ways I’m in the same boat as you. Good luck with this one, it’s tough.

    Like

  14. Does it count as a private office if I leave the door open so I can keep an ear on the household doings?

    Like

  15. paigeaddams says:

    Lol, this is always a challenge for me. My husband, bless him, does not realize that playing World of Warcraft next to me without headphones is distracting, and drives me absolutely batty. We share a room where I write and he plays, but I don’t think he believes I’m really doing anything other than staring off into space and hitting random keys to look busy. It kills me if I’m in the middle of something dramatic, like a battle or love scene, and then this happens –

    The Hubby: “Soooo… what’s for dinner?”
    Me: “Writing. You pick. Love, love, love in your general direction.”
    The Hubby: “How long do you think you’ll be?”
    Me: “Dunno. I’m in the middle of something, but soon-ish maybe.”
    The Hubby: “Can you come with me?”
    Me: *twitches* “I love your face so much right now, but I’m busy, and I need to stay here until I finish this scene.”
    The Hubby: “But I neeeeeed you to go with me.”

    At this point I realize he’s messing with me on purpose and I plot how best to murder him because I’ve lost momentum in the scene, and now my warrior is sitting cross-legged in a clearing picking daisies and contemplating fluttering butterflies instead of preparing for a bloody battle to the death.

    Lol, I really just need no talking around me, and time. People always decide they want to do something when I sit down to write. Not before or after, but as soon as I sit down or mid-scene. XD

    Like

    • I have music on, but it’s talking directing at me that throws me off. So I totally understand. Though the music at a proper volume can keep some people at bay.

      I applaud your self-control too. My wife chatting away gets 2 warnings and then I do stuff. Confiscate scrapbooking stuff, hog the popcorn, threaten to find a Twilight movie on TV, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ellespeth says:

    Once or twice a week, I’d like an entire day without having to figure out ‘what’s for dinner’ – including not having to take part in preparing it and cleaning up after it. That would give me an entire afternoon and evening for writing.

    I hadn’t really thought about this until you asked. I might see if I could pull this off with maybe left overs on those days. That would make it simple all the way around.

    Ellespeth

    Like

    • I get that a few times. Though it tends to result in dinner finishing later than I’d like, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. It isn’t really an entire day too because I have to attend to the little master of the house.

      Leftover nights are definitely helpful when you’re busy.

      Like

      • Ellespeth says:

        Yes, I wouldn’t get an entire day either. We watch toddlers/infants a few hours each morning. But it would at least be from 1PM till bed. I’d even skip out of formal sit down together supper. It’s a total trade off, actually. Both people, in a relationship, need some alone time during the week. Writers just happen to spend our alone time writing – or hoping to write – the great American anything 😛
        It’s important, too, to enjoy the time not writing…which retirement and part-time toddler care has allowed.
        Ellespeth

        Like

      • Think that’s where butting heads comes in, especially during the weekends. You have the working parent wanting to relax while the stay-at-home parent wants to relax. Sadly, it tends to come down to whoever hits the bathroom last and gives the other enough time to escape the house.

        Like

  17. M T McGuire says:

    I have to be in the right place, mentally, to write and I have trouble writing when I’m grieving or worried. So what the people I love could do for me is stop being ill or getting old, and if my friends could not die quite so often, that would be good too. I have an office but it’s full of toys so I can’t go in there when my son is around as he follows me in and asks for stuff. 🙂

    Cheers

    MTM

    Like

    • Children do seem to claim every space they can find. Sorry about the illness/aging issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • M T McGuire says:

        It’s life. If there weren’t any hard times my books would be the poorer for it. I wouldn’t appreciate the fantastic things I do have, either. It’s all light and shade, texture and smoothness, bitter and sweet. 🙂

        I hope you find your mojo soon.

        Cheers

        MTM

        Like

      • But when do the hard times give it a rest? I know I have some ‘easy’ days, but it always feels like those happen when I’m too exhausted to enjoy them. I guess what I’m wondering is if that’s supposed to be adulthood or somebody is playing a big joke on humanity.

        Like

      • M T McGuire says:

        That’s true. That’s part of the reason I have to take it slowly. Sometimes an hour of writing is all that’s in me. Sometimes I’ll come away from that hour with 2,000 words in the bag, other times I’ll have three hours to write and get 500 words that were like pulling teeth! The important thing is that you keep going. That you achieve an incredible rate of production and that maybe a little reset time is ok.

        Cheers

        MTM

        Like

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