Keeping up with my blog here has been difficult lately, as every good idea I've had for a blog post has turned into an idea for a personal essay or story pitch. And since I'm freelancing now and I don't pay myself for writing here, I haven't been as microfamously prolific as I thought I would be working from home again. I've been getting so much advice lately from people who tell me that the media is dying and I should consider (a) teaching (not small children, not this girl!), (b) pharmaceutical sales rep (I'm an editor, not a salesperson), (c) get my MBA (in this economy, really?), and (d) accountant for tax season (if you really know me, you know I don't balance my own checkbook and the one time I did my own taxes, I got audited). With all of this well-intentioned advice coming in my direction, I thought I'd offer some advice of my own.
My newest family member, Lulu (or Lou), is almost four months old. My advice to anyone with a new puppy: Training works. You don't think it will, the puppy will drive you crazy, you'll start to worry that you're a bad dog mom or that you picked the demented (or demonically possessed one) from the litter, but one day they GET IT. Lou finally gets it. I no longer have to chase her around the house for a half an hour before we go for a walk. I don't have to take her outside at 3, 5, and 6am because she's sleeping through the night. She knows potty is for outside only. And (this was the biggest challenge for me) she comes when I call her.
I like working from home again, but I do miss the camaraderie of working in an office. However, since I have so many formerly media-employed-and-now-freelancing friends, all I have to do is send an email or pick up the phone and I can have coffee or lunch with a "co-worker." And then we talk about how much fun it is to work in our pajamas and how much more productive we are working at home. And here's my advice about working from home: No daytime television. Daytime television is the bane of the work-from-home freelancer and it will suck you into a vortex of vapid chicken chat on the View, daytime soaps you've never heard of before, and back-to-back reruns of Law & Order. Naps are OK, but you have to earn them (they're one of the perks of working from home). My rule is No Television Before 6pm.
I also limit checking Facebook to once a day or every other day, try to limit my time on Twitter (still working on that - it's damn addictive!), and restrain myself from going back to bed once I'm out of it in the morning.
This is a time of flux for a lot of us who work in media, but I'm hopeful. And that leads me to my final bit of advice for now: Don't underestimate the power of your friends and support network. I'm so lucky to have people in my life who believe in me even when I lose my confidence and when I'm astoundingly hard on myself. My friends have offered everything over the past few months from a sympathetic ear to a free printer when mine suddenly went on the fritz. I'm hopeful because I'm part of this "we" instead of being out there on my own.