And Chaos Ensues (OR: 4 Reasons Not To Quit The Day Job)

safe_imageFor the past nine — OMG! Has it been THAT LONG? — years now, I’ve worked mostly from home in my pajamas, writing commentary on How to Get Away With Murder, interviewing Paul Wesley (Stefan on The Vampire Diaries, for the uninitiated) and the Pretty Little Liars peeps, working on fiction and CAKE stuff.

Jealous yet? You should be. No, no, no, what I MEANT to say there was, don’t be. Because some days, working from home feels like the worst of both worlds. Yes, the worst. Yes, for real. No, I’m not joking.

Don’t believe me? Here’s why!

1. Distractions abound. And I’m not just talking about that House Hunters marathon. I mean like actual stuff that Should Get Done. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Cooking Up a Storm for an Elaborate Lunchtime Feast. That To Be Read pile. Freelance this or that. Things I wish I could let slide, but that suddenly seem way more appealing when I’m supposed to be knocking out that next chapter or revising those last 50 pages. Sigh. And I, by no means, am a neatnik. Quite the opposite, actually.

2. Office? What Office? Right now, despite having my lovely dark wood desk and peacock blue velvet desk chair tucked in the corner of the living room, I’m cuddled on the couch under a blanket. My desk is covered in piles of paper, and the floor has leftover craftiness on it, along with a stack (or more like a drift, really) of Navdeep’s unfinished grading. And then there are a gazillion toys, thanks to the baby’s new I-Am-Mobile phase. And this, folks, is my office. I long for the days when I’ll be able to have my own dedicated space, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anytime soon. And sometimes, yes, I escape to the coffee shop. But that’s a pricey habit to have.

3. Lazy bones. As Navdeep will grumpily tell you, there are days when I don’t leave the sofa for like eight hours (except to go cook up a storm in the kitchen or try to tackle the laundry monster). Except for kidcare pick up and drop-off, my days can get very sedentary. And while my upcoming Yoga Plan will hopefully remedy that, I know this is a problem writers frequently face.

4. I’m never off the clock. When your home is your office, the laptop beckons at all hours — oh, I’ll just do twenty minutes right now. Or I can do a couple hours after the kids are down. This, as my fellow Debs know, is what I call my Second Shift. But it’s really just one big 24-hour shift. What it boils down to is this: I just can’t shut my brain off. Alas. As much as I used to complain about those 12 hour office days, at least when I was home I could completely tune it all out. But living the writing life, you’re never quite finished.

All that said, would I go back to the day job? HELL NO. I’ve worked long and hard to be able to sit here making up stories in my PJs. And while fiction doesn’t quite make a major dent in the rent just yet, one day soon, I’ll get there. And I can’t wait.

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An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.

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This article has 4 Comments

  1. This.Is.Me.Too 🙂 Except that I don’t get to interview TVD stars…but I wish I did! It’s one of the shows I have on while I write…I like the background noise & have a thing for good-looking vampires and teen dramas 😉

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