Yesterday, a fellow blogger commented on a picture of my lunch, which I posted on my blog’s Facebook page. It was a lovely, summery, vegetarian lunch of sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper; seared zucchini slices with sauteed garlic; and roasted sweet corn. “OMG. That looks delicious,” she said. “How do you do that all the time everyday?”
My response was that I don’t really do it all the time, everyday. But then I had to stop myself. I do it a lot. And really, the only way I do it is because I work from home. It’s a sweet deal, except for when it’s not.
I should say, up front, I prefer working from home. I used to work in an office, doing the 9-5 gig, and it just didn’t work for me. I like having my flexible schedule, doing lunch when I want, eating from my kitchen, and having the freedom to run errands during the weekday instead of saving them for the weekends. It’s nice that my work clothes are often either pajamas or jeans and a t-shirt. It’s helpful when I get sick that I can still work.
But on the flip side, working from home is difficult. Particularly the work I’m trying to do more of: writing. I’m very fortunate that, as an adjunct instructor, I’ve got time I can play with, and if I do it right, I can squeeze out a little writing time. And for the remainder of the summer, I’ll get to do just that – write.
And this is where the working from home becomes complicated. The garden needs my attention. I need to eat lunch (not just a sandwich; let’s cook!). I need to get my hair cut, oil changed, groceries, etc. Little tasks have a way of taking over the day so that I get completely distracted.
Or, worse, I just stare. I sit at my desk and stare. Out the window. At the cat. A lot of the time, I just get bored and start photographing the cat. What does my Instagram say about me? I eat a lot, and I stare at the cat a lot. Occasionally I go outside where there are plants. Mostly though, it’s food.
I became very frantic a few days ago and tried to figure out how best to use my blog. How to make it viral. How to get more than 50 fans on my Facebook page. And the more I thought and brainstormed, the longer my list of new projects became until I had to stop myself with one question: do I want to be a professional blogger, or do I want to be a professional writer of books?
Books. Any day. Yes.
So I put my list away. No videos or podcasts. No intricate photography projects. Writing. Focus.
Since my summer class just ended, and my mom just visited, I’m giving myself a break. I also am moving out of my apartment in the next month, so that’s a distraction. But my goal with the next two months is to make them count. Get words on pages. Read them. Rewrite them. Send them to magazines. Wait for rejection letters. Hope just a little that rejection letters don’t come. Don’t despair when they do. Repeat.
And my blog: it’s that easier part of writing. That (almost) daily check-in as a writer, that chance to let my hair down and breathe a little easier, connecting with people about food and what it means to walk around on this planet together. It is never meant to take away from the larger project of writing a book. And I can’t let it be. I will sit, and stare out the window, or at the cat, but I will also write. I’m promising this to myself.
And in the meantime, I will focus on simpler lunches, on tending the plants in the evening or the very early morning, and on taking fewer photos of the cat.