For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been on furlough since the UK lockdown started in March, and this week I found out I’m going back to work.
My life is a bit backwards – I consider my writing to be my career, and my gym job is a hobby which pays my bills.
And oh, how I’ve missed my hobby. Working out from home is great if you have the motivation, which I sometimes lack – for example, I planned to work out this morning, and instead I’m writing about it…
The one teeny, tiny downside is I’ll have to fit my writing around work again rather than fitting the rest of my life around writing. In a year when I published a book, had another accepted, and was working on a third, having the time to focus solely on my writing has been an interesting experiment. I’ve always wondered if I’d cope with writing full time, or if I’d become isolated and withdrawn. And the answer is that I’ll probably be okay.
As long as there aren’t any global pandemic restrictions in place!
Here are a couple of strategies that I’m hoping will help me as I stumble back into what I used to call normal. Hopefully it will help you too.
- Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve each day – it might be a new chapter, rewriting an old one, checking for 5 overused words (from your list of 28), cleaning out the fridge, going for coffee with a friend
- Take some time to get used to it. Back when you went on furlough or started working from home, there was a period of adjustment, and there needs to be again. If you need to watch TV because work has exhausted you, do it. You’ll get used to it soon, I promise
- Make sure you eat and drink enough. I’ve got used to grazing, and drinking multiple mugs of tea throughout the day. At work, I need to be more structured, which means I might have to prepare larger snacks
- If you miss a goal, don’t worry, just add it to tomorrow’s to-do list
- Enjoy your travel to and from work. I’m lucky – I’m within walking distance, and on a sunny winter afternoon, it’s very pleasant. I try to look around and breathe deeply and say hello to the people I pass in the street (obviously, in a socially-distanced, standing in the road kind of way)
- Don’t write off those small chunks of time you might have – lunch hour, waiting for a train etc. I may have to do some split shifts, with three or four hour gaps in my day. I’m guilty of thinking there’s no point starting anything now because… when actually I could be very productive.
I think that’s enough advice. After all, the whole world seems to have gone back to work long before now. I’m simply writing a whole blog post just for me!
Do you have any other tips for me to try?
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24 thoughts on “BACK TO WORK!!!!”
So pleased for you … it pays the bills – so a necessity. It’s discipline isn’t it … take the opportunity to do what you can … notes, or recording thoughts … reading a chapter of a book, you need to read. All the best though … it will take time to adjust … go well! Hilary
Thank Hilary. I’m currently working out what urgent writing things need to be done this week. I’m close to needing another read-through, so that’s a job which will fit in nicely between shifts 🙂
The reminder about not wasting small chunks of time is so true. I catch myself saying something similar to what you mentioned, about how it’s not worth starting whatever it is now. 🙂
Hope everything goes well!
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Thanks Madeline. I’m glad it’s not just me who wastes time. I don’t know why I do it – I always realise what I’ve done afterwards!
I’m just the opposite – I’ve stopped my weekly classes and now will focus more on my writing (I’m working on poetry again after a long spell – and my book of course). And teaching yoga will be a lesser focus – workshops and special classes. You are right – you need to plan things out. I’m happy for you to be let out of the house and get back to your “fun” job. I don’t have trouble being home and introverted by writing, but I do need some social engagement and I miss that at the studio.
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Good to know you’re still working on your book, Melissa. I never realised you were a poet too. I hope you enjoy the extra time.
I’m getting a lot more outgoing as I get older. I could have easily spent my 20s hiding away from everyone – luckily I got married and had kids which saved me from being a total recluse.
Glad you’re back to work. Sounds like you have some creative ways to get a little writing in around it.
I did it before, so I know I can do it again. It’s a bit daunting though – I hope I can remember what to do at work!
That’s exactly the same question I hope to ask myself one day. Will I actually get some real writing done if I ever get the chance to not work full-time? Or will I discover there’s actually nothing there?!
Congrats on your question being answered in the positive!
And welcome back to school!
It has been a useful experiment. I always wondered if I’d just turn lazy and do nothing at all. But the ideas are flowing! I’m sure it’ll be the same for you, Stacey.
Good luck with the adjustments and settling into a new routine. It sounds like you have a plan to still be able to write as much as you can.
Thanks Suzanne. I’ve got the next novel to finalise, a new one that’s half done, and yesterday I was researching for the one after that, so I’ve got plenty to keep me going.
You must be used to this kind of upheaval though, moving from term time to holiday and back.
Great tips! I especially like the one about not worrying when you don’t meet a goal and adding to to your next to-do list.
Wishing you all the best!
Thanks Chrys! Yes, I like that one too – it saves getting stressed, and just writing things down mean you’re thinking about them, so they get done eventually.
Great strategies. You are absolutely right about taking advantage of small blocks of writing time.
Enjoy getting back to your hobby:)
Thank you! I just need to take my own advice now… 😉
Glad you’re back to work, even though us writers should get to write full time forever. 🙂
That would be nice. But having to work now will make me appreciate being able to give it up some time in the future. I’m already developing plans 😉
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Sounds like you have some good coping strategies to move forward with. I’d add in that you might need a break sometimes, even if it means moving a goal to the next day. If you’re back to writing and working at the same time, you need to have you time, too.
Ah, yes, that’s a great point. I’m bad at me-time at the moment, it’ll only get worse.
Excellent tips. I could walk to work (or my bill-paying hobby, LOL). I would just need to have myself ready twenty minutes sooner. And I have been making better lists of things little things I could get done in a few minutes rather than all or nothing thinking of task completion.
When life changes, you have to adapt. Especially when it includes something you love, like writing. Lists are awesome. That 20 minute walk sounds like it could be perfect on nice days 🙂
Mostly I do a lot of stuff from home, but it’s also an excuse to not be as active as I’m supposed to be(lol) Very cool that you’re a gym instructor. I used to work in one as a receptionist/greeter/person you pay your bill to, and it was fun. Some people loved my quirkiness at 5am, and others just wanted to slap me.(lol) Happy Writing and sending big hugs, RO
Well done for being anywhere near quirky at 5am. I’m a part timer, and the earliest my shifts start are 8am. I can just about manage to be coherent 🙂
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