Cynthia Swanson stopping by today to talk about....."Working at Home (with an Emphasis on “Work”)." Her latest book, The Glass Forest, releases today - and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!
"Ah, the work-at-home life – a dream come true. No scrounging in the closet for a clean, professional outfit. No rushing into a meeting late because of traffic. No office politics or windowless cubicles. People who work at home shuffle to their home offices first thing in the morning and sit for eight hours, quietly and blissfully working away. Right? Riiiight.
As a work-at-home writer with a second novel, The Glass Forest, coming out on February 6th, I can attest some of that is true. The commute from kitchen to home office is awesome. My office mates are of the fur variety, so office politics are nonexistent, as long as I don’t complain about them snoring on the rug at my feet. My office window looks out on our backyard garden – inspiring even in the winter as I think about the blooms come spring. I prefer donning real-but-comfortable clothes daily; it’s not pajamas but it’s not a stiff suit, either.
But “quietly and blissfully for eight hours”? That’s a challenge. Piles of laundry, proximity to the kitchen and its array of to-be-done tasks, people stopping by – all of these get in the way of a productive day’s work. Not to mention the enticement of social media without fear of a boss looking over your shoulder.
So how do you stay focused in a home office? Here’s what works for me:
Sticking to a schedule. When I’m working on a book – whether first draft or revisions – my goal is to write and edit in the morning, and concentrate on emails, promotion, and engagement with my readers in the afternoon. This is the ideal, and I’ll admit it doesn’t always work out – but it’s what I strive for, and I’m happiest and most productive when it works out this way.
A daily to-do list. I wouldn’t be able to function without it. I consciously make my tasks very small, because there is nothing like the satisfaction of crossing something off your list. (Chapter 3 revisions – done!)
Lunchtime rewards. I meet friends or colleagues for lunch whenever I can. Looking forward to these moments outside the home office helps me stay motivated. Along those same lines…
Working at my “other office” (AKA the coffee shop). A different environment gives me fresh perspective on my work, and even causes me to look forward to the next day back home.
These are the tricks that keep this work-at-home gig moving forward for me. Plus, the view out the window is too good, and the co-workers too lovable, for me to want anything else. "
Cynthia Swanson is the NYT bestselling author of The Bookseller: A Novel, which is soon to be a movie starring Julia Roberts. Her second novel, a literary thriller titled The Glass Forest, releases on February 6, 2018. Cynthia lives in Denver, CO with her husband, children, and “co-workers.” Find her at her website, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.
And if you'd like to read Cynthia's new book, The Glass Forest, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a copy courtesy of Touchstone Books. Here's an excerpt of The Glass Forest. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Feb. 17/18.