Friday Speak Out!: At-Home Business or At-Home Disaster?

Friday, August 31, 2018
by Karina Bartow

Working from home has gained popularity in recent years, to the relief of many parents and others with caregiving responsibilities. I have Cerebral Palsy, so my limitations would constrain me from working anywhere else. And some just love the idea of staying in their pajamas. While writing this, in fact, I ran a search on ‘at home businesses’ and found 134 million results.

Thus, I don’t aim to go through the various pros and cons of working from home like many have done before. Rather, I’m here to discuss the challenges I’ve come against and how I try—daily—to overcome them, as a writer in particular.

Anyone can guess that distraction poses a major risk to home workers. I’m spared a lot of the common ones, given I don't have a family or the duties that come with one, but I have my share of unexpected hurtles thrown at me. Though I manage my time well and rarely get sucked into the vortex of binge-watching Netflix, my inclinations to get out of the house are sometimes too powerful to subdue. I’ve never been a homebody, and I enjoy getting my iced mocha and browsing a store or two on a regular basis, even if just for an hour. In other words, I easily contract cabin fever! As I’ve progressed in my career, however, I’ve had to learn self-restraint and treat it with iced mocha from a jug and a brief look at Amazon.

A bigger difficulty when it comes to distractions is those thrust on me by others. My skills in technology and creativity have netted me plenty of odd jobs, which I’ve, in all honesty, enjoyed. Even so, the hours I spend on them take away from my writing time. When on a deadline or behind schedule, I have to postpone side projects.

Telling others to wait is a challenge because I consider myself less occupied than most people. Aside from my handicap and lack of normal responsibilities, I’m just a writer. Unless I’m finishing a novel that’s set to be released soon, every scene or blog I didn’t write today can be completed tomorrow, and how big of an impact can it have?

I didn’t discover I had this mentality until recently, when I was an overwhelmed mess. I realized the one I had to change was me. Because of inexperience, it’s easy for outsiders to see a writer as someone who has lots of free time. But we, authors, know there’s much more involved than turning on classical music, drinking a fancy beverage, and writing a bestseller.

To sum it up, I give you writers a call to action. Remember the worth of your work and the value of your time, and don’t view yourself as just a writer. Distractions in their numerous forms will always abound. Yes, writing can often yield to them, but guess what? They can yield to writing, too!

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Karina Bartow is the author Husband in Hiding, available now, and Forgetting My Way Back to You, which will be released October 15, 2018 by Vinspire Publishing. To learn more, visit
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Karina--Sometimes I think that full-time writers (writers who work from home on a full-time basis) have a tougher time than part-time writers (writers who have a full-time job outside of the home, and write in their "free" time) because--as you said--other people make assumptions about the full-time writer's time. And it has to do with what you put in such a perfect way: nonwriters think that writers only have to sit down with some Vivaldi in the background as they sip some port or some latte and churn out Jodi Picoult or James Patterson-level bestsellers.

Good luck with your new book coming out this fall, and thanks for writing this post.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I agree, working at home--whether writing or other work--is tough and requires a lot of self discipline and scheduling. You said, "it's easy for outsiders to see a writer as someone who has lots of free time." Don't you feel like when you're writing, time goes by super quickly? You're writing and look up and suddenly an hour zoomed by. I feel like writers have less free time because once you're writing a novel, you're completely consumed in the headspace of your characters and plot that there's barely any room for anything else.

Congratulations on your novel and your forthcoming publication with Vinspire! Dawn Carrington is one of our instructors at WOW--she's fantastic. :) Thanks for the post!

Karina Bartow said...

I'm glad you ladies can relate! I completely agree with your thoughts, too. The hours and days do fly by, so our time is precious. We just have to keep calm and write on!

Thank you for your well wishes. All the best to you both!

Margo Dill said...

I work from home with a regular day job (we have no office) and then writing (freelance and a novel) and I'm a single parent. Sometimes, I have to get out of here. :) On those days, I'll go to a coffee shop. I have also been making a commitment to walk my dog every day and we are trying to increase our speed and distance. This is also helping the schedule part. Working from home is so good for my situation,but you are right in that it presents challenges of its own. I think we all have to be good at setting boundaries and schedules and then know ourselves--when we are feeling bogged down or closed in, etc.

Best of luck with your books!

Karina Bartow said...

I'm sure your days are busy, Margo! I'm so glad you've found a schedule that works for you. Thank you for your kind remarks and support. Best wishes to you, too!

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