No, I am not going to talk about taxes. But rather what a home office means for a writer – beyond the Schedule C write-off. A month ago my accountant looked at me and asked, “So how much square footage in your new house encompasses your office?”
Do I answer – my desk area? My filing cabinets, book shelves, living room where I read and read and respond to Hamline student manuscripts and edit my own ? My bed where I read some more? The kitchen where I think about my writing while chopping vegetables? The dining room table where I sometimes drift off during dinner, thinking about some writing problem?
Some days I think it might be better if I had an office away from home. Some of my writer friends have contemplated that over the years. A place where I go to work, so that when I return home, I turn my writing life off. So that I come home and pay bills, talk to my husband, play the piano, take a walk.
The home office is always there – weekends, Christmas morning, the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. It’s especially there when your kids are grown and out of the house and not interrupting you with squabbles and requests for overnights. I know. I know. When the kids are young, there is never enough time. But our kids are in their 20’s and I still think there’s not enough time. There never will be when we’re trying to write well.
Boundaries. Like Sisyphus shoving that rock uphill, I am in a career that takes a giant to shove away the thoughts night and day, about a manuscript, research, a student’s story, a knotty craft aspect.
I know how lucky I am to be able to work in my pajamas, jump on the computer without a commute, eat breakfast after some breakout writing time. Some of you are so frantically busy juggling, that my situation sounds like heaven. I’ve been there. But right now for me, it’s time for some realignment. Time to step back sometimes without leaving home. To return to work the next day fresh and confident. Perhaps no writing on Sundays or after 5 p.m.? How’s your home office working for you?