Many people know of Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own” if they haven’t read it. With so many working at home thanks to COVID-19, I thought I’d share a bit of my experience.
I worked from home as a telecommuter when my kids were young thanks to an innovative program at my company. As a writer, I also worked from home…or at the park, at Great America, at Kid’s Zone, etc. My two boys were always around me, whether in a tummy sack or having the run of the house while I stayed put. They were chaotic times, but it worked for us.
Or did it?
One step in my editing process is to read my stories aloud. This helps me catch awkward cadence, word repeats, and other issues. My eyes might accept the text, but my ears rebel. As I moved into sensual romance and dark fantasy bordering on horror, though, I realized my ears weren’t the only ones listening.
Scroll forward a few years when my oldest, then thirteen, asked to read one of my published stories. I had only two at that point, a first contact story called From the Ashes, and Curve of Her Claw. For the last, my editor tweaked an already dark fantasy over the edge into horror. It’s a great story, and I’m proud of it, but I thought it a bit too heavy for a thirteen-year-old.
This ignores what I was reading at the same age, but parenting does things to your brain. Kids also offer moments to shake you out of your delusions.
His response to my reluctance?
“DUH, Mom. You edited it out loud when I was playing on Dad’s computer right behind you. I’ve already heard that one.”
My kids have been a part of my writing since they were born, whether deliberate in helping me run through plotting stalls or by accident. So, while I eventually secured a room with a door, it’s rarely closed, and my family knows they’re welcome to come in as long as it isn’t. This makes life chaotic, but then I’ve always thrived on chaos, so it works for me.
Do you have any stories about working from home you’d like to share? Let’s help others with chuckles among the cautions.