When you don't have somebody else's clock to punch, it's important to carve out a routine and do your best to stick to it. Getting up at a timely hour--whatever that means for you. If you're the most creative at night, it makes sense to work late and get up later in the day. If you're like me and typically better first thing in the morning, it's better to get to bed earlier than I did last night... although I still managed to get up around 7:30 this morning, so I'm not doing too badly.
Don't tell my husband this, but I actually prefer getting up closer to 6. I am *not* a morning person, I swear, but when I'm out of bed much later than 8, before I realize it the morning is gone and I haven't gotten anything written. Blog entries don't count ;-)
Goals are important, but they have to be the right combination of challenging and realistic. My goal, for fiction, not the ghost book, is 15,000 words a week. Yes, that's a big goal. But I know how fast I type. My goal is also for an average 50 hour week, because I know that 40 of those need to be spent writing/editing, and the other ten will be divided between various kinds of marketing. Yes, that's a long week. But I want to write 15,000 words ;-)
That also means sticking to a routine. For me, that includes actually getting dressed to come to work. I don't know about anybody else, but I feel more like I'm "at work" when I'm not in my pyjamas and bathrobe.
It is generally advised that those of us who work from home have some sort of office space--and that we keep it neat.
Seriously, I'm going to have my husband help me clean up in here next weekend (last weekend, it was more important to me that he tackle the yard). My office started out as neat (ish), but four conventions later and stuff has gotten piled up again.
It is also generally advised that creative types try to streamline our lives as much as possible. For me, that means concentrating on writing, as the new website layout demonstrates. I know it means more cats to keep happy (see about two blog entries down if you don't understand that), but I'll be working on putting up a site just for my esoteric work later--and updating my art site as well as the Ghosthunting site. (The latter at least I can call part of "business").
Oh and getting a website together for my YA book, which is part of the plan for this coming year.
Having a plan. If anyone is seriously considering giving up their day job (or in my case giving up the search for a day job), you need a plan. I suppose that goes back to setting goals. I set my word and hour goals around the goals my publisher helped me work out for when she wants to see which titles--because yes, I have a full calendar's worth of Works in Progress that have estimated completion dates attached to them. Talk about motivation!
When you're working from home, you need to figure out what will motivate you, and it's going to be different for everyone. For me, it's having someone to answer to, whether that be a writing buddy or (yikes), the lady sells my books.
And one of the most important...no, I'm going to pull a Monty Python on you. TWO of the most important things are:
- Before you start any of this, you have to take an honest look at your finances and assess the reality of it. If you have to make X amount in order to continue living in your home, but your writing or art or music or whatnot won't bring in enough, you have some tough choices on your hands.
- This one is even harder. Not everyone in your life is going to be supportive of your creative dreams. There are all kinds of reasons for that, but when it comes down to it the reasons aren't what matter. What matters is that you don't need negativity--you need it even less when you're pursuing creative dreams. And that means even tougher decisions than the ones you'll have to make about finances. Letting go is never easy, but it's always necessary. You need to surround yourself with people who believe in you as much as you do!