Serenity Now!

What’s on the iPod: I Met Him on a Sunday by Labelle and Laura Nyro

There’s still time to register! The 8 Top Tax Strategies for Freelancers webinar, being held Thursday, November 8th at 3 PM ET, is just $69.95. For that, you’ll get close to $375 worth of goodies, plus a month’s membership in the 5 Buck Forum! Register here.

Thanks to Jenn Mattern for the shout-out for the 5 Buck Forum over on All Freelance Writing. We love having you there, Jenn. You and everyone who participates makes it a lively, supportive place.

Dare I even think I’m catching up with over a month’s worth of work? I’d be giddy at the notion if it weren’t for my recent history of seeing a planned day off turn into a 10-hour marathon. Yesterday was fruitful, albeit full of little interruptions. I had phone calls to make that had nothing to do with work, and that chewed up a bit of time. Then the writers group was coming here, so I had to break down and clean something. I made some dips and ran to the store for chips and veggies, too. Then back to this chair to make some headway on a project.

I had a chance to visit Urban Muse blog and All Freelance Writing. There’s a common theme, one I was just thinking of posting about (I still will, but in fairness to Susan and Jenn, I’ll let you know I’d read their posts, too). It’s where you work with or without an emergency.

Yesterday, my Internet went down for a few hours right about the time I was expecting a rush job from a client. Even the cell phone wasn’t picking anything up. It wasn’t my router — it was Verizon. My daughter’s company was without Internet for that same length of time, and she works about eight miles from here.

So I had a choice — rush out to a coffee shop, library or other WiFi-enabled place, or find something else to do while it was down. I opted to stay home. I had projects that I could finally get a leg up on thanks to no electronic distractions, so I plugged away at them. Then I took a break and made a Thai dipping sauce for the writers group meeting. And took a phone call. And made a few phone calls.

In essence, I avoided free WiFi intentionally. The reasons, which will echo what you’ll see on Susan’s and Jenn’s blogs, are these:

Adapting to the laptop. I love a full-sized keyboard on a keyboard tray with plenty of room to spread out. And I’m used to my keyboard, so any time I have to start using the laptop, it’s like trying to re-learn algebra or speak Italian. I can’t with any ease or grace.

The noise is just too much. When my husband worked from home one day, he kept saying “What was that?” to noises I’m completely oblivious to. That’s me when I’m sucking up the free WiFi at Burger King – they have that television going and I just can’t stop watching even if CNN repeats endlessly the same damn thing. The worst noise ever? The library. I’ve heard quieter train wrecks.

The lack of thought. Panera, can I just tell you that two electric outlets for 15 people trying to use their laptops is not adequate? Maybe you’re trying to tell us to go home, but how about just not offering the free WiFi? It’s like offering a sale on shoes and having only one pair in stock. The same goes for every place that doesn’t consider the needs of the electronic crowd. Oh, and local coffee shop? I love you, but I hate that you have a firewall (or a guy with a firewall on his computer) that knocks me off the Internet every five minutes.

The sore neck/arm/wrist. It’s just not that comfortable sitting in a big, cushy chair or on a well-worn sofa. At first it feels great, but then your leg starts to get numb or your foot falls asleep or you have to shift six times because your neck is straining or your arm is getting sore and your wrist is starting to ache….

The files are at home. I have yet to transition all my files over to my LAN, SkyDrive or Google Drive, so what I need to work on is here. I’m okay with loading it on to a zip drive, but it’s just one minor hassle that has me thinking home is where I should be.

How often do you work away from home?
How do you overcome the free WiFi glitches and roadblocks? 

About the author




  • Devon Ellington October 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    In NY, a lot. Here, it's reasonably quiet and most of the time, the internet is reliable. I use libraries sometimes, and, when I'm working in longhand, I'll write at the beach (off-season) or in the Audubon Sanctuaries, where the only interference I have to worry about is from curious otters.

  • Lori October 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Funny… my daughter is considering the Audubon sanctuary here in town for her wedding venue. Lovely, serene place. Perfect for writing. 🙂

  • Allie October 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I usually prefer working at home, even though I work on a laptop 100% of the time. Every once in a while though, I find myself unable to focus or getting too distracted by things I need to do around the house, and that's usually when I take off to either Starbucks or the library. For some reason, being around other people doesn't distract me, it helps me focus better, so long as they're not being loud. It's all white noise to me.

  • Paula October 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Last night, every other TV ad was for an iPhone, Kindle or some type of touch screen device. Happy people casually swiping their screens in all possible scenarios. That's when I realized: I don't own any touch screen devices.

    I also don't have any wireless things, other than an ancient clam shell cell phone that doesn't even take pictures, and its version of connecting to the internet? Text only.

    No wonder my niece and nephew (8 and 9, respectively) mock me when I need them to walk me through using an iPhone or iPad. (I've never used an MP3 player, either.) I think they think I'm faking, but I'm not.

    So WiFi glitches don't matter to me. My life is a WiFi glitch!

    I haven't traveled for work in nearly 9 years, but if/when an out-of-town assignment comes up, I'll need to look into a laptop or something.

    Now to the important stuff, Lori…what goes into your Thai dipping sauce?

  • Kimberly Ben October 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Like Allie, I prefer working at home. Everything is exactly as I need it. When my husband is home, he's a distraction. I don't like to chat when I'm in work mode because I'm so easily distracted.

    I work from a remote location at least once a week. I take my mom out to run errands and while she shops I head over to the coffee shop across the street. It can get pretty noisy while I'm there, but as long as people aren't speaking to me directly I'm pretty good at tuning out background noise.

  • Ashley October 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I highly recommend using the cloud for storing files you use frequently. I've never had a problem (knock on wood!) and I can access everything from everywhere. No fear that I'll leave something at home when I go out of town, and I can access documents on my phone or iPad at a moment's notice if necessary. You can also use it to transfer files from one computer's hard drive to another. Can't recommend it enough. I've used Dropbox for a couple of years and plan to start using Google Drive too.

    I'm like you about writing in public places, sadly. I wish it were white noise to me, but I find it difficult to concentrate on writing with a lot of buzzing around me. I could do more administrative tasks with the chatter, though, so if I really needed the wifi, that's what I'd focus on.