I see a lot of articles, blog posts, and movies where well dressed, self employed people work from a beautiful chic cafe; sunlight filtering in through large windows, coffee and pain au chocolat set carefully at an artful angle next to their brand new laptop. I want to know who these people are, how I can achieve this beautiful lifestyle, and also how I can eat pain au chocolat for breakfast everyday without putting huge amounts of weight on. It’s not too much to ask for, is it?
I too am self employed, and yes, this means that I have a decent employer and pretty flexible work hours. It also means that my work seeps into every other aspect of my life, so I have to work from a variety of places. Are these places glamorous? Well, I have on occasion been spotted sporting rather stylish outfits and eating pastries in public, however, more often than not this would be at a Mother’s Day Tea at my son’s school (shortly before I would destroy said outfit with screen printing ink).
My work lifestyle is definitely not glamorous, it is weird and unpredictable, sometimes mundane, and often very fulfilling. This is why I want to share it with you as the antidote to all those perfect work scenarios that we see online.
Here are the places where I do my work.
- My Dining Room
AKA my studio. This is where I screen print while blasting loud music from my radio so I can ignore marketing phone calls and door to door salespeople during the day. Note: this is why we don’t host a huge amount of dinner parties, and have very cheap dining furniture.
- My Kitchen Sink
An extension of my studio. The place where I wash my brushes, squeegees, and screens (after I wash everything else that was in there first, sigh).
- Waiting Rooms
Where I write the blog posts. I spend a lot of time waiting.
- Sitting outside my son’s Tae kwon Do class
A great place to do mundane stuff that doesn’t require too much focus, ie: ordering materials and designing spreadsheets (five year olds doing Tae Kwon Do is literally the cutest thing ever, I just can’t focus on much else at this time).
- The Library
For Research. Oh who am I kidding, I mostly pretend to research and end up staring at new fiction longingly instead.
- At the School Bus stop
This is always the place I am when very important phone calls reach me. Always.
- My Sofa
Where I draw in my sketch book every evening, a habit that has helped me break out of many creative blocks, and discover much geeky TV. Thank you sofa.
A place where parents of prospective students regularly reach out to me (“are you the art camp lady?”). Interviews and enrollment take place over free guacamole and chips samples, and impromptu parent-teacher conferences happen.
- Yoga Studio
The think lab. Okay, I know this is a stretch, but if you think about it, a calm mind helps the big ideas flow later on in the day, so this is part of work, sort of, maybe.
- A Variety of Churches and Schools
Where the camps actually take place. Lack of studio space has meant that I have met almost every pastor and head teacher in town. I’m pretty much famous now, you know.
That, my friends, is how working from home is done when you are an artist/designer/teacher/mommy/bottle washer/business woman, who lives in the suburbs and fights off suburban life every day. It’s the warts and all non-Chai Latte truth.
Now get me an assistant, a Rodarte dress, and a pain au chocolate now!!