It was at the moment when I caught myself eagerly engaging in an overly long convo with a checkout operator that I knew something in my life had to change.
Before I begin, I must confess that deciding to leave the security blanket of being an employee to work as a self-employed, full-time writer is one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made (although, my life hasn’t been littered with too many smart decisions, let’s be honest).
Every morning now, after a quick breakfast and daily dose of news, I head into my writing room to start the day dressed in my new “work uniform” of shorts, t-shirts and bed socks. I can’t remember the last time I brushed my hair. Today I have an open door policy that no one walks through.
A life lived outside of usual nine-to-five constraints, plus being single and a writer, means it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a Tuesday or a Sunday. I mostly work whenever I feel like it as long as I meet my deadlines. Ah what “freedom”!
Lately I’ve noticed I’ve been breaking up my days by taking leisurely strolls for lunch or coffee or (so I thought) for no reason at all. Alas, the aforementioned, supermarket situ made me realise my motivations were far from unconscious.
You see, I’m a writer who likes other people’s company as much as I like my own. But the craft requires solitude of such magnitude that it’s a fine line between inspirational and suicidal thinking.
In my past life as a journo in newsrooms, I got to fulfil both parts of my personality with the opportunity to write as well as to be involved in some of the most vulgar conversations imaginable – those were the days.
Today, I work on my own, every single day. Sure, I have a few phone calls and interviews most days but nothing beats being with other human beings in the flesh. One of my contacts and friends offered to meet me yesterday in real life, instead of just doing an interview by phone, and he will never know (until he reads this blog) what a highlight of my week that was. I may have dragged the get-together on too long in hindsight but I did introduce him to Colombian cheese bread to make up for it.
I’ve also been trying to increase my human contact (it sounds like I’m in a prison of my own design) by looking after my godson more, which I joke “gives my life purpose”. I even earnestly look forward to visiting mum, which is natural and right of course, but I usually forget that these days I have to attend a dementia ward to do so, which if truth sadly be told, is a bit of a buzz kill.
These past three months of solitude, however, have been beneficial because my screenplay finally became much more tangible than just a conversational fire-starter used when one was trying to impress people and/or trying to get in to their pants.
But I now know that something has to change. I’m not made of the right ilk to spend hour upon hour “cooped up” in my writing room, no matter how ridiculously wonderful and inspiring its view.
To write about life and about people, and to be the best version of me, I need more human connection but I’m not advocating going back to work “for the man”. Hell no. That’s because it seems I’m not the only lonely, self-employed, house-bound soul out there and hot desking is these days a “thing” that’s totally on my radar, at least for a couple of days a week.
I can only hope that the “hot” part refers to the quality of the people inside these mythical modern places, because my stories would become so much more interesting almost overnight, don’t you think?