How We’re Working: Author Carol Ericson on Her New Work From Home Routine
by Carol Ericson, author of Chain of Custody
I am a creature of habit. Creatures of habit can handle change, but we have to form new habits—and I’ve formed some very weird new habits because of this shutdown.
You might wonder how a work-from-home order can affect writers, who already work at home. I mean, don’t we already skip showers, makeup and clothing? Well, not if we don’t write at home and not if we have other jobs outside of writing. I check both of those boxes, so the shutdown hit me with a double whammy of upheaval.
My usual routine includes getting up around 6:00 a.m., heading to the gym and coming back home to shower, change, feed the extra-large dog and go to my day job. When I come home from work, I make dinner, eat dinner, chat with my spouse briefly, feed the extra-large dog and skip off to Starbucks with my AlphaSmart to do some writing for a few hours. Sometime in the middle of March, this schedule came to a screeching halt when my office instituted a work-from-home edict and my local Starbucks closed to everything but take-out orders (I don’t even like coffee).
I set up my work laptop on the kitchen table in our family room—right between the kitchen and the laundry room. You can imagine how that went, especially as my son just graduated from college and moved home with nothing to do. Worse, I had to somehow transition between work and writing without the benefit and triggers of a new location and different clothes. You know, slacks, blouses, heels—work. Jeans/shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops—writing. Those little things matter.
The extra-large dog was happy with this new arrangement, but I had to adapt to some new routines if I ever hoped to write another book. I started by pulling out the AlphaSmart and sitting at the same table where my work laptop was glaring at me . That didn’t work, as it was hard to resist just one little peek at my work email. I tried writing at my desktop computer (call me weird, but I don’t have a laptop ), but got sucked into watching YouTube videos and checking out info on my new reality TV obsession, 90 Day Fiancé. While I enjoyed watching countless dance videos set to Doja Cat’s “Say So,” and caught up with Big Ed and Rose, I wasn’t getting much writing done.
I also write at Starbucks on the weekend and had to find a new routine for that, too. March and April brought mostly mild, sunny weather to SoCal, so I would grab my AlphaSmart and sit outside while the extra-large dog played with his ball—only occasionally running into my chaise longue with it. For some reason, I added sunflower seeds to my routine, as well as a Diet Coke from McDonald’s, and this seemed to be the magic combo. Suddenly, the words were flowing from my brain to my fingers. Eureka! I had found a routine. So, I applied that same routine to my Mon.–Fri. writing sessions. After work at home, I’d have dinner, converse with the spouse, feed the extra-large dog, and then grab my AlphaSmart, some seeds and a Diet Coke and head out to the backyard (thank goodness for warm SoCal weather and Daylight Savings Time).
This creature has formed a new habit…and the extra-large dog is still happy.
About Chain of Custody:
With a baby suddenly in his care,
he’ll need all the help he can get.
When Nash Dillon’s childhood friend leaves a baby on his doorstep, his days become unpredictable. Thankfully, Emily Lang, an undercover investigator posing as a nanny, comes to his rescue. But once he discovers why Emily is really there—and that both her and the baby’s life are in danger—he unleashes every skill in his law enforcement arsenal to keep them out of harm’s way. Especially once it leads them down a very deadly path.
Want to learn more about how Harlequin authors and employees are working from home? Click here for the other posts in this series!