Today is the First Annual “Freelancers Put On Your Pants” Day. While I’m not a freelancer, Mur Lafferty notes in her I Should Be Writing podcast that the same goes for writers. In fact, her pants episode came out unrelated to the announcement of Put on Your Pants Day. (Psychic Mur!) Such advice is not new. For housewives, FlyLady harps the value of dressing “to the shoes” and not comfy slip on ones either. (Never cared for that advice. I would go hobbit-style my entire life if I could.) The upshot is: change your mental attitude by changing the physical aspect of your being. Clothes, nice clothes, are meant to put a writer into business mode, because those are the clothes worn to 9-5 work. Unfortunately, they’re not the clothes I’ve ever worn to work. I joke that I’ve never had a job where I didn’t take out the garbage. Except, that’s less a joke and more a reality.
I have worked:
- for a veterinarian in the kennel area
- at a supermarket, in the deli
- in a biology lab, washing glassware
- for UNL housing and food services as a cleaning lady, dish washer, weekend salad bar maintainer, vegetable preparer, and morning supervisor in charge of the dishroom
In my work career not only have I not been required to wear nice clothes, but I was lucky not come home smelling…bad. While I enjoy “office work,” I’ve never had a desk job, and maybe that puts me at a disadvantage when it comes time to put-butt-to-chair-and-write. Summers are the worst. Over the course of a decade of working physical jobs, my brain feels that the summer is when we work the hardest physically. Sitting at a desk means we can physically turn off and go on a vacation mentally too. Or something like that.
So, maybe the key for me is to find a switch, like pants or shoes, to flip and say, “Now, I’m going to work.” Maybe it’s change of venue, and maybe that can be achieved easily by going to the backroom to work. Maybe I need a little “calling down the muse” ritual like Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love to clean my head. (Or like painting my nails on league game days. There’s no supernatural aspect to rituals; they’re there to signal the proper frame of mind.) I’ve spent a decade at this writing gig and I haven’t found a way to game this system yet. It’s getting old.