The ups and downs of working from home

The ups and downs of working from home. A photograph by Helen Perry. Green jumper, grey sofa, jeans.

This is a theraputic blog post. I hope it may ease some of the madness brought on by constantly working from home. Alone. I’ve had a week of trying (mostly failing) to resolve some issues with work in my head. I have enjoyed some quite lunatic conversations with myself. Perhaps sending my thoughts out into the universe will help.

How am I getting on?

When kind people ask me how the blogging is going, I tell them that in many ways it’s easy. I used to work in a newsroom, and a lot of what I did is what we now call ‘content creation’. Every day, there are news bulletins to fill, regardless of whether there’s any actual news happening. You need to be full of ideas.  Now, each day I need to generate news (photos, videos, captions, posts) for my blog or Instagram and Pinterest.

Using a manfrotto magic arm to photograph a flat lay image

Kitchen table photographer studio

The difference is that I am doing it on my own. In a newsroom, you have a morning meeting to float your ideas, and people are quick to tell you if you’ve had a crap one. Now my crap ideas don’t get edited, they just go out into the world for all to see. Perhaps this is part of what makes social media is so engaging.

Decision time

I wouldn’t call myself an indecisive person, but making choices day in day out on your own is tough. I love the autonomy of blogging, I can write whatever I like. But I do really miss being able to chew an idea over with someone. Reader, if you work for yourself I would love to know how you navigate this.

My editorial team

Mostly, I just have an ongoing, unrelenting editorial meeting happening in my head. We know that way madness lies. So I do have a mini-network of people I can turn to for career guidance. However (and I know that they would dispute this) when I ask them to chat about work, I can’t help but feel I am being a time vampire. We don’t sit around discussing their jobs to the nth degree. It’s very me, me, me.

Coffee and cake at Drifters coffee shop in Henley on Thames, cappuccino, black cup and saucer, moleskin pen, banana cake

Escape for coffee and cake always helps a hungry home worker

More constructively, I have been lucky enough to make a  handful of blogger friends in the past few months via Instagram, who are kind enough to answer my questions. I have also decided to see Stephanie, who has given me career coaching in the past, for a few more sessions.

Here are a few of my current conundrums.

Nice to be niche?

Niche; a distinct segment of the market.

Everything you read about developing a blog will strongly suggest that you should identify a niche and establish exactly who you are writing for. This is not a ‘fashion blog for women in their 40s’ or an ‘interiors blog for the boho chic tribe’. Can my niche simply be ‘stuff for people like me, in my age group, who don’t wish to be defined by their children and role as a mum’?

More about Not About the Kids

Feeling the fear

I think that I am still suffering from a career condition called if I work hard and am good at things, someone will notice and offer me work. Now I know that, unless you are very lucky, this is not in fact how it happens. Is it time to start getting out there? Or, should I sit tight, wait a bit longer, be a bit better and know a bit more?

Directions

On that note, every week in 2018 I have told myself that I am going to write a pitch for a magazine article. I am still procrastinating. Presumably, because it’s difficult, non-urgent and could lead to rejection. Get it together Helen. This week.

This may be whimsy, but I have also considered giving product styling a try. This is creating images that tell someone’s brand story. I have considered approaching small brands and offering to do this for them for free (to see if I can). But something is holding me back…

Flat lay photography set up, including mugs of coffee against a blue background

Flat lay by the front door, my home working reality

Platform problems

So, I am currently blogging, and Instagramming and have committed to a short time on Pinterest every day. Should I also be Facebooking (not my favourite), Tweeting and have a LinkedIn account? It all comes down to time. Is it better to do a little, or nothing at all?

Follow Not About the Kids on Pinterest

Am I oversharing?

Finally, is it a good idea to write posts like this? They are the ones that come most naturally, but inevitably there will be intentions that I set out here that are never achieved. There is an argument for playing it cool and keeping my plans and doubts closer to my chest. Ah f*ck it.

Let’s admit our ambitions

If you’ve enjoyed this article and think others might too, it would make my day if you could pin it on Pinterest, just click on this image. Leave your comments underneath, I love to chat. Thank you so much for stopping by.

How to be a Happy Home Blogger, pinterest pin Not About the Kidds

What's your View?

10 comments on “The ups and downs of working from home

  1. Suzanne on

    I don’t know if that is ‘niche’ enough but that’s the exact one that I would put my blog in! I don’t think there are enough blogs out there in our age category and yours is just the sort of blog I want to read. ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Suzanne that’s so good to hear, thank you :). I feel better for getting all of these things out of my system, will just keep on keeping on for now. It’s a learning curve. Thanks so much for reading, love Hx

      Reply
  2. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hmm as a creative introvert! I feel your pain, perhaps you need to find a co -working space, for freelancers such as yourself?

    You are just starting, don’t be so hard on your self!!!

    I think you are a brilliant writer… keep going but remember it’s supposed to be fun.

    Wish you lived nearer x
    Ashley

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Ashley, there are so many upsides (creating, like you say) so perhaps next week I’ll write a post about how wonderful it is to have the freedom to work from home!!!! I have been looking at some co-working spaces nearby. I really like the look of them, but until I start generating and income feel a bit reluctant to commit. Watch this space I may take the plunge. Thanks for reading and for your encouragement, Hx

      Reply
  3. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    I love it Helen! However, you haven’t answered my questions, just asked all the same ones as I have! Hahaha ??? But seriously, it’s so reassuring to read this. I feel as if we are in a similar sort of place – having established ourselves doing what we want to do on social media yet not knowing how to take the next step. Or knowing what we want the next step to be but not quite confident enough in ourselves to take it (not that I’m saying you lack confidence, of course! I would say we’re both very gregarious people ?) but I really empathise with your constant questioning of yourself, your plans, whether what you are doing us the right thing, are you sharing too much or not enough? ARGH!!!!! For the record, you know I love your blog and Insta, and just reading one if your posts has encouraged me so many times ? Keep it up xxx Sam

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Sam, and you have encouraged me right back. Even to do an Instagram Live which may have scarred me for life!!! I don’t always feel so conflicted, but I did have a bit of a week of it last week, so hoped it might be helpful to write down some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading, it so often makes you feel better about something when you realise others feel the same way. Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
  4. Lottie Stevenson on

    Ah Helen, I love your honesty. I hadn’t thought about the constant editorial meeting going on in my head, but you’ve nailed it, that is exactly what it is!!

    Well, I love chatting about work stuff, my website is aaaaaalmost ready to launch, so very happy to meet up after the holidays and natter about ex-BBC life, new work stuff and maintaining sanity while working from home!

    Hope everyone is recovering in your household – sounds like you’ve had more than your fair share of bugs. Happy Easter!
    Lottie x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lottie, thanks so much for reading, I’m genuinely thrilled when anyone pops on to the blog. Very excited to hear that you are almost up and running yourself. I would love to meet up, I can pick your brains about stop motion video which I’m really keen to master. Happy, healthy, chocolate-munching Easter to you too. Hx

      Reply

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