Home office, or no home office? That is the question a lot of freelance writers ask themselves when confronted with deciding where they should set up shop. On one hand it seems like an irrelevant question; you’re home, so why does it matter where you write? No one is going to see you if you lounge in bed with your laptop wearing your Batman pajamas (and come on, we all know you have some) so why not write that big article for your client in comfort?
The problem with this idea is that when you are lounging around in bed, you’ll probably be doing a lot of writing, but it won’t be on the project. While it’s important to be comfortable while you work, there’s also such a thing as being too comfortable. And if you’re in your favorite recliner or sitting at the kitchen table, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to be distracted. You need a place where you will feel motivated to write; a place that is a haven from the outside world. That’s where a home office comes in.
Some freelancers are fortunate enough to have a spare room that can be converted into a home office. If you’re one of them, it is one of the best decisions you can make as a freelance writer. But even if all you have is an empty corner in the living room, you need a dedicated workspace. While this is important for all people who work from home, it’s vital for writers, who often need peace and quiet or a large desk to craft the perfect proposal for a client. If you’re still unsure about whether you really need a home office, take a look at some of the benefits of having one.
A home office makes your freelance job feel more like, well, a job. And although getting to work from home may be the biggest reason why you freelance, that doesn’t mean that you should adopt a zero professionalism policy toward your work environment. There are too many temptations lurking around your home, just waiting to distract you from your goals with things like missed TV episodes or catnaps. With an office, you have a place solely dedicated to work, with a “no distractions, please” sign on your door. Even facing away from the rest of the room makes a major difference in your drive. You have a job to do, and this is the place you can do it.
We all have days where we stare at a blank computer screen and sigh. You may be physically ill, or your brain may be on strike. Worse, you may be questioning what you’re doing and whether or not you should be a freelance writer. A home office can help you refocus your energy to your writing. When you have a room that is exclusively for your work, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in yourself. You’re reminded that writing is your passion and profession, not simply a hobby. It makes a world of difference in how you see yourself and keeps the good thoughts flowing.
Gives You Some Credit
You’ve probably been told at some point that having a home office can save you some money on taxes. What you may not know, however, is that if your home office meets certain criteria, you could be eligible for dozens of deductions. Your home office may allow you to deduct some of the cost of your monthly utilities, a land line, office supplies, and even a computer. Your office must meet highly specific guidelines to be eligible, however, so consult with your accountant or the IRS before you make any claims on your taxes.
Having a home office is not a miracle cure-all for a freelancer. It won’t magically remove writer’s block or eliminate all of life’s distractions with some invisible writer’s barrier. What it will do, however, is give you a dedicated space to work where you can focus on your projects. This not only helps you be more efficient, it reminds you that you are still a creative, competent professional. And as for those Batman pajamas; well, just let that be our little secret.