I submit the outdoor office:
I found myself out of a job so I wrote a book. Then I wrote a second one. It happened again and now I’m a paid writer. My dream job. Granted not my dream pay, but my office rocks the Casba.
I’ve been lucky to rock this outdoor office too, though typing on a rocking chair can be challenging (not complaining):
By the way, I’m looking for an agent, email me if you’re looking for a prolific writer with a wicked sense of humor embedded in dirt clad irony who banked 2 novels and 10 children’s stories with more in the works. From your click to my inbox
Now, with the help of the pandemic, worldwide quarantine, laptop computers, and solar chargers, offices and schools can be anywhere. We literally called in to a zoom meeting while driving down the 5 freeway. We did it safely; my husband dialed in and dutifully held up the phone to show the traffic and we listened in and spoke enough to show our presence. Granted it was a friend’s birthday zoom meeting and we didn’t have to take notes, but we attended and that was the main point.
Companies are wizening up to the cost savings associated with home offices. Employees are wizening up to the benefits of working at home. They have discovered a love for sleeping in, the two-minute commute, and only gassing up the car once a week. Oh, and the cost savings. Office space owners hate all the above. They will need to come up with a new game plan. I suggest converting office space to less expensive communal living/office space complete with restaurants, cleaners, gyms, and post office for the millennials that can’t afford a place of their own.
My ideal home office boasts nearby moving water, pine trees, shade, and enough sun to run my portable solar charger. Aside from my computer, mouse, and personalized mouse pad, I bring a double walled tankard of ice water, a quart of iced tea, my phone (backup computer), and a freshly made old man Italian sandwich. A lightweight sunscreen jacket works double duty as a seat pad or warming center depending on the temperature. I carry my computer in a computer bag and everything else in an ultralight backpack.
It works for me. Free like the birds singing around me, I can whip words together until I realize time ran by and I’m needed elsewhere. To my surprise, I get that thing that some writers get, where they sit and write and write and write and forget about the world moving around them. I actually, get this, forget to eat! It’s funny, I seek outdoor spots to work at only to tuck my head down and ignore them when I leap into the writing hole.
So, one day I snuck away to a friend’s beach house (disclaimer: it’s a mile from the beach, which is 32 miles less than my house to the nearest beach). The beach house is close enough that you still get the beach weather and a hint of beach air- that cool wispy salt encrusted oxygen that invigorates my soul. I scrubbed out 5 days to finish one of my books without interruptions. At the beach house, I could escape kid, husband, mother-in-law, pets, chores, and the endless To Dooz list.
My friend, the beach house owner, joined me for a few days of get away from her pets, husband, chores, and endless To Dooz list. Though, since this was her house, she still felt compelled to work on the beach house To Dooz list.
Anyway, I sat at the dining room table and blurted out, “I can’t think of a title.”
“What do you mean?” she replied.
“I’m thinking of ‘Slog On’ but my mom and Eric hate it. It totally represents what I wrote about though. Also, I met an author at a lecture and book signing and ‘slog on’ has a special meaning for me.”
“I told him I wanted to write a book and asked what advice he had. He said you just have to ‘slog on’ through and keep writing and not worry about what people say or distractions. Just keep at it.”
“The phrase clicked for me and I wanted to use it as a title. Then he wrote it in my book when he signed it. It’s like my muse phrase or something…”
“Who cares what you call it. You wrote a friggin book! That’s amazing. Not many people can do that. Name it whatever the hell you want. It doesn’t matter.”
“But people say the title is what grabs people’s attention. I also have ‘The Obligation’ or ‘A Daughters Duty’, or ‘The Long Goodbye’. But those sound tedious and boring. ‘Slog On’ sound tedious and boring too, now that I hear it, but it’s true. You have to slog on through everything in life.”
“Who cares. It doesn’t matter. It’s your story that matters and you already wrote it. I think it’s amazing. You might as well call it ‘I Wrote a F*&%king Book’. It doesn’t matter what you call it.”
I howled at that. ” ‘I Wrote a F*&%king Book’ is the funniest title I’ve ever heard. It’s ridiculous. I love it.” I typed it down in my list of options. She tossed it out as carelessly as taking out the trash, but I couldn’t stop laughing. I struggled for months waiting for a title to move me. Words, I just know when they are right and I hadn’t been able to feel that rightness for the title of my first book. Hearing others say they hated my title, made me second guess myself.
I said “I Wrote a F*&%king Book” aloud to myself and again laughed. Every time I heard it, I laughed. It’s an absurd title but at the same time it’s true.
“I did! ‘I Wrote a F*&%king Book’. Suck it title snobs.” She didn’t find it as funny as I did, but she did find me finding it funny funny. I gasped for air. Then I choked on some spit and started coughing. She finally cracked and her smile turned into laughter.
“You’re a clown,” she said.
“You suggested ‘I Wrote a F*&%king Book’, you’re the clown.” I inhaled a deep breath of air.
I finished my book at the beach house that weekend. The title I’m still waffling over, but hey, ‘I Wrote a F*&%king Book’!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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