Signaling my mind that it's time to work has been a crucial aspect of the whole working-from-home concept for me; with a family who has interests and time restraints of their own to tend to, I'm generally the last one in line to get started in the day. It's very easy to get distracted - and I can't even tell you how many days have been completely shot because of those distractions.


And they are so subtle that we don't even recognize them: Oh, the dog needs out (or in) … and while I'm here, the food bin could use a refill. Or his water dish is low. And just look at that pile of dirt in the corner - which leads to a sweeping of the kitchen. Now I have to go to the bathroom. Which needs to be cleaned. Why are the towels piled up? Laundry time. (May as well vacuum and write for half of the day instead of a full day.)


Before I know what's up, it's lunch time - and my husband and I like to talk over lunch.  There goes another hour.


So how do I slide into the writing groove at about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon and crank out a productive, usable 1,00 words? I don't, actually. Usually what happens is that I'll open my notes, my current project, and half-heartedly scan the pages back and forth, wondering  why I let another day go by.


After deciding that this wasn't the ideal way to write seriously, schedules were implemented. And more importantly - followed.


There is one day  of the week to clean the house. One day to tend to emails, other things like that. And laundry, funny enough, can also be run while dinner's cooking. Imagine that! Laundry can be folded while watching the evening news after dinner.


Beginning my day by actually preparing like I'm "going to work" is important to me - to my routine. It prepares my mind that it's time to get creative, to tune out the rest of the world, and get my "job" done.


So as everyone else gets ready in the morning, I curl my hair, do my makeup, actually get dressed. If need be, make another pot of coffee and then once the house is empty, go to work myself.


That leads to another question: Is it really all that important where we work?


Like many other writers, I do have a home office. It's quiet in there, has internet, a tv, my favorite things such as my certificates from completing the Tsalagi courses are hanging on the wall. It's my space. When the door is closed, it becomes my world and my family knows it's best to text before entering. It's a good arrangement.


The living room also has an internet connection. And tv. And so many distractions it's not even worth going into. I have written in the living room with the family, but have found that there is much more editing to be done afterward.


As a home-based writer, we should remind ourselves that this is our job. While we may have liberties that most other jobs do not, it's still how we contribute to the family, makes us feel like living and keeps us sane.


Each writer will find that groove that gets us going and keeps us there; after all, a writer is an artist who uses words on the page just as a painter colors the canvas.


I wonder how they start the day?