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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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working at home

Some people ask me if it's hard to work at home all day, if it's hard to keep motivated, do I miss interaction with other people, and so on. When I first decided to become self-employed, it was much tougher to resist distractions (you know, important things like having to go out to check out the CD sale at HMV or doing housework instead of business-stuff or giving into that urge to take a nap or the leftover piece of chocolate cake crying out "EAT ME" from the fridge). Ok, so I still have problems resisting that last urge. :-)

I like working at home. In a way, it's easier to focus oneself completely on a project. I can work alone all day without a problem, but sometimes by the end of the day, I'm dying to get out of the apartment, to see people, to talk with human beings IN PERSON rather than by email and ICQ.

My current pet peeve, though, is that it's sometimes difficult to be taken seriously in spite of the fact that I work at home. Sometimes acquaintances will call (my close friends know better :-)) in the middle of the day and assume I have the time to chat about the weather or movies or whatever.
I also hate it when salespeople call and assume that because I'm answering the phone at home, I obviously have time to help them with their surveys or listen to them them try to sell me a newspaper or phone service or Ginsu Knife Set. Maybe they think that I'm spending my days in front of low-budget soap operas, eating bonbons and painting my toenails. I'm trying to train myself NOT to feel compelled to answer the phone all the time.

The fact is that my hours are usually pretty crazy. I usually start working at around 7:30 or 8 am, eat too many meals in front of my computer, sometimes work through the evenings, some weekends. I'm trying to cut down on the evenings and weekends, would be nice to occasionally spend time with Jeff, after all. :-) Both of us have been trying to stick to saner hours.

Once a week, I take an afternoon off and spend it with my nieces, Sara and Annie. I realize this is a luxury that some people don't have (the time flexibility thing), but the time is important to me, helps keep me sane (there's nothing like a wet gloppy kiss on the neck from a four-year-old to help put things in perspective), and I make up for it by putting in extra hours elsewhere.

Okay, I'm calming down now, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. :-)

Can't wait for Andrea and Tom to get here tonight...really really really looking forward to the break!

to Batya: CONGRATULATIONS ON THE ENGAGEMENT!!!! When's the wedding?

to Annie: Thank you for commiserating with my stroller-nap-disaster afternoon.

to Andrea: BRING YOUR SARI BRING YOUR SARI! I wanna see it!

to Joel: no cats in the household; Annie must have picked up her food-stealing habit elsewhere. Actually, her tactic has changed recently, according to Ruth. Annie now comes up to Sara for a hug during dinner. Sara gets off her chair to give Annie a hug. After the hug, Annie pushes Sara aside and quickly climbs up on Sara's chair to start eating Sara's dinner. Sara is amazingly patient with all this.

Ruth's in Winnipeg right now, giving talks at a major Canadian children's author/illustrator convention. Kaarel's home with the kids.

Officemusic: tape that Allison, Jodi and I made last night after I taught them my two new songs. Allison and Jodi are SO GREAT at learning new stuff; they are magic. :-) Seriously, though, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to write a song, throw it at these two, and have it transformed into something MUCH better than I originally envisioned.

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