Saturday, 4 July 2020

Working from Home - Ciaran Murtagh

Over the past few months I've come to a realisation, I work from home but I don't necessarily work at home. Trust a writer to get bogged down by semantics in 'week infinity + 1' of lock down and how typical of them to obsess over the difference between two very small words. But there is a difference and frankly it's huge.

Working from home never looked like this - who compartmentalises their own breakfast?

Now you might argue there are many more important things to worry about at this stage in the shit show currently masquerading as 2020, or perhaps it's precisely because of the times we find ourselves in that navel gazing about the difference between 'from' and 'at' seems like a useful waste of my time.

Every day for the past few months I've been heading to my shed to do my work, just like I have done for the past decade or so. I get the work done, but recently I've been finding it harder and harder, and I've been trying to figure out why. Now of course, the chaotic nature of the world - and in particular our country - at the moment doesn't help. But even putting that to one side, something's changed, and that's where those two little words come in.
Home sweet home

People often tell me that I'm very lucky to work at home. And I am. But the truth is -  I really don't. Maybe 30% of my working life is spent at home. A lot of the time I'll be working in cafes or pubs, on trains, in hotels, in libraries, the top floor of the Royal Festival Hall, in airport departure lounges, or in one memorable deadline crazed fever, a bench in the Whitgift Centre Croydon.

Scene of some of my greatest triumphs

It's easy to say I work at home. But given a choice I work anywhere but! I'm not conditioned to spend four months writing in the same place.  I like to mix it up. I thrive on the energy of busy places. I write about life and characters and people and I like to surround myself with them. It's hard to be inspired by a funny incident or something someone said when you're not interacting. I'm not made to be locked in my shed. I might long for the solitude from time to time, but in reality I want life and I want my words to be conceived in the hubbub of conversation and lives being lived.

Come back. I miss you guys... 

So that's what I've learned. My office might be at home, but I work in the bustling streets that surround me and it can't come back soon enough.


Nick Garlick said...

I don't/can't actually work too well away form my desk, but I do miss the bustle too.I miss the buzz of being around other people, watching and listening, seeing the world go by.

Joan Lennon said...

It IS getting harder, isn't it? And words are important!

Anne Booth said...

I know what you mean. I think just taking it day by day is the only way I can get through this, as it seems like a long slog.

Penny Dolan said...

So many things seem easier than finding words right now. I'd love the privacy of a shed some of the time, but the buzz of a cafe or a wander round among images that feed your mind would be extremely welocme right now.

I think galleries are about to reopen for visiting? Assuming one trusts governmental health advice, of course.