Writing in your Jammies

Working from home has it’s ups and downs.

We live in an area that’s a combination of older low-rise apartments and a whole bunch of lovingly restored free-standing houses, some of which date back to the late 1800’s. Very impressive they are, however . . . they also have pocket-handkerchief sized areas of grass, and whenever there’s the slightest hint of sun out come the lawn manicuring power tools. I’ve only come across one that’s electrical, the rest are gas (petrol) powered, and very loud. My best writing times are late in the evening so consequently I sprrrrroing out of bed at the crack of 10.30am. It’s not worth trying to have a conversation with me until I’ve had my third cup of tea, so imagine my – how shall I put this delicately – displeasure this morning when the sound of leaf-blowers, edge-trimmers, mowers and a high-impact nail gun (no idea what they were doing!) that echoed along our sleepy chestnut tree lined street.

Haven’t these guys ever heard of grass rakes and reel mowers? They even conduct their lawn maintenance-erly duties when its raining. I want to sit out on my patio sipping my tea and listen to the rain, not the two-tone buzz of a weed-wacker.

One day a friend and I contemplated the sort of vengeance we could extract from the situation. She concluded that a paintball gun might be useful. It’s not deadly force but will undoubtedly catch their attention. And if a few balls impact on the much hated noise-makers, well, so be it!

Another aspect of working from home is not having to dress for the office. Not having to dress at all. I don’t mean that I scoot around the apartment naked, the neighbours are too close to subject to that sort of treatment, but in what I call my schlumping clothes. Scruffy, frayed at the edges, comfy, and definitely not for company clothes; aka, jammies.

Way back last century when I realised that I was not suited, either by temperament or desire, to work in an office for someone else, I heard that one should dress as though one were going to the ‘office’ in order to instil the correct mindset in oneself; that of going to ‘work’, and thereby being able to ‘produce’ whatever it was that one was producing.

In a fit of virtuous workethic-ness I would get up, have my three cups of tea, shower, dress ‘business casual’ and walk briskly into the spare bedroom that I’d converted into my office/workroom. In all honesty I probably lasted three days of such insanity.

This strategy may indeed work for some folk, but not for this little black duck! I felt uncomfortable, a fraud, and anxious about entering the rest of my house until after ‘quittin’ time.

I do understand the rationale, but as a motivator, going for a bicycle ride with my trusty notebook in my pannier is far more effective for me when I enter the doldrums of the writerly life.

These days I turn my computer on in the (late) morning, make my tea, run through my emails, and start to write. Simple, straight to the point.


“Did I ever tell you how I shot a wild elephant in my pyjamas? How he got into my pyjamas I’ll never know” Julius Henry Marx 

Who is Julius Henry? If you haven’t guessed, check out the link.


8 comments on “Writing in your Jammies

  1. cat says:

    I wish I could find the poem Colin Thiele wrote on “The Lawnmower’s Revenge” (or similar title). I am sure you would enjoy it!


  2. Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. I don’t think your neighbours would consider lawn work at 10:30am as unreasonable. All right-thinking people are up and about by then, in their view! 6am, or 11pm, would be a different story.

    The question of dress code for work – of any kind, in any place – is an interesting one. In my office I was part of a conversation (dominated by older-middle-aged, if you know what I mean) that harrumphed that ‘professional’ attire was necessary to convey the right attitude and ethic. On the other hand, many people find their creativity is better when the blood flow is not being constricted by a necktie or the discomfort of high heels. It can be easier to get things done when you feel comfortable in scruffy and frayed garb.

    One thing’s for sure: working at home is more task-focused. It’s easier to focus, but sometimes distractions pull the attention away. Lawn mowing neighbours, for instance…


    • Widdershins says:

      I don’t REALLY consider lawn manicuring at 10.30am unreasonable, its the noise that’s a pain in the bazoozas … however, I did come across a maintenance truck yesterday whose panel advertising stated that they used low impact machinery … I might pass on their info to my neighbours … in the nicest possible way of course!


  3. londonmabel says:

    This is possibly my dad’s biggest pet peeve, because it just seems to have grown over the years in power tools and noise and days which it’s done on.

    My fave work-in-pajama days were when I was a TA, correcting papers in my PJs, during Quebec snowstorms. Now that’s when working at home is really sweet. At some point the mysterious They really will have to give in and start looking at the advantages of telecommuting when it comes to snowstorms in a country like ours’, once networking our home and work computers becomes easier.


  4. jannatwrites says:

    Luckily, I’ve worked in offices with relaxed dress codes. In fact, May through September we can wear shorts and jeans. Not too bad 🙂 I’ve never seen anyone in a tie!

    On the days I work from home, I throw on something suitable enough to take the kids to school and that’s it. No makeup or anything.

    I understand your frustration about the noise. I’ve always been out of the house by 6AM, so it’s never an issue for me, but my hubby had a job for several years where he worked an overnight shift. He’d be so grouchy because he just got home and almost fell asleep…and then all the noise began. The neighbor putting a pool in their backyard just about killed him 😉 Hang in there!


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