Snow Day 101: A Guide for Work-at-Home Writers & Others

Vintage-Snow-Storm-3Everybody knew today would be a snow day. The weather report was dismal. Half the emails coming into my inbox signed off with, “Enjoy your snow day tomorrow!” Usually, when my kids’ school closes I get a very early morning phone call, 5-something o’clock, always interrupting my REM sleep, and startling me awake with a heart pounding “WTF?! Who died?!” feeling as I grab the phone and listen to the automated message. But not this morning. No phone call. No snow day.

My alarm went off at 6:30, as always, and I peeked out the window. Just a bit of snow. A couple inches maybe. No biggie. So I go ahead and wake my kids. My son was annoyed, as he stayed up binge watching WALKING DEAD with my husband (don’t even go there with me) figuring for sure there’d be no school today. My daughter was annoyed, as I inform her she can’t drive to school today, but must take the bus, giving her 15 minutes less time to get ready. I went down and made the coffee, fed the dogs, started to make sandwiches, and then the phone call comes in. Are you kidding?! So my kids are awake and getting ready for school, I’m already drinking my coffee, and now you tell us Snow Day!?

Now my kids have gone back to sleep but I’m caffeinated. And besides, I work from home so I never have a snow day, really. I was going to go on Twitter and ask someone to please give me permission to have a snow day, when I realized that’s just stupid. I’m 50 years old. There’s very little in my life that I’m willing to ask permission for any more. I’m in the “give permission” phase of my life. So, today I’d like to declare a snow day for all who work at home. Even if you live in Florida.

This is what I’m going to do today: Stay in my pajamas. Read my copy of Lucky Peach, from cover to cover. Instruct my children to make a fire in the fireplace. Start The Goldfinch, which I recently gifted to myself. Pop popcorn on the stove, in my “crank it by hand” popcorn popper thingy, which makes the best popcorn. Finish reading an enjoyable middle grade manuscript by a prospective client. Not feel guilty about not doing all those other things that I could/should be doing for work.

Here’s the guide part: even people who work from home, even people who are stay-at-home parents, even retired people, even highly motivated, cut-throat, success driven shark-like people, need a snow day. A snow day is a day off from whatever you usually do. But you stay home. And it’s relatively unplanned/unscheduled time. It can be expected or unexpected, but what you want to go for is not your usual work. For writers who have a day job, this might look like a day of uninterrupted writing time. For stay-at-home parents, this might look like a day you don’t monitor how much television your kid watches, so you can do something fun for yourself. For someone like me, who reads a ridiculous amount for work, it’s a day of reading for pleasure.

Ok. Go!

What are you going to do with your snow day? 



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10 responses to “Snow Day 101: A Guide for Work-at-Home Writers & Others

  1. We received another snow day today in West Michigan. I took your advice, a little late and went cross country skiing. It was so nice to be away from everything. Thanks!

  2. Not much hunkering down in CA. Started by getting my teeth worked on (no problems getting around here, alas). However, ended the day with an evening flight to the coast. The grass was springing green, the clouds soft and gentle, fingers of fog from the ocean extending over Pt. Reyes, and finally, the full moon shining silver over roads glowing like lava. A day to give inspiration to quiet moments.

  3. I didn’t check my email inbox until 4PM! I read Ingrid Law’s Savvy under a fluffy, cuddly throw blanket. It is a great day.

  4. Carol Bryant

    Here in Colorado, the sun is shining. All of you SAD sufferers should come to Colorado and get your sunshine fix snowshoeing under a brilliant blue sky.

  5. Had a real snow day (actually four of them) last week. On Day 2 I gave in, let the kids freebase on TV, and stayed in bed reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Haven’t read for so many hours in a row in, like, forever. Yup, am in the “give permission” stage of life too.

  6. Going to nurse my sinus infection and color-plot my next novel. Should be fun with a box of tissues and a fresh set of Sharpies!

  7. Well, I did my blog’s comments, and this is my last email in my inboxes, so I think I’ll have fun today! I built a LEGO Spaceship via creativity this morning. 🙂

  8. I’m going with unmonitored (time wise, not content wise) TV and computer time for kids. Keeps them busy so I can relax and read. I’ll still write, but the down time is fun.

  9. Judy R

    I recently moved from New York to Florida. One of the things I miss about the north (beside the turning leaves) is the cold-weather excuse to hunker down and do nothing. Or more importantly, not having an excuse not to finish that damned chapter!
    Not so here where the sun beckons even the most determined writer to leave the task for a rainy day. We’ve had plenty of those, but even the rain is a pleasant diversion.
    So today when all northerners are busy digging themselves out of snow drifts or otherwise using the day for their pleasure, I will finally go back to work. I joined a new critique group and today is the first meeting. I’m sure it will not be all work, but I hope it will get me out of the rut of doing whatever the hell I please.

  10. Well….since I don’t have to go in and teach two comp II classes today, I’m going to use my snow day to process and implement the amazing feedback I got from Kathi Appelt last night, on the middle-grade novel you and I are in agreement on (WIP). I will most likely stay in my PJs and slippers and put some miles on my manuscript. I’ll also take a break to play a board game with the kids and maybe watch a movie later tonight as a reward.