||A staggering 8,000 people a day now start a home-based business, according to the American Home Business Association. It sounds great, but the best way to make the most money, unfortunately, is to never leave your home/office. The downside is extraordinary isolation and loneliness.
These are some of the ways I cope...
Whether it's a rousing game of squash, doing lengths in the pool or just a brisk hour's walk around my quiet little neighborhood, I need to up my pulse rate and get the endorphins flowing. Yoga smooths the kinks out of my back after hours at the computer. I play lousy tennis with a friend across the river, shoot some hoops, run around the track, lift weights. You can also smile at someone who is not the UPS guy.
For four years I was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. It gave me regular, challenging interaction with a room-full of adults who expected me to be the expert on everything. Help high school kids make career choices, mentor a college student or be guest-for-a-day at a primary school. Students of all ages are hungry for inspiration and gritty real-life details.
3) Join mailing lists
As a Canadian native and Francophile, my list includes: the Canadian consulate (a monthly calendar of events); the French consulate (ditto), The American Society of Journalists and Authors, mediabistro, and The Americas Society (political and economic panels). Thanks to my writing on antiques and decorative arts, I also get invitations to shows and openings.
There's nothing like gazing at a 17th-century Buddha to put my day into perspective.
Rub brains regularly face to face with a colleague or friend who really understands the demands of running a business from home. Two heads are smarter than one!
5) Play hooky
Everyone needs a break. Create some of your own. From September to June, a nearby church offers $5 concerts every Wednesday at noon. It's inexpensive, lovely, something I look forward to on a regular basis. Best of all, it's not in my house.
6) Meet interview subjects, interns/researchers and editors in person
On a six-week trip to Australia and New Zealand, covering the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, I spent my 10-12 hour workdays in a T-shirt and shorts, clambering in and out of 60-foot racing yachts. I toured 110-foot boats under construction, got soaked with sea-spray in Sydney harbor. By being around the small, tightly-knit yachting community for a month, I also met a wide array of new sources and picked up story ideas being in the right place at the right time.
My writing, my soul and my Rolodex are richer as a result.