This afternoon I had the great pleasure of interviewing best-selling author, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, writer of 26 fiction and non-fiction books and all-round lovely person. Joanna also has a podcast under the same name where she interviews experts on all aspects of writing, publishing and marketing books – essential listening for all aspiring authors.
Like me she works from her home office and has successfully overcome the challenges of isolation, productivity and working with Jonathan, her significant other.
In this interview we talk about how she started writing in 2006 and left her corporate life in 2011. She shares her home office with her husband but works in a local cafe in Bath from 7am when it opens until about 10am.
She talks about how her experience of chronic back pain led her to write The Healthy Writer with Dr Euan Lawson. She advises people who sit in front of a computer all day to get up and move as often as possible. She uses a standing desk and sits on a Swiss ball at home and when out and about has a laptop riser and external keyboard to ensure optimal posture.
Although a self-proclaimed introvert, she recommends mixing up your working environment and meeting up with other like-minded, home-based entrepreneurs to ensure you're not suffering the negative impacts of isolation. Joanna has made invaluable connections by going to conferences as both a speaker and an attendee.
She outlines the seriousness of bolstering your own self-esteem when working from home. Giving yourself a pat on the back when you hit your goals keeps up the motivation. Unlike working in an office with colleagues where you can share the latest gossip or chat about last night's TV, being on your own at home means not only are you alone for much of the day but also you may miss the validation of your work from others.
Joanna refers to the importance of setting boundaries with your family and establishing roles around the home for tasks such as shopping, cooking and cleaning. Don't allow disputes over these activities marr your relationships. Sorting out the ‘friction' points and scheduling your time together is the secret to maintaining a successful personal and working relationship. She goes on to talk about how she plans her work with Jonathan. As directors of their company, they have weekly planning meetings and longer quarterly strategic meetings.
When it comes to outsourcing, Joanna has help from virtual assistants as well as a bookkeeper and accountant. She advises people who work from home to learn a raft of new skills which may be out of their comfort zone. In particular, online marketing, social media, public speaking and being interviewed.
She has demonstrated that her passion and dedication to her craft and the business of writing is a recipe for success. I for one will be reading more of her books and recommend you do too.
Joanna Penn's Books
You can find all Joanna's books on Amazon.