A benefit and a drawback of writing and editing and blogging at home is the tendency — my tendency — to fall prey to The Pajama Syndrome. TPS is common among writers, both aspiring and published, although with the advent of Skype, TPS rates have decreased somewhat with book club authors, from what I’ve heard. It’s easy to cozy up with the laptop and write, plaid flannel pants with a thread of silver sparkle make an excellent base for a lap desk. The quiet I need to write well — oh hell — to even write poorly — seems more likely with morning hair, even if it’s noon.
Or so I thought.
While much of my writing has been done while donning slippers and drinking coffee (pumpkin spice today, it’s finally Fall) sometimes the tranquil nature of stretchy clothes is counterproductive. Sometimes I want to look the part of the professional even if no one is going to see me. Granted, I can pretend I’m all spiffed up if I’m on the phone with a client, but it’s sort of like false advertising. To myself. I know the clients don’t care if I read and edit their work at 5am in a Snuggie (after all, it IS a leopard print Snuggie) but sometimes, I care. And sometimes it’s better to talk the talk AND walk the walk. Even if I’m walking alone.
Back in September when I was scheduled to appear on Annmarie Lockhart’s Fifteen Minutes of Poetry on BlogTalk Radio, not to talk about poetry, but to talk about fiction, I decided it was time to look the part. I blew dry my hair, put on jeans and a tee (I have my limits) and even *GASP* a pair of — wait for it — shoes! What I liked most of all that when I looked in the mirror I thought that I could actually be talking to someone in person, face to face, IRL, and saying the same things the same way. I didn’t expect that to happen — and because I have dogs I did cordon myself off in my bedroom to be on the show. And when I was on Curtis Sliwa’s radio show in 2009, I stood in the bathroom. There are just a few things even a coiffed do and a glossy lip can’t cure. My
annoying rambunctious dogs are two of them.
I think I could have pulled off the interview even in my pj’s — because it was fun talking to Annmarie — and because I am always willing and eager to talk about writing craft and my own work to other writers and I’m thinking I’m more likely to be believable to myself when I look in the mirror and see the professional me. It’s a good reminder that while lovely prose and snappy dialogue are not predicated on the fashion-sense of the author, those of us who work alone – at home – can also use the confidence a good hair day imbues.
So, how do you know when you’re too deep in TPS? Perhaps when your sixteen year old daughter gets in the car after school and asks, “Why are you so dressed up?” The fact that you happen to be wearing jeans and black long-sleeved T-shirt is not lost on you. You ask, “Why do you say I’m dressed up?” And she says, “You’re wearing a necklace.”
Indeed, I was.