When I decided to start my career as a professional writer six years ago, I thought of being able to work from anywhere I want. And, true, even right now I often work away from my office. I spend approximately three days a week working at a local coffee shop since I have to meet either clients or business partners fairly regularly. Therefore, my writing is done mostly when I am away at the office. I also used to work from home but soon I realized I could not do much stuff at home due to unpredictable distractions (that includes my cats and of course, pillows).

So, people who are around me easily notice how I carry my laptop every day. I even have a secret compartment at my car to hide my laptop (I’m paranoid, yes, I know). I bring the laptop to my vacation, not because I still have work left but because I am afraid that I have to do an impromptu presentation (heck, we don’t know who we are going to meet at vacation — a future client, perhaps) or urgent deadline… which only happened twice in my entire six-year career.

Yeah, I’m paranoid.

Have you slept with your laptop on the bed almost every night? Yep, that was me until two years ago. I had a habit to check my team’s works from the laptop and read news on the industry right before I went to sleep. It was the only convenience to put my laptop next to me on my bed (my ex-boyfriends complained about it a lot, but I always won the argument ha!). However, as the work becomes more and more demanding, my relationship with my laptop got worse.

I had a hard time being away from my laptop during the weekend. I always had this urgent need to open my laptop and re-checked all works. I became so obsessed with finding typos, wrong grammar, or other possible errors. I was never satisfied with my writing piece to the point that I didn’t think any of my work was good enough.

My Laptop has become a symbol of long, tedious hours of work, work, work. A burden. I hated seeing my own laptop. Yet, I refused to take a break from my laptop.

Until last year. I have had enough; my habit was not healthy for my mind. I decided to switch my laptop to a small notebook with a good pen to write things down. I stop carrying my laptop anywhere and make peace with my work. Well, I still carry it during weekdays (and days off if I still have work to do). I was reluctant at first, but I knew it was something that I had to do for the sake of my sanity (and personal relationship/life).

Now, it’s not that bad. I am gradually getting used to having notebooks instead of laptops. I also switched to a planner book to write down my schedules. Unexpectedly, I found the perks of using an old-fashioned way to write. It allows me to create mind-map and systematically sort my thoughts by scribbling down my ideas first. I could easily spot any flaw in my writing/thoughts. Although it takes more time to finish my writing as I have to copy what I’ve written on the notebook to the laptop, it works just fine for me.

As a writer, I have also learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, it’s okay to have a flaw in our works. Nothing perfect, but we are definitely getting better and better through more experiences. The most important thing is we should never stop learning and finding what works for us both in personal and professional life.

Cheers from me and my laptop (I don’t hate it now)!

Alamanda Hindersah