When I worked full time in an office, I loved my lunch break. Most of the time I would pack a lunch and go to a park and read. I loved when I worked in Cornelius, because it was a short drive from our office to a public access at Lake Norman. While I sometimes had to fight off the geese, it was so relaxing to just sit and look at the water. In Greensboro, I frequented Latham Park. Or I would just eat in the car and window shop at Friendly Center. The point was, I escaped the office noise and chaos and found somewhere quiet and calm.

Now I work from home, and I have absolute quiet all day long. And it seems the opposite is true. Instead of wanting to eat my lunch in silence with a good book, I want to go out and talk with people! I don’t do it often, but when I do make plans to meet someone for lunch, it is such a great boost to my morale. In an office, you constantly have a group of people to talk with about things clients do that bother you, bounce off ideas of potential sources for articles or ask advice on how to edit a tricky paragraph. Working from home, there’s no one but you. It can be very isolating.

I have been lucky that the past two Mondays I was able to go out to lunch with two friends who provide a chance for me not only to talk about what new fall TV shows are the best to watch or what books we’re reading, but to have conversations about editing styles, networking possibilities and administrative issues that arise as a freelancer. Each time, I came away rejuvenated, motivated and refreshed.

We freelancers might not like to admit it, but it’s the nature of the game to get down once in a while. When you finish a big project and there’s no assignment looming on the horizon, it’s easy to question your choices and let the self-doubt start to creep in. So my philosophy is, it’s important for my sanity to continue to foster relationships with my peers. Especially since I am working from home, alone, in a quiet house, with only the dogs to talk to. For me, that means making plans to meet up with friends for lunch once in a while. But it can also be as simple as a phone call or an email. Or following someone’s blog that gets you out of your mind and gives you a break in the day. I read Kevin Coupe’s Morning News Beat almost every day, not only because the retail information helps keep me up to date with some issues that I still write about, but because I like his outlook on the news and pop culture. When the water cooler banter is absent, you have to find a replacement!