Working from home…or just not working? by Jo Platt || Blog Tour

Jo Platt has written a lovely guest post for my blog today to promote her new book It was You which I am currently reading and enjoying!


Alice, Miriam and Lydia had been inseparable since they first met at Bristol University. They knew they would be friends until they were old and grey but as life’s events take hold it gets harder and harder to keep in touch. When Miriam has a baby she persuades everyone to set up The Short Book Group so they maintain contact. But then Lydia becomes ill and suddenly Alice and Miriam are forced to face a very different future.

Fast-forward three years and Alice has been happily single for some time after having her heart broken by a lying ex-boyfriend. But when her best friends in The Short Book Group offer their match-making skills, she decides to take the plunge and start dating again. From a handsome pathologist with a penchant for battle re-enactment to suave businessman with a beautiful car, Alice is unindated with prospective suitors. But things soon unravel as she uncovers the secret heartache, calculating lies and hidden hopes of those closest to her. And her most surprising discovery is the life-changing truth which she has kept hidden even from herself

Can Alice face up to her own shocking secret – even if it means hurting those closest to her?

I leave you with that and Jo Platt’s own writing, about writing! Enjoy!

Working from homeor just not working? The writer’s guide

By Jo Platt

Today, I am, self-evidently, writing a blog piece about working from home.  My main problem, up until now, has been how to fit writing it in between washing my whites, drinking tea, scouring the internet for celebrity gossip, eating three mini Toffee Crisps, phoning Rosemary to see what we’re doing for Sally’s birthday, drinking more tea (because my mouth was very dry after all those Toffee Crisps) and moving the guinea pigs to a fresh patch of lawn.  In short, I am facing the daily battle of how to juggle work with all the procrastinating I’ve got to do.

And independent procrastination is just one of the obstacles I face whilst working from home.  Third-party assisted procrastination is also a problem.  Because although my friends are aware that I now write books for a living, very few of them seem able, or willing, to accept that making stuff up all day actually qualifies as ‘working’.  So it’s not unusual for one of them to knock when passing on a day off, just to see how I’m getting on with ‘not working’.  And, of course, I have to answer the door and invite them in for a mini Toffee Crisp and a cup of tea, because to do anything else would simply be rude, wouldn’t it?

Of some comfort, even if it’s slightly on the cold side, is the fact that at least I’m not alone in my struggle to work effectively and efficiently from home.  One friend’s very expensive solution was to build an office in his garden, away from all the daily distractions of the house.  Unfortunately, over time (less than twenty-four hours) his new office simply became a miniature replica of his kitchen, complete with kettle, radio, magazines and all the other mesmerizing baubles he was attempting to escape.  And another friend confided that, after reaching the nadir of polishing his door furniture (he insisted this was not a euphemism) instead of proof-reading a magazine article, he has now given up trying to work either from home, or indeed anywhere near home, and opted instead for renting serviced office facilities at a cost of around £150 per month.

Building a posh shed in the garden, or shelling-out for a downtown printer and desk are not options I really want to consider.  This is partly due to cost, but mainly due to the fact that the former is already a proven failure and the latter comes free with fellow hot-deskers and a tea machine which are, for me, perfect distractions just waiting to happen.  And besides, I did for a while find the perfect, no cost, solution to my problem.   Roofers.  Yes, my top tip if you have problems focusing whilst working from home, is to simply arrange for your house to be completely encased in scaffolding, from which roofers can, without warning, appear at any window of your home and catch you skiving.  It is the perfect deterrent to lounging on the sofa in your tea-stained, Dr Spock dressing gown, scoffing mini Toffee Crisps while reading the Daily Mail online.  The roofers only caught me the once, but once was enough.  After that, I was fully clothed every morning by 8am and there was nothing on my screen except the stuff I had made up myself, as opposed to the stuff made up by the Daily Mail.  All naughty chocolate or social media-related lapses were from then on confined to our windowless downstairs loo.  OK, so I did spend a lot more time in there over a four-week period than is usual for someone with a perfectly functioning colon, but overall I got a lot more done with the roofers on board than I did without them monitoring my every move.

But all good things must come to an end and, sadly, the roofers and scaffolding have now gone and I am once more forced to seek alternative methods of resisting the call of the kettle and the cookie jar.  And this morning my solution to the problem of working from home is simply not to.  I am, in fact, typing this final paragraph from the freezing discomfort of my Mini Cooper, which is currently parked on an all-but-deserted side road of the Bristol Downs.   A drastic solution, I grant you, but, as I close this post, the approach has proved to be a successful one.  With no kettles, no Toffee Crisps, no wifi and no well-meaning friends to distract me, I have completed the piece in just an hour or two when, under normal circumstances, work on it might have extended into the New Year.  Instead, all that now remains to be done is a little proof-reading, which won’t take me long at all.  And I shall get on with that just as soon as I’ve eaten these fruit pastilles I’ve just found in the map rack, and then popped all those loose CDs from the glove compartment back into their correct cases and tidied up the back seat.  Or maybe, first, just a two-minute leg stretch.  In the direction of the café might be nice

It Was You was published by Canelo on 31st October price £1.99 as an ebook. Visit or follow #ItWasYou on Twitter.

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