One of the phrases you’ll hear frequently at a romance writers’ conference is, “work in my jammies aaaaaaall day long!” MANY best selling authors cite that privilege as one of the great perks of writing success. Those on the aspiring end of the continuum will list it right up there next to being home when the kids get off the bus.
I must admit, I am more creative when I’m wearing my play clothes. I sit before my computer, a temple of comfy. In hot weather, this means a fan aimed directly at ME, my person clad in my fave nightie or plaid jammies, and my feet in well cushioned slides. At my feet, two very large dogs monitor my job performance moment by moment, and several cats handle the upper management task from the top of the fridge.
Too many years of adhering to the dress code mandated by “courtroom attire,” means every day I don’t have suit up and put on my lawyer clothes feels a little therapeutic, a morsel of my identity ransomed from the day job. Ten years into the writing gig, and I’m still grateful it’s a stay home, wear your play clothes job.
Though this week, I had to meet with my accountant, and the news was not good. I knew going in that we were talking about the sort of tax consequences that result when you publish a book a month for a year, but are too busy keeping up with that schedule to stay on top of all the revenue ramifications. I can deal with numbers–I’m not stoopid–but relative to the pleasure and ease I take with words… GAH. I reach input overload very quickly with Mr. Accountant.
I got dressed up, for me. Business casual for some people, but quite presentable by writer’s standards. Wore my hair down, and I hadn’t realized it reaches below my waist again. My efforts on the tread desk meant my clothes fit a little better than they had the last time I put them on, and what do you know… dressing like a grown-up once in a while isn’t all bad.
I had some confidence going into that meeting, some calm, some determination to deal with business in a businesslike manner. I might have reached the same outcomes wearing my yoga pants, slides and T-shirt… but maybe not. Readers judge books by their covers (publishers count on them to do that, too), and I was judged a businesswoman in that meeting because I looked the part–and I felt it, too.
When do you dress the part, when do you rebel against dressing the part? Are there wardrobe elements you regard as part of your special regalia, that bolster your confidence or identity on the tough days?
To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of “Matthew–The Jaded Gentleman, Book II,” wherein our heroine is trying very much to dress the part… while our hero has a different wardrobe agenda entirely.