Wednesday 8 September 2021


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When I decided to make Bastionland into a full-time career, practically everybody I told said the same thing.

"Aah, I bet you'll go crazy working on your own all day!"

I boasted that I'm a misanthropic hermit, and working alone sounds like a dream! Though I did plan on using coworking spaces for the occasional change of scenery. 

Then March 2021 came to an end, along with my previous job, and suddenly I was working from home but also so was practically every other person in the country.

So all those conversations faded into irrelevance. I was sharing a workspace with my partner, and there were much bigger isolation-based fears to tackle beyond my workday.

Over a year later, and we still both work from home, albeit in separate rooms. We sneak coffee breaks together and the occasional walk around the block, and talk about our day as we prepare dinner. 

But I must confess, I do miss having colleagues. 

I've always loved having time to myself, but looking back on previous jobs I hadn't realised quite how much I enjoyed relied on having somebody there doing the same thing as you. Somebody to complain with about that rude customer. Another person that's annoyed by an unreliable supplier. A familiar face to ask for help when you can't remember where that shared file is stored.

At the risk of shattering any remaining doubt of my uncoolness, I actually quite enjoyed those sprawling strategy meetings and weekly catchups. Maybe four people. Somebody to give the spark of an idea you wouldn't have had alone, or perhaps turn your own half-joked suggestion into something viable. Yeah, some meetings were hell, but only I'm pining for the good bits.

Now, like so many others, I'm working solo. And not just remote, but literally the only employee of the company. I've had collaborators, I have other designers that I can ping for a chat, and lots of social media contacts to reach out to, but it's not the same. 

When I started this job I spoke to my partner about creating a little discord server for people working in similar situations, a sort of UK RPG water cooler, but everything I've seen from social media over the last year has put me off that idea. That shared complaint about a bad customer can take on an ugly new form when you digitise the negativity. It needs real air to dissipate. Screens trap it below the glass, turning rotten. 

Maybe I'll take a walk instead.


  1. Humans are social beings. During this time, we are more "connected" than ever, but it's just not the same. It's good to have people to talk to.

  2. Taking a walk is a good thing. When I became an independent contractor the best part was having control of my own time. No more being trapped behind a desk for set hours of time. I gained the flexibility of going to the store when I wanted and, yes, taking walks when I wanted to.

    On my walks I get face time with other people, even in passing. You can smile at each other for a second.

    The real bonus is the 5 minute face to face conversation with your neighbor that probably wouldn't have happened. It's healthy. Socially and physically. Take a walk when you can.

  3. If you've got Teams or Zoom are there no other UK writers you could have a weekly chat with? Or have one channel open all work-day and writers can drop in and out?

    It's more like face-to-face that way, rather than discord.

    1. Yeah I'm definitely not ruling anything out, in spite of the slightly gloomy tone at the end of this piece!