Now that I’m a freelance writer, there are a few rules that I have created for myself (or have been suggested to me by concerned citizens) in order to feel like my most successful self.

1. Put pants on. This is really important. Otherwise I find myself dancing around the house in XL heather gray sweatpants far too late in the day to pretend that I haven’t spent the majority of the day undressed. Just, really, put pants on.

2. Use the designated work space. I have one. It’s a great spacious table that gives me plenty of room to spread out, is surrounded by inspirational art and photography, and has a real chair. That I can sit in. No floor, couches, or worse, beds.

3. Make a schedule. This means getting up at the same time every day, drinking my coffee, eating breakfast and lunch at a normal time, and generally acting like a real person even though I don’t technically have to leave the house. Ever. Again.

4. Leave the house. It’s important to step outside and feel the air, stretch your legs, and avoid the feeling that you are a strange writing zombie starved not for brains but human company. Make appointments with friends and acquaintances for coffee and lunch. Schedule midday business meetings. There’s nothing worse than finding it’s four o’clock and you’re still in the same cramped position you were at the beginning of the day.

5. No television. Under any circumstances. Not even as background noise. That’s what music is for.