Writers’ dilemma: Cell phone vs. Landline


Save for myself, all the members of my immediate family have — at one point in time — reduced their telephony devices to their wireless mobiles only. That is, they gave up their landlines and the expenses involved therein in the belief that, since they almost always use only their cell phones, there was no reason to maintain a separate, clunky desktop appliance that would only gather dust.

Of course, as it now stands, all of them eventually ended up going back to the dual-phone system. They have landlines and mobile phones, although they still continue to use the latter almost exclusively. I never made the jump myself, but after having listened to their arguments both before and after the shift, I’ve decided that, as a freelance writer with her own business, having both in my house is critical for a smoother and more productive workflow.

As far as I can tell, the only real advantage of eliminating a landline is the elimination of its attendant cost. At the moment I’m paying Bresnan about $25+/month for my digital phone line. If it wasn’t bundled into a package with my cable and broadband Internet, it would likely be a few dollars more, but not by much.

The advantages, however, of having both a landline and cell phone are numerous:

  1. No matter how vigilant and responsible you may be about keeping your cell charged at all times, inevitably there will come a time or two or more when you’ll find it D-E-A-D. It’s happened to me more often than not, and having a landline is critical in making sure you get your editor’s phone call or when you’re in the middle of a very long interview.
  2. Having a cell phone + landline means that you can dedicate at least one of them (usually your personal cell) to your writing business. Sure, your family and friends will probably still try and dial your cell number if they can’t reach you at home, but if you want to make sure that you’re not interrupted at dinner by a business call, you can just switch off your mobile and let all your business calls go to voicemail. Plus, if you do use your cell exclusively for business, you might be able to deduct its associated costs on your income tax return, something you can’t do if you only use one line for both personal and business communications. (Remember that I’m not a tax professional, though, so make sure you consult with one before you make any assumptions on your returns.)
  3. Sometimes, for no earthly reason, cell phone signals just die. I once lived in an apartment at the bottom of a small hill in the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. You’d think that, being smack dab in the middle of a huge metropolis like that, I would have no problems getting a cell signal, but you’d be wrong. I was stuck in a two-year service contract with Sprint at the time (T-Mobile signals were clear in the area), so I couldn’t switch to another provider. But even here in Grand Junction, where cell signals are fairly strong throughout most of the Valley, I get a bad signal dialing out of my own home. When you’re trying to chat up with an editor or an important interviewee, it can be really annoying and unprofessional to try and yell your way through the conversation. Having a backup landline phone can be a lifesaver in that kind of situation.
  4. This is related to Reason #1: Unless you have Unlimited Minutes — which are very expensive on most plans — you can find yourself going over your alloted plan and ringing up ridiculous per-minute charges as you merrily chat away in interviews. As I mentioned I have landline digital phone service through Bresnan, which not only allows unlimited long distance at any time of day or night, it also includes calls to Mexico and Canada. That’s even better than my cell phone plan — which costs roughly the same — because it doesn’t limit me to evening and weekend hours.
  5. Again, related to Reason #1: Landlines let you talk for however long you need to without having to worry about your phone dying in the middle of it. I once had a lengthy, two-hour chat with a New York Times bestselling novelist as part of a profile of her for a newspaper. Now, my cell phone could have handled that load, but not much more than that. Had I another interview or series of phone calls to make immediately afterwards, my service would have died, possibly in the middle of a critical call. With a landline always at the ready, I never have to worry about that.

Perhaps the only thing to worry about with landlines is that, with the increasingly popular digital phone services, you’re at the mercy of one provider. If your Internet is down, for example, your cable and your phone line will be down as well. In the olden days, you could often count on your phone to keep working even if the power went out. Not so with digital phones, which most often require electricity to work. Still, that’s a relatively rare occurrence in most medium- to small-sized cities, and even when it does happen, it’s usually for very brief periods of time.

That’s when having that cell phone comes in very, very handy.

By the way, I’m now on the lookout for corded telephones. Remember those? We have two cordless phones around the house, but there have been situations where an important phone conversation was dropped because of a dying battery. And of course, it happens when I’m chatting with an editor and not with some annoying telemarketer. A corded telephone will hopefully prevent that from happening in the future. Unfortunately, however, the selection of corded phones on the consumer market is now very, very small. Will post more once I’ve made my selection.

5 thoughts on “Writers’ dilemma: Cell phone vs. Landline

  1. Hi, Ate Marj! Miss na kita! Back to school na ako ulit! Ok naman po, hindi ko na ate kinuha ang Nursing, special education na po ako, kasi gusto ko talaga malapit pa’rin sa Psychology! Ingat po! Sana ate magka-baby ka na.. Para ninang ako!Lagi ko pa’rin binabasa yung blog mo! Hindi lang ako makapag-comment, hindi ako maka-relate! Hehe!! Siguro, I wasn’t born to be a writer talaga.Goodluck with your novel! Sana pag na-published at best seller na, may copy din ako with autograph pa!Ingat poLove,Aizelle

  2. Hi, Aizelle! Ay,salamat at sumulat ka rin sa ‘kin! 😉 At nakakatuwa naman na nakabalik ka sa school. I’m glad talaga, kasi gusto kong makita kang mag-graduate, ha? Sana naman makakapunta ka dito sa States kahit bakasyon lang — dito ka na lang sa ‘min titigil.Anyway, kuwento mo naman sa ‘kin yung nangyayari sa school mo. Nasa Manila ka na ba? Ano ang snail mail address mo? Saan ka nakatira ngayon? Full-time student ka ba?Kumusta naman yung writing mo? Okay, just write to me, ‘insan, k? Great to hear from you!love,Ate Marj

  3. Hi, Ate Marj! Kadadating ko lang galing school. Ay hindi pala, galing akong Divisoria, bumili ako ng uniform ko. Nakakapagod!! Next week ma-aasign na ako sa Sped school para mag-observe.. Excited na ako!! At full-time student na’din ako ate! Pero maganda yung schedule ko kasi hanggang 2:30 pm lang. Tapos yung 2 subjects ko mag-isa lang ako, wala akong classmates. 2 lang kasi kami nag-enroll ng SPED ngayon. Nakakalungkot lang kasi wala akong friends sa school. Tapos sa bahay mag-isa lang ako, gabi na sila umuuwi- may multo pa yata! Creepy!! May naririnig akong naglalakad sa hagdan!!!Ate, mag-apply ulit ako ng trabaho para at least hindi sayang yung time ko. Meron na sana ate, ayaw pumayag ni kuya.. malayo daw kasi, dun sa Dela Costa, malapit kay Belo.. Online- teacher sana ako dun! Sayang!!!Sana nga ate makapag-bakasyon ako dyan at dyan talaga ako pupunta sa’yo. Guguluhin kita!! Siguro after college, I swear.. I’ll make that happen! Bigla na lang ako bubulaga sa’yo!! HAha!Here’s my mailing address:BLDG 24 D20, GSIS Metrohomes Anonas St. Sta Mesa Manila.. yun!Ate, ano yung mailing address mo? Kasi yung christmas cards mo di ko na napadala sa’yo. Ang ganda pa naman nung binili ko. Colorful- parang ako! Sige po! Ingat! Love,Aizelle

  4. Dear <>Aizelle<>, hello! Padala ka naman ng picture with your bagong uniform, ha? By the way, saan ka nga ba nag-aaral? I forget. Are you posting on your blog? I hope na you keep it updated. I want to hear more about your thoughts and life!(I assume na SPED means Special Ed?) Mabuti at yun ang kinukuha mo. Talagang in-demand yan dito. Sana makakakuha ka ng trabaho dito. Gusto mo bang mag-emigrate dito? Alam ko naman na close ka sa pamilya mo.Sayang naman yung trabaho! Sounds interesting! Akala ko nakatira ka sa Makati, sa ate mo?Sana nga na makabakasyon uli kami diyan soon. Siguro naman though na sa susunod na taon na lang, hopefully kasama ang Kuya Brian mo. I’ll send you my mailing address via email, okay?love,Ate M.

  5. Hi, Ate! yeah, Special education nga ate yung kinukuha ko ngayon. Yun talaga kinukuha ko kasi gusto ko umalis dito, tsaka ako na lang ang only hope ni mommy. Naaawa naman ako sa kanya. Si daddy may sakit sa puso na pero di lang niya pinapakita na nahihirapan siya. Kaya I have to be responsible in every desicions that I’ll make, and sana maganda yung magiging outcome ng mga decisions that I’m having right now.Yung blog ko ate, updated naman, restricted blog lang siya recently kasi may nagbabasa ng blog ko na ayoko basahin niya mga sinusulat ko. Example na dun si ate Aizza. At marami pang iba. Pero di ka kasama dun ate ha. Alam mo naman lahat tungkol sa’kin.Btw, sa Arellano University po ako nag-SPED kasi CEU lang at Arellano yung meron. Sa CEU super mahal ang tuition. Kaya dun na lang po.Ingat ka ate! Sana gumaling na yung Ulcerative Colitis mo! Good luck sa trip niyo ni kuya Brian sa Singapore! Sabi ko sa’yo ate eh, lagi akong updated sa’yo! HAha!Love,Aizelle

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