I don’t just write for fun. Somehow I actually get paid by more than one organization to put words on a screen. And quite nicely, I might add. Writing has always come naturally to me. I even won a story contest in elementary school around the movie E.T. I was featured in the paper and won — wait for it — a stuffed miniature E.T. doll. I’m legit, yo.
I’ve always loved words. And while my dictionary wasn’t quite as marked up as Diane Court’s in Say Anything, I have not-so-fond memories of looking up words all throughout high school and college to better enhance my assignments. Seriously, Roget’s thesaurus was my bible. I still look things up to this day (damn you Words with Friends).
But I digress. Somehow, even though I went to school for art, I came out of school with an awareness that I’m a much better writer than an artist. See Mom and Dad, all that money wasn’t wasted drinking and partying. It definitely took me a few years to find my niche, which began as B2B marketer for television, and then it took me getting fired/making them fire me, so I could go freelance as a writer and truly find what I love and what I’m damn good at. I owe ABC Family everything for being an awful experience that told me I never want to work full-time in an office that didn’t appreciate creativity ever again.
So many people had encouraged me to go freelance but it’s terrifying. Luckily, I was married at the time, so there was another income, but we needed my income too, so it wasn’t like I could just take it easy. I needed to hustle and get myself out there. In the beginning you take whatever you can get, working for people you can’t stand and doing things you don’t want to do. But you need a body of work and so you suck it up. Then I was fortunate enough to find a maternity-leave fill-in position at Nickelodeon which probably cemented my current career. I worked 4 days in the office for what was supposed to be 4 months, but it went so well I stayed for 9. Then I got work from other areas at Viacom and then took my current role at Catalyst, in a small part-time capacity. But I knew it would guarantee me income and some benefits. One maternity-leave position led to another, my again-current role at House Party which has also changed throughout the years. Both jobs at HP and Catalyst have been going on 4+ years and both have evolved in scope, hours, role and income.
But what hasn’t changed is my ability to work on diverse projects and do them mostly on my own time and schedule. Both jobs have always treated me like an adult. No one micro-manages me or checks up on me. My work gets done when it needs to get done. And because I work from home often, this means working around workouts, laundry, child care issues and grocery shopping. My life is truly my own and I am so thankful every day that I can do what I do and make a living.
With so much in the news about work-life balance, I’m so fortunate to have carved out what works for me.
Does it get overwhelming sometimes? Of course. Do I sometimes feel like I can’t get it all done? Of course? But when I know that I can log off at 5pm (or earlier), that I can skip out during the day to get to CrossFit, that I can run to the grocery store, that I can spend time with Mr. Delicous and still get my job done, it’s worth all that and more. Balance is whatever it means for you. No one will ever be truly balanced. Some days it’s more work and some days it’s more personal. All things can’t be equal. And that’s perfectly ok.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am so I don’t have to work hard anymore. I work smarter, not harder. And for me, it’s the perfect balance.