Leaping Forward With Both Feet

A lot of you were asking about my writing life and career-y stuff in the survey last week. And the reason I haven’t been talking about it tons lately is because I’ve been sorting it all out on my end. Lots and lots of sorting.

Since I quit my non-career-oriented office job in July, so many life things have happened, it threw me for a bit of a loop at first and I had to work at sorting it all out. At first, working from home was awesome. I felt productive, I wasn’t bored, I would get up and go go go. I was writing and working and making our quality of life better. I felt motivated and happy. But when we got back from the honeymoon and I was sick for a few weeks, and things were kind of derailed. I lost my routine and I hated being sick for so long and my motivation suffered. When my motivation falls by the wayside I tend to beat myself up a lot. Why aren’t I working harder? Why am I being so lazy? Why can’t I just DO IT. I am hard on myself even when my body is yelling at me that it needs rest, or a change, or a minute to sort things out. This happens to many of you post wedding, and the feelings I had were no different except they were 100% career focused. And that freaked me out.

So about 6 weeks after the wedding, when I was still struggling with a solid direction to head in, I realized I was super unhappy. I don’t like working from home, in fact I hate it. It’s incredibly lonely, and I constantly felt like I wasn’t not doing enough, and it felt just like when you have homework to do, but you’re on vacation and it’s constantly hanging over your head. Things like writing emails or even writing on here became a huge burden and a chore. Every time I picked up my computer it felt like work, even when it wasn’t, and I could never escape the office because I was always there.

And that’s when I knew I needed a new direction. Not everything you try works, and this I needed to be ok with. The only problem was I wasn’t sure where to head next, I just knew I needed to stay career focused and I wasn’t out to get “just any job”. I’ve never been able to afford to be picky before, and though by “afford” I mean barely scraping by, I was going to take advantage of the positives in our situation. So I applied for every social media marketing/writing/editing/publishing job I could get my hands on. If I had to build my own career, then dammit I was going to get it done. I knew 2 things for sure: I can write anything in any voice you want me faster than the next guy, and if I’m enthusiastic about a product (regardless of what it is), I can sell the shit out of it.

I know that there are a lot (and by a lot I mean few in comparison to the MASSES) of writers in the world who are lucky enough to be able to write what they want, to be able to live in a creative space most of the time, and to focus on personal projects as their main source of income. I would eventually like to be clumped into that category, but at this point in time I am focused on being employed in a position where I’m dealing with words all day, where I feel challenged and where I’m able to see a future and use the experiences I’m gaining as stepping stones.

And finally, after months of applications, I have a job that starts in the new year! I’ll be writing content for Priceline (Oh William Shatner) about something I love (Travel!), and it’ll be the normal, boring 9-5 (or whatever my hours may be), and I’ll be in an office building where I get to wear real people clothes, and chat with real office people at the water cooler, and get a real paycheck twice a month, and I am crazy person grateful and crazy person excited.

I have a job! Where I will be writing every day!! It’s amazing.

And as far as creative stuff – I’ve started re-writing my novel. And not like “oh yeah, I should get to that,” but really re-working it, starting from a different place, totally different point of view, moving in a direction I think is truly viable. And the best part about all of this is the ability to separate what happens at home (the creative stuff) and what happens at work (the challenging, business minded stuff that isn’t directly for me, but for an audience outside of me). I’ve learned tons about myself and how I work best in the last year. And when my spheres all collide I get very befuddled and stop any forward momentum. I feel so much energy and hope for this new adventure, and I’m so glad you’re coming along with me.

20 thoughts on “Leaping Forward With Both Feet”

  1. A) NEW JOB CONGRATS YAY!
    B) It takes a lot of guts to realize the path you’ve chosen for yourself isn’t working out. Kudos to you for reworking it.
    C) AWESOME that you’ve started re-working the novel. I must get on board with this.

    1. I think I did love it, but I need more stimulation. Plus it felt like kamel got to get up and go everyday while I was being left behind… Very odd feeling.

  2. You already know this, but … happy dances all around! Super, super proud of you for realizing what you need … and what you don’t … and DOING it, without beating yourself up over it. Big things, lady!

  3. Lauren, congrats!! That sounds amazing! I too think I would be terrible at working from home. I am really excited to hear more about your new job when it starts! Writing about travel sounds like a dream come true. Best wishes for all the New Year will bring to you and Kamel! πŸ™‚

  4. I am so so happy for you, congrats on the new job and on fresh new starts πŸ™‚
    Also I totally know that feeling of being at home, and feeling “useless” and all the uncertainty (normally get it after a week of”vacations” or in periods when I was looking for a job / internship / in between) . It definitely changes your mood to get out every morning , to actually contribute to society (not that you were not doing it as a writer, at home, which you totally are) and yeah, there is some real motivation in the paycheck as much as I hate to admit it…. (would love to be a 100 % hippie person living of air, but I like to be able to economically contribute to our home…)

  5. It sounds like we were both feeling the same way about the transition to working from home! It is definitely not an easy transition to make – and is a HUGE adjustment. I’m glad you figured out what you needed to make yourself happy and to feel challenged! XO! πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for writing about this! I think working at home is a dream for a lot of people, but I pretty much crashed and burned when I stayed home this summer. It’s so hard to admit when something isn’t working and change course so you get major points for that! I think I could work from home if I still worked for someone else (who would impose deadlines on me) or if I could work for myself in some sort of public office space.

    1. For the majority of my working from home stint I was also working for APW with lots of daily and weekly deadlines, and that still lead to the feeling of procrastination and never ever ever being done with work. For those who can work and be successful at home, I tipmly hat to you… Whoever you are.

  7. Lauren, I’m so happy for you. Congratulations on your new job. I’m sure this will be a very rewarding adventure. I cannot wait to read your novel. Love ya and miss ya.

  8. I am soo excited for you. All your hard work emotionally and physically paid off. And had you not made the decisions you made this year, and tried the whole work from home thing, you would have never known. That is so awesome that you grew from the experience and learned so much about yourself. Cheers to 2012!! Xo.

  9. Lauren, congratulations! First, one trying something you thought would work and recognizing that this wasn’t a great fit. Second, on finding a job in a tough job market. Third, for recognizing what makes you feel validated and productive. So much growing!

    2012 is going to be awesome!

  10. For some reason our society so worships this working from home idea. I am a barista at a cafe inside a building that is full of small rentable offices. Almost every time I realize I have a new regular and I get his or her story of why they decided to get a spot in our building, it’s this story. I can’t tell you how many people hate working from home… or loved it at first and then crashed and burned and needed another place to go everyday and more people to see. I am definitely one of those people too.

    So excited for your new gig, Lauren! Congrats πŸ™‚

    1. This is exactly it. I think we undervalue social interaction st work, and the productivity that happens once you get dressed for your day vs having no where in particular you have to be.

  11. SHUT UP!

    AAAAAAAHHHH.

    I’m so excited for you!!! And proud and impressed by how you were able to identify what wasn’t working and make a change. That is no small achievement!

    But lets talk priceline! So cool! Says the girl secretly stalking jobs at jetsetter. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  12. My company lets me work from home two days a week, and it is a great compromise – a couple pajama-clad, more relaxed days, and a few put-on-real-clothes, interact-with-others days. It works great for me.

    Good for you on figuring out what would work best for you, and making it happen!

  13. Congratulations Lauren! I’ve been curious about what was going on behind the scenes and I’m proud of you for taking the reins on this and getting a writing job!!!

  14. Congrats on the new job! And figuring out what you need, that’s no easy task.
    I really love the idea of working from home, but am pretty sure it wouldn’t work for me. Case in point, I’m having a houseful of people over tonight and when am I cleaning the house? Yup, in the space between when I get home, and when they arrive. I don’t do well when left to my own devices.

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