Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Working to Write

I been away for a while, I know.  I bet you want to know why, I have been working crazily on a new project.  My project coupled with school starting for all three kids has kept me so busy, I have not posted.  I have written, but not posted.  So I guess you want to know about the project that has kept me so engaged.  Well, I have been writing my resume.  Yes, you heard it.  My resume. I am going back to work. 

I have been out of the work force for over 5 years and made a secret pact with myself that I would never go back.  I chalked my distaste of a 9 to 5 up to my being one of those artistic types whose creativity was stifled by the establishment.  I worked only because I had to pay the bills, nothing more. 

So here I am five years later scouring online resources for jobs, working feverishly on my resume and dipping back into my network of working professionals.  My decision to go back to work came suddenly. I was cleaning out an old email account and saw that a close friend sent me a job announcement.   Without a thought, I opened it and minutes later the decision was happily made.

I am a writer. A writer who only recently buckled down and started taking craft and career seriously.   I know that at first glance getting a job seems counter intuitive.  How on earth can a traditional full time job fit into the life of a stay at home writer mom?   It actually makes just as much sense creatively as it does financially.  It erases my  "create for pay" need.

Several months ago I registered as a freelance writer on a variety of sites.  After picking the brains of many who went before me, I knew it was absolutely possible to bring in the income needed to help with our financial goals.  So for several weeks I did my research, created my "desk profiles" and read the available assignments with great fervor.  

It was after approximately 20 minutes of deep contemplation regarding approaching the opening of my first assignment that I realized I freelancing was not for me.  When I could not think another second about the wonders of bedazzled flip-flops, when I confessed to myself that I simply could not do it.  I could not do it. I could not write for grocery money.  I write what I write - when I write it.

At this stage of my game, I can no longer fit a square peg into a round hole.  For me,  freelancing is a round hole and I just don't fit.  Many do fit, they fit well and I can see why.   I had to finally accept the nagging realization that I don't want to write other people's stuff  - not even for money.  Being a freelancer, has NEVER been on my radar, but when I resigned myself to the fact that I had to bring in some real money, it seemed like a natural course. Well, it wasn't.  My fleeting attempt at freelancing was another lesson for me in self expression and self awareness.  Just as we writer mom have different parenting priorities, philosophies and styles, we also approach our craft differently.  I am going back to work, so that I can write what I want when I want.  If I have to make money so that we can reach our finanical goals, it can't be writing other people's stuff.  It really throws a wrench into the works of my creativity and inspiration.
I have developed a writing life, an imperfect one, but disciplined in my own way.  I am producing more than I ever have, and as I work and research, as I write and talk shop with others, I am getting better.  My growth my not be in leaps in bounds due to poopy pants, allergy attacks and mis-scheduled  Dr.'s appointments, but its there - I can see it and I can feel it.  My goals make take a little longer to accomplish as I invest this time of my life into my family and household.  But how long it takes matters less and less to me as I get older and the investment I am making is what gives me my inspiriation to create. Not just create, but to grow and be the writer I know I am. 

Strangely enough, as time means less to me, I get more accomplished.  Meaning, I get more done and I get better at what I do.  More accomplished.  I have let go of some of my writing "goals" and I have gotten down to the business of writing. I have also put the "what-ifs" of my writing in thier proper place, deciding not to deal with them before thier time.  I challenge myself to, "write the damn thing first, then do the mental gymnastics of who your publisher is going to be and how will you ever leave your kids for a book tour".  Why start, "what-iffing" before you have even let your idea manifest into a finished product?

I have gone through so much drama in my life that my new idea of success has nothing to do with Oprah or the New York Times.  I am successful as long as my peeps are happy and whole; people are reading and responding to what I write.  I am seccessful as long as I am disciplined, but not obsessed; and I am creating a body of work that represents me.  Yes, I look forward to the day when my work is flying off the Barnes & Noble shelves and people are asking me for submissions.  But for right now,  I am going to get a new desk job, pay off my debt, buy my house with the azalea filled yard and save for my babies college tuition, all the while knowing that I am a writer.


  1. Wow, CJ! You are so tapped into my brain. I hate to be redundant because I feel as if I've said this to you before, but as I read this I felt as if you were talking about me. The beautiful thing about writing for me, and I'm sure you will agree, is that I don't need a paycheck to feel fulfilled by it. I love the art of writing itself and getting paid for it would be just a bonus. Writing adds so much joy to the quality of my life that if I chose to write for a living it would have to be work that was true to my purpose.

  2. Good luck with the job search! I have really enjoyed being back at work myself. :)

  3. Hi! I am a new follower from the Mom Blogger's Club. I hope you can stop by and visit my blog.

    Have a great day!


  4. Absolutely beautiful. I am also trying freelancing out and wondering if it's the right move for me. You put your thoughts together in such a way that I wish I would have written it!!! Thank you for sharing!

  5. you are a brilliant writer and this was a beautiful post - such honesty and introspection (is that a word??) It's a hard thing to stay true to yourself and pay the bills. I look forward to helping your books fly off the shelves someday.

  6. Hi mama, following you from BM, love for you to visit me at and follow me too. Nice blog : )

  7. Boy, I could not have said it better for myself. I could not have it put it any better.. I too tried writing for pay and it maybe it was the subject but i could not get into it. Congrats on heading back to work and I'm happy for you.