Making Time for the Important Things

How Letting Go of What I Didn't Love Directed Me to Do What I Truly Love

I'm not sure where I went wrong, but for a while, I worked two jobs that I shouldn't have been working. These are two jobs extra besides my other two jobs of freelance writing and vintage clothing. 

A quote by Courtney Carver

I was working four different jobs alongside being a mom, wife, housekeeper, cook, and whatever else I missed here.

This isn't to say the jobs were bad. They weren't. In fact, they were very far from bad and actually improved my writing by leaps and bounds.

They helped me so much that I would recommend writers take these jobs if they want to be better writers.

So why was it both helpful and unhelpful?

Because I gave up my true love to do something I thought I should be doing rather than what I wanted to be doing. 

Turns out, there's a big difference between the two.

A few years ago, after feeling a little stuck in my writing, I picked up a magazine editorial position. Then a little bit after that, I picked up a social media writing position with a boutique social media marketing company.

Both jobs were amazing. I learned copious amounts of writing and editing skills that I thought I already had but didn't actually have. It empowered me to be a better writer.

But, a funny thing began to happen: the more I wrote for these other jobs, the more I felt horrible about the writing.

At the social media job, I wrote for other people. I was a ghostwriter essentially - which meant my name went on none of the material. 

In the writing world, that's called "going backward." The whole goal of a writer is to tell a story, but it helps to have their name alongside it. My name was nowhere alongside any of it. 

I felt like I was becoming even more invisible as the months dragged on with this job. This is the opposite of what I wanted and unrest began to percolate throughout my insides.

At the editorial job, I was writing and my name was on the material! Yes, I was progressing. But, if I'm being honest, the articles were mind-numbingly routine and boring. It was taking all the love of writing out of my writing.

Not a good place to be for a writer.

I was already a freelance writer, writing articles that I wanted, when I wanted, and to whom I wanted. So, this was my big question: Why did I feel like I needed to do more writing - writing I didn't love -  to be a better writer?

What's worse, as if writing I hated and invisible writing wasn't bad enough, it left me no time - or inclination - to write for myself. My freelance writing all but stopped.

I didn't want to blog and I didn't want to freelance because my creativity was shot by the end of those days. I would fill my writing quota with those two other jobs and there was nothing left for me to work with on my own projects.

Instead of adding those two jobs, I should've kicked myself in the pants, and gone full force into my blog writing and freelance writing like I've always wanted and loved doing. 

I love freelance and I love my blog. Why didn't I think I could just focus on those and plug away to get more published work?

Discouragement, I suppose, is the short of it. Rejection is a part of the writing business. Rejection is a part of most business, really. But it's very "in your face" apparent with writing. It's either yes or no and there is no maybe. (Okay, there are sometimes, but those are rare exceptions).

I should've hunkered down and wrote - wrote my heart out and wrote what I wanted. However, rejection from my freelance world made me wonder if I was missing out on different routes to get published. That's what pushed me to add those two jobs.

Just because you think something is right, doesn't mean it is. 

Just because things line up and doors open doesn't necessarily mean you're supposed to walk through those doors. One job came to me because I pursued it. The other job came because I happened to meet the owner and she was looking for a writer.

Turns out,  neither job was for me.

But, it took making a mistake like that to learn what I really wanted in my life and I know what it is: I want to write for myself, with my words, and for the work I choose. Oh, and of course, with my name in the byline. 

There's a quote by Courtney Carver, a minimalist and minimalism author of books like Project 333, a great book that I've written about here, that gives a perfect description of what I'm talking about and it's this: 

    "If you don't  have time to do what matters, stop doing things that don't."

I learned much from these two other jobs, and they were in no way a waste of time. As I said, I learned things at those two jobs I could implement in my own freelance writing. Most of all, it gave me confidence and courage. It made me say to myself, "I do know how to write! I know what I'm doing after all!"

After a few years, I bowed out of the two extraneous jobs, "restarted" blogging again, and added a few more blogs to the mix. My freelance writing has shot up (along with publication) and I love what I do.

 It doesn't even feel like work.

Have you found this to be true in your life? You think you're doing things that help you, but in reality, it's hindering your work/life situations?

If you want to do what matters to you, you're going to have to give up some things that get in the way of pursuing that goal.

What seems right isn't always right. And it's okay to change your mind. I thought I was "right" for adding two writing jobs to my already full queue. In my defense, in all obvious appearances, it should've been right.

But it wasn't. And I didn't feel peace about either of them from the start. That was the biggest clue I ignored.

Peace. If you don't have it, don't move a muscle. In any situation, stay put if peace is absent.

Moral of the story? Do what you want but don't take side roads to get there. Sometimes, things take longer than we think to get where we want. And if you don't have the time to pursue what you love and live the life you love (kind of important, you know) then let something - or many somethings - go by the wayside to get what you love.

Take the direct road, stay in your lane, work hard, and work long - longer than you think - and you will arrive. And remember, less is more. Always. Minimize the excess and maximize your quality of life.

I'm where I want to be doing exactly what I want to do. Both of my jobs - the jobs I love - don't even feel like work they're that enjoyable. That is the very essence of slow living. Loving what you do and doing what you love.

And that, really, is where we all want to be.



  1. Heather I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading this post. I been a writer/editor in various tech and non-profit jobs my whole career. Some of the writing was fun, some tedious, but bylines were far and few between. When I finally stepped down from my last job to pursue my vintage biz and blog it felt like a gift to myself. Glad you are in that place too!!

    1. I'm telling you, we're living parallel lives. ♥ Thank you, Karen. I'm so glad we're both in a better spot of vintage and writing. :) Makes life the way it should be: happy to be alive!


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