Dreaming of a different kind of life

standard March 10, 2015 1 response

90% of my days are the same. I get up, get dressed, pack lunches for the kids, schlep them to school, come home, eat a little breakfast, and sit myself down at my computer.

Most of the time I already know what I’m going to write. I have articles to write, social media posts to craft, ad campaigns to conceptualize. The words are there, somewhere in my head, I just need to let them out – via my fingers – into the computer.

Other days I just stare at the screen. Tired. Drained. Completely tapped out of anything creative or original to add to the miasma that is already swirling around the Internet.

Those are the days I long for a regular 9-5 job where I can just react to what is handed to me instead of having to create something from scratch.

Those are the days when I give in to my endless daydream of owning a little country inn. Couple rooms, kitchen, small common area. My days would entail lots of cleaning, some cooking, administrative duties, and maybe a couple surprises here and there.

It sounds like an insane amount of work. And yet, it sounds like the most restful thing I can think of.

Imagine a life where you always know what to do, where you always have something concrete to point to at the end of the day. Today I did that and it had that effect on that person. Such bliss.

So when people go and do something crazy like offering up their incredible country inn, not for sale, but to the winner of a writing contest. I almost have trouble controlling the drool pooling in my mouth.

Inn! Words! I mean DUDE. I could be all over that.

And then I remember that I have those children that I have to tend to every day and that husband who actually likes his job (most days) and that we actually enjoy living in California. And Maine, while pretty, just ew on the whole snow and winter thing.

And I love the writing, the sitting at my desk with the puppy at my feet, letting the words flow freely from my brain to the screen.

It’s just that some days I think I’d rather be baking a pie for my paying guests and planning out a week’s worth of breakfasts before I go clean up a room that has just been vacated and give my brain a bit of a break.

Until I remember once again how much love to write. How much I need to write. Then I sit back down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and get to work.

Where the magic happens.

Where the magic happens.

13 years later and the circle closes

standard January 14, 2015 7 responses

Back when I was in college I babysat for a woman who worked in advertising. She was hands down the coolest person I knew. Possibly the most unstable, but definitely the coolest, so when I found myself needing a summer internship, I begged her to let me interview at her agency.

This led to my most painful interview memory ever, where, after I had GUSHED about how much I just LOOOOOVED ads, she asked me which were currently my favorite and I completely blanked.

“Uh… the one with… the plane….” I stammered, making a pathetic initiation of a plane flying with my hand.

Incredibly enough I got the job. Hard to turn down virtually unpaid and willing help. And so began my love affair with all things advertising.

I spent that summer filing things, watching endless bits of competition reels, helping them move, from one office to another, and doing basically anything they needed me to do.

The next summer I got another internship  (much better paid, as in, I got some money rather than none) in New York City. I lived in the stark and rather depressing Barnard dorms, navigated the seriously overwhelming and expensive Big Apple as best as I could, and loved every minute of it. It was a smaller agency and I actually got to do some advertising work.

Then I met the love of my life and threw caution and dreams to the wind and moved to Boston instead of going home to finish school.

I hadn’t given up on advertising, I was just willing to let it slide for a bit as I attempted to obtain a Masters while living an ocean away from my school and my teachers, at a time when people were just barely starting to use the Internet.

It took me a few months of working at a daycare center by day and doing class work at night to realize the situation was untenable. I ditched any hope of finishing my Masters like that and found myself an ad agency that would hire me.

Because ad agency.

This was my first real stint as an actual employee of an ad agency rather than just a summer internship. I lapped up every minute of it. The client pitches. The cantankerous creatives. The fun we had even when we were beyond exhausted. I loved the challenge of translating client requests into language the creative teams could use, and then translating the creative teams’ work for the clients. It was hard work, but it was fun.

So, it stood to reason that I was determined to work in advertising after finally finishing my Masters.

Life’s funny though; it never quite goes how you plan.

We moved to California in October 2001. The world around here had essentially skidded to a halt. Marketing budgets had been cut right and left and there were no marketing jobs to be had anywhere. There was one interview that could have gone my way, but something about the team rubbed me the wrong way and I didn’t push for the job. There was another interview that for some reason just didn’t work out. And that was it. The doors had shut in my face and I found myself changing tacks.

So here I am, thirteen years later. I’ve made a name for myself as a writer. I’ve published a novel. I do a lot of consulting. And I truly thought my ad days were in my past.

Until a friend offhandedly asked me if I would ever consider copywriting.

In all my years working, living, breathing ad stuff, and later all my years working, living, breathing the written word, it had never occurred to me to blend the two.

I said yes without a moment’s hesitation. Went to my first meeting hoping against hope that no one would guess I was faking it with all I had. Aced my first project. Aced the second. And now find myself once again immersed in the fantastic world of advertising.

People, it’s fun.

Every new project leads me to having to learn something new. Want to know anything about solar power? Flash technology? Data storage? I got ya covered. 

I’m working with creative people. I’m exercising a part of my creative brain that hasn’t had a chance to play much in recent years.

I’m allowed to be as punny as I want. It’s even encouraged. Swoon.

Even better? I’m good at it. Better than I ever was on the client side of things.

Do you know how good it feels to feel good at something? Damn good, that’s how.

They may not be words I’m writing for me, but they’re fun to write and it’s amazing to be working with people again. And who knows, maybe one day, someone driving down the highway on their way to work, will get a laugh out of one of my tag lines.

That’s almost as good as becoming a best selling novelist. Almost.

Updating Life

standard October 31, 2011 Leave a response

It’s hard to believe that I started working for Tiny Prints two years ago.

Two years is a long time. And yet it went so fast.

Two years ago I had a preschooler and a toddler. Today I have two big girls who reason, make jokes, have smart conversations with me, play games, invent stuff, and just are so… big.

Two years ago I had little to no faith in my abilities as a social media marketer or writer. Today I’m feeling pretty good about what I know and what I want to do.

This morning I started going through my various online bios and “about me” pages. I thought I’d just have to update my work info, but it turns out that so much more than just that has changed in the last two years.

As it turns out, two years is a long time and as I read those bios and about me pages I feel like a different person wrote them. We’ve been through so much as a family and I’ve been through so much growth as a person, a blogger, a writer, a wife, and a mom.

I looked hard at my bios and thought about what to say, how to sum up all this change, how to portray myself accurately. And then I realized that the changes might feel momentous to me, to the rest of the world I’m still just me, only I happen to work at home again instead of in an office.

I’m still just a California Writer mama looking for balance between work and family.

Feeling the Same Way All Over Again

standard June 30, 2011 8 responses

Three years ago I walked away from a job I had held for 6 years, afraid to leave, afraid to start something new. I was complacent in my misery. I had a job, an income, health insurance. I had friends I loved at work and a community that felt so secure and happy.

So what if I came home drained and burnt out? So what if I never had time to feed my passions and do the things that made me happy? Every morning was predictable, and there’s safety in routine, safety in drudgery.

And then the friends left and work went from bad to worse, and I finally realized that crying myself to sleep every night just wasn’t normal.

So I gave notice, found a freelance gig, and walked away.

Best thing I’ve ever done.

I’d spent six years shoving myself into an organization’s expectations of who I should be and how I should act. I repressed myself in the process. Not pretty and not ideal.

That year of freelancing wasn’t as much about earning money (which I didn’t, especially when the gig fell through) as much as it was about allowing myself to just remember how to be me. About giving myself permission to like myself the way I am.

That’s the year I wrote the first draft of my novel.

And then the money thing started to get to me. And maybe the eeps-if-I-finish-this-novel-then-I-have-to-shop-it-around-and-what-if-they-DON’T-LIKE-IT got to me even more.

So I got a job.

And while it was so. much. better. than the last place, I still found myself doing some of that putting aside my true self to fit the mold better thing.

I stifled my voice. I tuned into the “this is what you should be” voices.

And I put away my book. Because every time I opened it I heard those voices telling me that it wasn’t good enough, that it was silly, that no one would buy it, that I was wasting my time, that I had better things to do.

I poured my heart into my blog and my job, and for a long while it was enough.

It doesn’t feel like enough any more though.

Yesterday I pulled out my book and tackled the edits. Those voices are wrong. It is good. But really, I don’t care whether they’re right or wrong. It just feels good to let my voice sing again. It feels good to be creating something entirely mine again. It feels good to just let myself be me.

I’ve missed it. I’ve missed allowing myself to like me.