Nearly 15 years ago now, I sat in a dim, smoky café in Toronto with my best friend Heidi and a startlingly-blue-eyed boy we’d met earlier that year on a backpacking trip to Europe. We called him Jason Blue-Eyes, and we admired him not just for those arresting eyes, but for the fact that he, like both of us, was a writer—only he, unlike either of us, actually wrote.
Heidi and I bonded at the age of 19 over our shared passion for writing (and, it turned out, our shared passion for a British classmate named John). At 25, we house-sat for six months in the mountains of West Virginia, a sweet gig that was meant to afford us 40-hour weeks of writing—only, we finally admitted, we didn’t want to write for 40 hours a week, and found any excuse to do anything else instead. Eventually Heidi moved on to New York City and I to Cincinnati, where we worked dreadful entry-level jobs and scrawled away at our novels in our down time. We both married. She finished her degree. I divorced and relocated to Africa. We became mothers. 40-hour writing weeks have long since become a distant dream for us—yet we are both about to pitch novels, and not for the first time.
That long-ago day in Toronto, Jason Blue-Eyes wowed us with the simplest of phrases: A writer writes….right?! Still it took Heidi and me years to create our writing schedules, our writing lifestyles. 40 hours a week doesn’t work for us. But this year I wrote the second half of a novel in two months, when I finally hit upon the practice of starting my day with an hour of writing before I eat breakfast or check my emails or anything, seven days a week. Turns out that’s the writing schedule that works for ME.
There’s no such thing as The Right Way, or The Wrong Way, to do anything we’re serious about. There’s only My Way. I’m a “multi-passionate” person who never has, and never will, devote 40 hours a week to any one pastime—I like to have my fingers in multiple pies. I write every morning, I do admin, I plan future projects, I execute current ones. I daydream, I brainstorm, I take naps. And it works: I have finished two books already this year and am outlining my next two! I run a monthly meetup group for female entrepreneurs, I teach workshops, and I volunteer. I am a writer….who writes. I am a businesswoman….who runs a business. I don’t do it 40 hours a week; I take breaks to look at grasshoppers and ants that my toddler is desperate to show me, and to meet friends for coffee, and to read. As Carrie Klassen writes here, I am learning to run a business that is kind to me.
This is my favorite thing about being an entrepreneur: finding the “My Way” that works for ME. And then living it, and enjoying that feeling of synergy every day—of finally being a writer who writes.
Yeah, I don't actually blog anymore....
I used to blog all the time, but it was really TMI, so I finally wised up and took it down. Now I just write about life-and-business stuff, and even that is inconsistent. So lately I decided to cheat and post my newsletters here too. (You can join the newsletter list on the Home page.)