My writing adventures were stalled for a while because I thought life would be better working outside of the home. For a while, I was right. Writing from home had become a little bit of a drag for a while because I wondered if I could even make it in a “real” job. I felt the need to “break up” with my dining room table and surround myself with actual living breathing other people who I didn’t give birth to. As a divorced mother, I believed that maybe the best way to generate income for my family would be to seek outside employment. Because isn’t that what stay-home moms “have to do” when they get divorced?
Well, there’s good news and bad news; I made it. I started off as a cashier in a boutique grocery store (think Whole Foods meets Circle K; it’s general store with tons and tons of local delicacies and some housewares and home decor.) It’s an amazing little store and I feel insanely blessed to be part of the company. It has everything I wanted in a workplace; it was a startup, which appealed to my sense of creating something bigger, my coworkers are rock stars who work their @$$#s off every single day to provide an awesome experience for the customers. They care about their work and each other and overall the experience has been phenomenal.
After ten weeks, I was promoted to store manager and I made important changes to the way the company works, changes that have helped the company to grow and we’re now in the process of opening additional locations, the success of which will be directly impacted by my work. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m incredibly proud of the work I’m doing; creating a marketplace for small food producers and contributing to a company that strives to service the needs of an entire community in a way that’s sustainable and responsible (and utterly adorable; you should see this place).
These days, I find that many of my tasks now are related more to the growth of the company instead of the minutiae of running the store (developing training materials, analyzing data, communicating with vendors…), and that puts me right at home; listening to my kids play, cleaning the house and typing away at my keyboard like in the old days.
I’m missing those old days. That’s the bad news. Or is it also good news of a different sort? I’m missing the control I had over my work schedule; For a while my mother was living here with us and watched the kids while I was away at work. She’s moving away in a couple weeks and I’m looking into childcare arrangements and I’m not really impressed with my options. I’m also remembering the days when the kids were able to participate in all sorts of activities, when I was able to sleep in or stay up late and when I could travel easier.
I’m missing the freedom to choose my own income. When I was working from home, it was easy to decide I needed an extra thousand dollars for plane tickets or dance recital costumes. I remember feeling overwhelmed by my own schedule, and how I kept using a million different tools to keep myself organized, but the experience I’ve had over the past 18 months has really helped me master the process of scheduling my time and I’ve found the perfect tools to keep myself in check. If you’re wondering what my favorite tool is, it’s Priority Matrix from Appfluence. Hands down, this is my absolute can’t-live-without-it favorite tool for organizing tasks, projects and keeping track of things I’ve delegated. I am 100% sure that the rigors of this job would have bogged me down if I hadn’t discovered this tool. I’m also 100% sure that if I’d been using this tool 4 years ago I would have been so much more productive.
I’m missing the projects I put on the back burner. When I first started working, my royalties and commissions and ad income from my niche websites in addition to the revenue from web content contracts that I had outsourced were enough to sustain me minimally. Little by little, without any TLC from me over the past 18 months (OK, maybe 3 years), those revenue streams have been reduced to about 1/3 of what they were when I started. My niche websites have lost rank, the content isn’t fresh anymore, my forums haven’t been maintained, a few databases have crashed and even my eBook sales have disappeared because I failed to maintain the lead pages.
So basically, for a while, I was benefitting from the 7+ years I had put into my writing career with a great passive income that I took for granted. Today, with that income reduced to just a fraction of what it was, I’m growing a little tired of my (otherwise awesome) adventure and wanting to bring back my writing business and get back the freedom I had when I was self-employed, while still keeping the awesome connections I’ve made working outside the home and contributing to the growth of this little company I’m completely in love with. Yes, this is me wanting the best of both worlds.
I first started feeling this way last November when I took a crash course in romance writing. From November to February, I published five little romance novels and uploaded them to Kindle. I used a pen name and cranked them out like a madwoman(and no I will probably never reveal that identity). After a while though, the work of managing a store consumed me and I didn’t check it again until June when I realized that I had nearly $800 in my Amazon account just waiting for my payee information to be updated.
That was exciting. And once I dig up the name of the program I will publish a review of it here.
So my mother is moving away, my childcare is disappearing, I’ve grown weary of the 6am-2pm schedule I’ve created, I’m missing my kids and I’m discovering all of these amazing writing tools (hello Scrivener, you sexy thing)
I think I’m back.
It will take a little while to make sure the company is in an awesome position to move forward with less of physical me, but I am committed. During that transition, I’ll be weaning myself back into writing. I have some super exciting projects in the works and thanks to Priority Matrix, I’m simultaneously working on 4 different kindle/ CreateSpace books (each the beginning of a series) training materials for the company, data analysis for the company, social media for the company, inventory management, store management, managing my kids and my home and forcing myself to sleep 6-8 hours a night. (That’s a lie, I don’t actually get that much sleep).
But I’m back. And I’m energized and I’m scheduled and I’m organized. And I’m writing. Life is awesome.