It’s official. I’m having a mid-career crisis. I know this, because I consulted my go-to source of all knowledge: Google. And to no surprise, I met 99% of the checklist items sourced in the gobs of articles on the subject. It seems I’m not in a mild crisis situation, but a full-blown funk. The good news is, at least I’m not alone.
I’m a writer. Always been one — my first article was published in my elementary school newspaper. It was a piece on my trip to Fantasy Island (that’ll date me) where Tattoo greeted me, and Mr. Roarke transformed me into the likes of Nadia Comaneci (quite a fantasy for a gangly girl that could barely manage a handstand). In college, I continued down the writer’s path, finding journalism to be an ideal fit: Mainly because it required the least amount of math. So post-college, with a journalism degree in hand, I marched into the Mobile Press-Register and landed a job as a sports and feature reporter, covering all varieties of high school sports, the weekend police beat and yes, the obituaries. That lasted just over a year, and only because my dad told me I had to show some stick-to-it-iveness.
I moved to Atlanta and quickly found what clicked. For the past couple decades (possibly a quarter century, but that involves math, which I’ve established I’m no good at), I’ve made a living as an advertising copywriter. The first few years were filled with energy, passion and the competitive spirit that’s inherent within the creative department of any given ad agency. Whose script will be chosen so the copywriter and art director can fly to LA or NYC for a week-long shoot? Who can be the cleverest, wittiest, smartest? Who will be most decorated in the annual awards shows? It’s funny, looking back, how much emphasis was put on winning awards for something the rest of the world desperately tries to ignore. Regardless, it was an inspiring place to be in my mid-to-late 20s and I loved being surrounded by talented, creative folks all day.
Then along came Alex, and everything changed. This came as no surprise to anyone but me. I was sure a child wouldn’t derail my career. But this 6-pound, 8-ounce little guy quickly turned things upside down and inside out. It was during an agency trip to Napa (the most beautiful place I didn’t want to be) that I decided to pull the plug and go freelance.
Then along came Ben. And a few years later, along came Emma. My role as a mother had completely swallowed my role as a copywriter, so I stopped going into agencies and toed the strict line that I’d only work from home. To my bewilderment, it worked. I’ve continued to make a decent contribution to the family budget, while working from my home headquarters. But over the past couple years, I’ve slowly felt a unwelcome writer’s discontent sneaking in, demanding something more. So, taking my Google-search advice to heart, it’s time I shook up my career path and tried something new.
I’ve known for some time that the only truly fulfilling writing I’ve done in the longest, is my mostly kid-prompted essays. I’ve written them oh-so sporadically, only when the inspiration hits and the calendar allows (did I mention sporadically?) And while I’ve known I love this type of writing, it doesn’t pay … in cash. But thanks to my mid-career crises, I’ve come to realize that payment comes in many forms, fulfillment being mighty valuable. So, welcome to my blog.
This actually comes as another surprise to me. I’ve avoided blogging for years, preferring to write my essays in a bubble. After all, I’m a classically trained journalist, who pledged allegiance to Strunk & White and vowed to abide by AP Style. I was raised with the mentality that being “published” must be earned to be legit. So I faithfully avoided the everyone’s-a-writer blogging platform and, candidly, considered it more a blahg than anything else. But guess what? In the past year, I’ve discovered the opposite. There are some amazing voices out there in the blogging realm — authentic, thoughtful, unique and talented writers who share their stories in a way that has inspired me to do the same.
Thank you for being a part of my antidote to the dreaded mid-career crisis. I hope you’ll come back and I hope you’ll enjoy something along the way. Who knows, maybe I can inspire you to tell your stories. If you do, don’t forget to share them with me.