I used to blog about grammar.
I was a 21-year-old newlywed and recent college grad trying to get my freelance editing business off the ground. I wasn't positive that my riveting posts about dangling modifiers and semicolons would attract clients, but I had to try. Thus began my years-long blogging journey that mostly looked like me trying to write about things I cared about (books, writing, creativity) in the same space as things I didn't (grammar, punctuation, how to write a novel).
That was 2012. My current job as a freelance content marketer means that I now spend most of my work hours either writing client blog posts or strategizing about what those blog posts should say. My entire career, in fact, is founded on my combined expertise of blogging and writing.
I'm an expert at content, sure. But "content" isn't what I dreamed about writing when I was a 9-year-old kid sitting in her parents' basement teaching herself to touch type so she could write Harry Potter fanfiction.
In 2015, I realized that my business blog couldn't hold space for both the personal and the professional. I let my creative writing go as I chased after a #girlboss dream that, it turns out, I didn't want after all.
It was a bad decision, but it was the one I needed to make.
If I hadn't, I would never have tasted the success of running a part-time business that brought in a full-time income. I never would have realized that no matter how much money I make, something in me will always push me to find more, more, more. I would never have seen the effects of putting my work ahead of my kids, my friendships, and my creativity day after day.
I would never have known, deep in my bones, that that type of success is not worth having. And so I would have kept chasing, perhaps for my entire life, something I was never meant to have.
Now let's be clear about what my life is in 2017.
I still earn a full-time income from my writing and editing (although one that's purposely smaller than it once was). I still only work ten hours a week from a cozy home office I love. I still have the flexibility to stay home with my two young kids rather than paying for child care.
I have nothing to complain about and I know it.
But this is also true: I've learned not to find my identity in my business, but I still need to earn a certain amount of money to contribute to our household finances. The words that pay are not the words that I feel called to write.
It is every writer's dilemma. How do you balance your need to eat actual food that costs money with the need to feed your soul through creative writing? How do you find the margin to write when there are always tiny, sticky hands tugging at your shirt and asking for more of you?
I'm writing this post on a Sunday afternoon as a reward for doing 30 minutes of focused client work while my kids nap. I also have a creative essay to write for a site I contribute to, two other client projects waiting in the wings, and hair that hasn't been washed in three days.
I clearly don't have the answers to this balancing act. But I do know what I believe:
I believe in making space for the creative. I believe in making time to do nothing. I believe in getting paid for your art and in creating what needs to be created, even if there is no buyer standing ready with cash in hand.
This is where I'll write about all of it, the times I've figured out writing and mothering and freelancing and the times I've screwed it all up. I make no promises about what you'll find here. If a post about cooking or knitting or decorating begs to be written, I'm not going to tell it no. The creative spirit, though, will be in the background through it all.
I'll probably never know what I'm doing, but I feel like I'm halfway here.