For the better part of 2012, I lived in my pajamas.
Between writing books and teaching dance, I didn’t have much of a reason to fuss over my appearance. If it weren’t for studio teaching, I would have gone months without so much as a glance in the mirror.
My first week working at home, I rather comically got dressed up, thinking that would make me feel ready to work at my rickety dining room table. But, creativity flowed just swimmingly in my jammies, so why add to the laundry pile, right?
After years of full-time job and extra curricular activity juggling, I ditched the grind at the beginning of the year – my first time trying to make it solely as an artist.
Halfway through the year, I had achieved several milestones: I started this blog and accompanying social media channels; I self-published my first novel, and with all of my abundant spare time, I was finishing up my second.
I taught dance almost every single day…and I loved every single student, those who had danced since they could walk, and those peppy beginners who had two left feet.
Although I felt proud and fulfilled on so many levels, reality bitch slapped me in the face…bitch slapped me real good.
I couldn’t exactly pay my bills.
Without my supportive hubby, I would have been selling oranges and mediocre poetry by the freeway. Being the stubborn arse that I am, I have always cringed at the term “starving artist”.
But dangit, sometimes those catchy phrases are fashioned for a reason.
Book sales have been slower than I would prefer. And teaching, although incredibly rewarding, tends to be financially sporadic and physically exhausting.
The obvious choice was to rejoin the grind, to alleviate the pressure on my creativity so that I could carry on with my passions, and stop watching them with suspicion and dread.
I’m not a patient person. I’m just not.
So, this has been a true test for me. A large part of me felt that I had failed, a feeling I can honestly say, was foreign to me.
Because nobody likes a pity party, especially me, I turned my sad little attitude right around.
I’ve had a full-time job since the end of October. For the sake of evading any corporate conflicts, I’m not going to say much about it. Let’s just say it’s a far cry from doing what you all know me to do and I yearn for windows every day.
But I took a ton of pressure off myself with my nifty, biweekly paycheck…and I am much more at ease.
Paying bills is fun again! Nah, not really.
I have to remind myself that even though I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, I’ve only been official for six months, when I launched this fantastic circus someone boringly termed a “platform”.
You know that annoying expression “it takes time”? Turns out…it does.
Rather than thinking of my day job in a negative light, I’m thankful for a return to stability. Frankly, having a roof over your head makes a creative life a hell of a lot easier!
Rather than giving up on writing because I’m throwing a temper tantrum over shoddy book sales, I’m starting my third book.
Rather than focusing on how hectic my schedule is, I am trying to see my life as full – and that is much better than an empty one.
And at the end of a long day, my jammies welcome me home – and damn they feel good.
23 thoughts on “So long, jammies…hello, grind!”
Plus, you can have fun looking fabulous at the office every day, (because I’m sure you do). I used to always feel like I was playing grown-up business lady every day. Never really found a niche in cubicle land despite my outward successes. I’m n
osy about your career….msg me on FB…I am wondering who is so lucky to have your education and experience at their disposal. : )
LOL! I sport my usual kooky mixture of vintage and funk around the office to be sure.
If I wore what a lot of my coworkers wore, I would either feel like I was playing that grown-up business lady you mentioned or the early-twenty-something with an undying lust for all that is trendy and socially “proper”.
I’ll message you on FB with more deets.
It’s all about perspective and expectations. Being another “cog” in the wheel isn’t all too bad. And what’s wrong with selling mediocre poetry and oranges by the freeway?
Absolutely! Being that cog is not all bad, especially when those obligatory cog duties are traded for some steady income.
Good point on the freeway tactic! Maybe I revisit that later on. : )
Whatever you do, the light still shines from within.
Pamper it. Feed it.
It warms those around you.
LOVE it! Thank you, Tim.
I will continue to shine, to create my own light amidst the windowless office realm and beyond.
It’s not an easy thing to write full time and not get that regular pay coming in. It think it’s every artists dream to just live off what you love and I really hope that dream comes true for you, Britt.
Keep up the great work with the writing and have an awesome 2013 😀
No, it’s not. And, deep down…I logically knew this. But, I just wanted to throw caution to the wind for a change, and see what would happen.
Thank you for your encouragement, as always. Your sweetness warmed my little soul.
Wow– this is definitely something I can relate too, I’m nearing that point where I’m throwing everything I have at my passions, but stressing badly over cash flow. I can imagine how one would appreciate financial stability again after going without for a long time.
All that said, I do think there’s something to be said for the sense of desperation, the do or die attitude, my book MUST succeed or I have no fall back. But as a writer in today’s world, this is very much unrealistic. =) Most all writers have day jobs. No you certainly didn’t fail. You’re just normal and not Stephen King. That’s probably, in many ways, a good thing!
Oh, Bryan. I love everything you said. It’s been so great to hear everyone chiming in with their similar situations, to know that so many of us are in the same rickety boat.
I was a little timid about even posting about this, naturally tense about expressing some vulnerability. But, I thought it was good to share in case others are struggling with the same.
I’m glad I tried the do or die attitude for a year. I had never done it before, and was poking around with my first novel for three years. Now that I’ve had that taste of where I want to be one day, it motivates me even more now that I’ve returned to the 9-5 shuffle.
Thank you for your incredible perspective. Happy weekend to you!
I can relate. It does take time. But just think of the work interlude as writing material. That’s how I try to fool myself. 😉 And usually, it works! It may be years later, but I find myself writing about people at work, or things I did at various jobs, so it’s not for nothing. Plus, it comes with a paycheck.
Oh, absolutely! On my first day, I was floored thinking…this place is just oozing with material. Shoot, my second book was completely inspired by a job, so inspired it was barely a work of fiction. ; )
We draw inspiration from every part of life as writers. Often we get stuck in this ideology that the inspiration needs to be insanely romantic or tragic, but the every day is where the true treasures can be discovered.
This is a familiar story for me, Britt. I don’t have a full-time job. Rather, I work about 3 or 4 freelance jobs, all of which aren’t considered ‘steady income’. Hours fluctuate weekly, and I end up putting more time into my creative writing classes that I teach (to kids, after school) than what I had originally planned. I had been avoiding a full-time job because I want to be home when the kids are home (after school, teacher workshop days, vacations, when they’re sick, etc.) But my husband is now facing a job change which will mean I have to go back in the workforce. I dread to think about how that will affect my writing time.
Good luck with everything. I know how hard it is, but maybe if we persevere things will turn out okay. 🙂
I totally understand. Teaching dance as my sole income last year was like juggling those 3 or 4 freelance jobs you have. My creativity was totally scattered and so was I.
A full time job definitely has it’s perks. Even though more hours are used up, I feel like my creativity is in a separate little home, more relaxed and ready for action!
Good luck to you, doll! As you said…persevere. We just need to persevere our little tushes off!
You’re one brave lady to have had a go at it Britt. And you’ve got many years ahead of you when the opportunity may call again. You’d have regretted not following your heart, never mind that it didn’t quite work out this time. Meanwhile you’re building up a body of work which will always be out there and we’re all watching out for #3!
Thank you, Roy. I’m glad that I gave it a go as it showed me amazing possibilities that are within reach. I surprised myself during this time and grew more than I could have ever hoped. It was a necessary plunge and now I just need to keep on swimming.
Thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot!
Sometimes I feel like the busier I am, the more I get done: read on the tredmill, blog on my iPhone and consume my media in private hiding in my cube!
I agree with you on that. The less time you have, the more precious it is, so you use it as strategically as you can.
Here’s to us busy bees kicking butt and taking names!
Lots of great stuff in this post. Following your heart is the most important thing a person can do. And time, isn’t time such a fragile thing? Growing up we are eager to plow through the years and yet it becomes such a sacred thing as we grow older. I really enjoyed this.
Aw, thanks! Yep, it’s definitely all about finding that sweet balance between your heart and necessity. I’m learning to slow down a bit these days because like you said, plowing through the years is a common undertaking, one which bites us in the butt later on.
[…] Last week I shared my life update – a major switch from starving artist gal to steady paycheck gal. (In case you missed Goodbye, jammies…hello, grind.) […]
I don’t know about you, but I always get the most done when I am the busiest. The efficiency factor. So maybe now you’ll be cranking out novels, too.
It’s funny, because another blogger said the same thing and I completely agree. I feel way more efficient these days. The third novel is in full swing, my friend!