This past year, I was working full time on a new team. I was chugging my way through graduate class after graduate class. I also wrote an article for Self magazine, which had been a dream of mine. That article led to an appearance on NBC Nightly News.
I loved it! Creating stories that are meaningful brings me so much joy. It’s the part of my job that I’d happily do until 2 a.m. without realizing it’s so late.
After the Self article was published, I started a list of other stories I wanted to write. The researching and writing part is super fun for me. The pitching and business side is super stressful to me, but I made a new year’s resolution to get 50 rejections this year and I was determined to earn each one. Of course, the hope is that if I get rejections, some are also getting picked up.
Then I went for my annual check-up and my doctor noticed some thyroid oddness. It’s super common, she said. That gland in the neck is very sensitive, she told me. Even slightly elevated stress can throw it out of whack.
As we were chatting, I told her that I remembered seeing a quote while scrolling through Instagram that something along the lines of “What if your hobby could just be for fun instead of a side hustle?”
That post made me pause. Yeah, what if? What if I wrote for the love of writing instead of to earn extra cash? I have a full-time job that pays me all I need to live. I even write a ton for school and those projects bring me joy. What if I stopped putting pressure on myself to sell?
So, I scratched out that new year’s resolution. I decided I wasn’t going to pressure myself to freelance—at least while I’m in school. If a great idea comes up and I decide to pitch that, cool, but it would be out of love, not out of a sense of duty.
On my spring break, Nick and I went to Hawaii. I packed my laptop in case I felt inspired to sit on the patio and write. My brain felt so overloaded from work and a tough semester at school that I didn’t even pull my laptop out until the last day of the trip. And that was OK! I enjoyed experiencing Maui. Had I pressured myself to spend my week writing, I might have skipped the drive to see a turtle migration and a dolphin dancing around while I was eating dinner. I might have missed leisurely swims in the quiet garden pool. Nick and I might not have played an impromptu game of shuffleboard on the lawn or had one more mai tai. Maybe I wouldn’t have paid attention to the sweet juices from fresh pineapple slices rolling down my chin. I might not have appreciated the crisp taro chips I ate each afternoon.
The break helped me power through one more class and now I’m on week 3 of summer break. Again, I thought I’d be writing constantly, but I’ve been enjoying summer instead. I spent a week in Minnesota with my family, took my paddleboard out several times, finally cleared out my storage unit, and even helped a friend with some house projects.
The next article will come—probably when I least expect it.