It's never too late to have the life you want.
(Available HERE. Or enter my giveaway. Details below.)
I've been waiting to tell you about this forever. Last year, I was invited by Barbara Machen and Jennifer Pate, creators and hosts of the acclaimed web series "Jen and Barb, Mom Life" to contribute a story of personal reinvention to their book, and I'm extremely honored and grateful to be a part of it.
It was just released a few weeks ago and as a special treat for A Bloomsbury Life readers, Barb and Jen are giving me three signed copies of their book for a giveaway. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and next Monday I'll announce three winners via a random number generator. (Please only enter once.)
If you love being a wife, partner and/or mom but sometimes wonder what happened to your life, this book is for you. If you dream of embracing change but don't know where to start, this book is for you. If you want to relinquish your fear, resuscitate your passion and reawaken your sense of purpose, this book is for you.
Why do I think this book is so important?
Because four years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
I had left a career in advertising to be a full-time mom, and six years in, I had a son in first grade, a husband who worked long hours at a job he loved, and a nagging feeling that despite my all-consuming love for my family, there was still something missing.
I wanted to be busy.
I wanted to be creative again.
I wanted to jump out of bed in the morning and be inspired to do....(what exactly??)
I had absolutely no clue.
~~~~ FLASHBACK ~~~~
My Act One career didn't pan out. Advertising was my dream job when I was in my twenties, but there was a reason they called it a young person's business. It was a high-powered pressure cooker of competition and rivalry and not working on weekends was a rarity. By the time I hit twenty-seven, I was the youngest vice president in the agency, but I was approaching burnout.
My Act Two stint couldn't have been more opposite in terms of stature. My friends Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, the creators of "Will and Grace," offered me a job as a writer's assistant on the show and I eagerly accepted. I didn't care that it would pay a tenth of my former salary or that my job would basically be to transcribe every single joke every single writer blurted out at the table all day. (And that my nickname would be "Veal" because I was confined to a desk in the back of the room and rarely moved my legs.) I saw it as an opportunity to audit a master class in comedy writing with some of Hollywood's biggest talents -- and how many people got the chance to do that?
Working on "Will and Grace" turned out to be one of the best jobs I ever had for the most enlightening of reasons:
1. It was the toughest job I had ever had. In addition to writing down every word of potential dialogue ten different writers interjected over one another (visualize my ears rotating like satellite dishes), I had to organize and edit all of the daily script changes by the end of each day so that the production team could hand-deliver updated drafts to cast and crew overnight. (My years in advertising suddenly felt like summer vacation.)
2. I learned that no matter how smart or funny you are, inspiration takes perspiration. Transforming an idea from a two sentence pitch into a tight, well-crafted 45 page script was a test of mental endurance. And the writers cut themselves no slack. They were revisionists of the highest order -- constantly tweaking jokes, simplifying scenes and strengthening plot points to make the script tighter and funnier. To make life even more complicated, every week the writers were working on two scripts simultaneously: rewriting the one that would tape in front of a live audience on Tuesday night and writing the one that would be shot the following week.
3. No matter what kind of obstacles the writers were hit with, they kept on moving forward. Sometimes a great script would get to the actors' read-through and fall flat for no discernible reason. Jokes wouldn't work, the pacing would feel off, and no one would understand why. In a crisis like this, the writers' would regroup in the bungalow and immediately start coming up with new ideas. There was no time for anyone to fall on their sword for a line they loved. Time was ticking. They had to move on. The buck stopped with them.
4. The most freeing thing of all was realizing that leaving the corporate world wasn't the end of the world. I had gone from being a big cheese in NYC to being the absolute lowest (and nearly oldest) person in the writers' room. Etiquette required that I get myself a cup of coffee last, stand in line at the lunch buffet last and pretty much not speak unless spoken to. Yes, it was an adjustment. Yes, I got my pride bruised a couple of times. But once I let go of my overly high opinion of myself and concentrated on doing the best job I could, I felt incredibly liberated, because what better lesson in life is there than learning to leave your ego at the door?
(Embracing egolessness on the set of Will and Grace, 2001)
~~~~ END OF FLASHBACK ~~~~
Back to four years ago. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I did know one thing. The whole blogging world fascinated me.
There was Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic.
Ronda Carman of All the Best.
Courtney from Style Court.
Patricia from PVE Design.
And the brilliant An Aesthete's Lament.
What if I started a blog of my own?
One in which I combined my passions and my own particular way of looking at the world?
What would happen if I tried?
(And would I regret it if I didn't?)
Hard work didn't scare me.
Long hours didn't scare me.
The fact that I'd be unpaid did scare me, but I had to start somewhere.
Could this be my Act Three?
I think you know the answer, but the rest of the story's in the book.
(Editor's Note: I am unable to comment on your lovely, wise posts because it would mess up the giveaway, but know that I am inspired by all of your comments and consider myself lucky to "virtually know" you all!)