Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When I Grow Up....

I've spent the past two and half years trying to "find myself" career-wise.

Basically, after a decade in business journalism, I'd learned a whole lot about what I didn't want to do and a little bit about what I did want to do.

Instead of continuing to float along a career path that was steering me rather than vice-versa, I decided to sit down and give some major thought to how I wanted to spend my time. Here's what I came up with:

  • I didn't want to hang out all day/every day in a cube farm. (I could've written that in all caps with five exclamation points, but I restrained myself.)

  • I didn't want to write articles about mergers & acquisitions, quarterly earnings or economic forecasts.

  • I didn't want to edit other people's articles about mergers & acquisitions, quarterly earnings or economic forecasts.

  • I did want to do something creative.

  • I did want some flexibility/control over my schedule.

  • I did want to be in some way involved in the arts.

So about five years ago, I chucked my full-time job (which, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy - but it didn't light my fire) and went back to school for interior design. I knew when I did it that I was working toward two potential future goals: practicing design or writing about design.

Within a year of leaving my job, I had an infant. Within two years of leaving, I had a master's degree in home furnishings merchandising, a pretty good start as a freelance design writer and a job at a residential interior design firm.

It had all gone swimmingly.

And it's continued to do so, with one big surprise. In the middle of all that, I became a writer. A real writer. A writer who writes because I love writing, not because I'm punching a clock and picking up a check. Luckily I have been able to make a little money as a writer (more than I'm making as a designer, I might add). But that isn't what drives me to do it. It's that good old-fashioned fire in my belly and heart-soaring feeling everybody talks about so much. I write because I can't not write.

So even though a full-time career in writing isn't what I expected when I went back to school for design, it's where I'm heading, and more imporantly, it's where I want to go. The design degree wasn't a mistake. The design degree is what led me to realize I actually do love to write. I love to write about design. About houses. About art.

And I love to write fiction - and one of these days I'll write a killer novel set in a Southern interior design firm. Because that's been an education indeed.

I really do believe all things happen for a reason.


  1. Stacey--I loved this post! It's very timely for me, because I'm shifting from writing features primarily to focusing more on copywriting and trying to pick up more corporate clients (I have one so far, recently got a referral for a second, and am working on a big BIG proposal with a freelancing friend for a third). Like you, I feel like this is finally the right path for me and that I'm headed in the right direction. Glad it's working out that way for you, too!

  2. Thanks Sara! Your posts are almost always timely for me. So nice to have blogger friends to learn from and share with.

    Good luck with your proposal!