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.