I’m writing about patience today because lately I’ve been experiencing a bit of career jealousy.
Has it happened to you?
Of course! It happens to all of us. You hear the good news of a friend or colleague and you are happy for them (Truly! You are!) but you also feel a bit discouraged.
Why are they so far? Why are you so…well…not far?
I’ll tell you the thing I keep reminding myself, that they worked for it. They worked hard and are seeing the results. And the best thing we can do with our green-eyed monsters is to harness that energy and commit to our own work.
You see, desire is an energy. A spark that can fuel our own goals and help us to see our career path with a bit more clarity.
Here’s how I think about it:
When I’m on vacation, I’m always thrilled to see the city skyline as I travel home. “Almost there,” I say to myself, as a smile floats onto my face.
Now, I know it’s not completely true. If I’m in an airplane, there is still baggage claim and ground transportation. If I’m in a car, there is still traffic to navigate.
Yet, it still fills me with good vibes to see the skyline. Why? Because it proves I’m going in the right direction.
With my writing, I use a similar tactic. I see my goals as a building in the distance. If I stay on course, if I continue to do what I need to do, I’ll get there. I can’t do what other people are doing, it will only sidetrack my efforts. I’ll no longer see the skyline.
When I think about it that way, the bubbling belly of envy is transformed into a wave of gratitude. See what my friend just did? See how all her hard work paid off? Staying on path works.
I’ll reach my goal, it’s simply going to take time. I’m going to have to keep my head down and put in the work. I can see the sky, the land, and I can even see the building. I’m getting there.
I had a rough spring. I won’t go into it here, but trust me, it was rough.
We all go through hard times, and during those difficult stretches, things change. You eat more and sleep less. Or you sleep more and eat less. Or you exercise, or you don’t. Your schedule shifts and morphs until you realize you can’t take it anymore. You have to get back to where you were.
I’m finally getting there. How do I know? Because I’m reading again.
I was stunned for a while, I had experienced a loss and all I could do was read about loss. Then I didn’t read at all. But here’s the thing, I write for a living. So here I am, for months, a zombie shuffling through life, taking contents out of my well without replenishing the water.
Writers have to read. We have to.
So, finally, the magazines that were stacking up slowly enticed me. Their pages like fingers motioning me near. Then, I was in the library, loading my backpack with books.
The stacks grew—two next to my bed, one near the couch—until I found myself reading again. Every day. Scary books and cooking magazines and short story compilations and essays and funny paperbacks and graphic novels.
I missed it. I’m so glad it’s back. That I’m comfortable enough in my own life to dive back into the stories of others. That I’m able to lose hours in storylines, characters, and dreams. That I can escape into other cities, romances, ages, and eras. Because if fictions are lies that tell the truth, now I’m finally able to face my own demons by staring down the demons of others.
Does that make sense? If not, I’ll blame it on my reprieve from reading.
I have books again, so I know it’s going to be ok.
Freelancing requires willpower.
Yes, I’m talking about constantly pitching and meeting deadlines without a manager giving you a timeline (Newsflash: You are the manager.) But I’m also talking about taking time away from the computer to take care of your biggest asset: yourself. After all, if we aren’t in good shape, there is no way we’ll be able to meet our income goals, right?
So, I’m sharing one of my favorite lunch recipes. It’s fast (we have work to do!) and healthy (in the yummiest way!).
What You'll Need:
How to Make It:
Put your water on the stove and prep the spinach, carrot, and onions while the water comes to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to directions (should take about 3 minutes).
While the noodles are cooking, make your sauce. Combine peanut butter, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
Once cooked, drain and rinse noodles. Then, combine the soba noodles and your veggies. Pour your dressing over the top and toss. Then, give it a squeeze of lime.
How about you? What's your favorite healthy lunch recipe?
Last week I wrote about using timers to get more work done. While I stand by that suggestion, I have another bit to add, make sure you take time to take care of yourself.
Social media asks us what’s on our minds and, frankly, sometimes the answer is I have is that I need to get offline. In order to keep my projects all moving, I’ve realized it’s become more and more important I take time to clear my head. I’m more productive, not less, when I practice self-care.
Here are ways I refill my well:
· Turn off my phone
· Coffee at a coffee shop
· Go for a run
· Make art
· Take a walk
· Clean up
· Yoga class
· Spin class
· Dance break
· Write a letter (longhand)
· Go outside
· Drink water
Of course, spending time with the ones you love is essential during your off hours, too. Sometimes you can even mix pleasure and work, like when I wrote this post on having a family cooking competition at home. Finding opportunities to bring socializing into your work life can help with burnout, too.
How about you? How do you refuel your creative well?
Mali Anderson is a Chicago-based content creator. She creates blog posts, web copy, original photography, and feature articles.