First, I owe a major THANK YOU to all of you for the incredible response to the blog launch last week.  I am totally humbled by the many kind words you shared after I made the link  public, and it means so much to have you along for this ride!  I hope you will continue to enjoy, and to share if you feel so inspired  🙂

We spent the weekend back in Pennsylvania visiting family and continuing the birthday celebrations.  Too many helpings of ice cream cake later, I am officially feeling 26, and vey loved, too. I woke up yesterday morning (almost) 100% ready to jump into another week of hustle.

I’m going to make a confession, though, because honestly, it’s something I’ve already been thinking about way more in Week 2 than I was in Week 1.  You may have already guessed, but here it is, spelled out in plain black and white: I currently have no paycheck.

Don’t get me wrong– I was obviously prepared for this reality when I made the decision to leave my publishing job.  Matt and I spent a lot of time talking through our finances and making sure we were comfortable.  Both of us have been diligent over the years about saving our money, which has taken a lot of pressure off of us, and we can continue managing our money without major issues as I work to build up my writing business over the next few months.  I’ve spoken with enough freelancing friends to know that it can often take that long before you’ve established any sort of steady income in this industry!  Still, I have always been very frugal and careful with my money, and I know the financial implications of my situation will be a constant personal concern until I’m fully up and running.

Last week was SO incredibly positive.  I’m already lining up exciting conversations in the coming days that will give me the chance to touch topics and projects that will be fresh, exciting, and totally stimulating.  Yay!  BUT, those endeavors aren’t paying…yet.

In the meantime, I’ve decided that my usual metrics of success might need a bit of tweaking.  I’ve spent my life pursuing success in very conventional ways– good grades, a good paycheck, promotions, etc., all of which are totally awesome and have gotten me where I am today.  In this moment, though, success lies in the small victories I achieve each day, because the little wins get me closer to my goals.  Here are some of the ways in which I’m currently defining success:

  • Time at my desk.  When you’re working from home and still learning the ropes of your routine, more than half of the battle is sitting your butt in that chair, opening your computer, and chugging along with research and communication that’s going to generate paying projects down the road.  Since I’m still nailing down official assignments, I was worried at first that I wouldn’t know how to actually structure time at my desk so it would be productive.  I am amazed by the amount of potential work that I can lay the foundation for if I simply take the time to sit down and focus.
  • Content generated.  When I’m not researching potential outlets or working on outreach to editors, I am working on this blog or logging time writing my book.  A lot of thought and mental energy go into creating this content, and there’s no doubt that I’m putting in a good day’s work when I shut down my computer having produced it.
  • E-mails and follow-ups sent.  I’m investing a lot of time now in reaching out to and following up with editors and potential clients.  If it really is “all about who you know,” then I’m trying to get to know as many people as possible early on!   The more contacts made or messages sent in a day, the better I feel.
  • Sticking to my routine.  In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of keeping up with a routine even outside of a structured office environment.  For me, maintaining these habits is key to keeping me on track.  If I give in to the temptation to stay in bed until noon, skip a workout, or lounge around all day in sweatpants, I’m setting myself up to fail.
  • “Work talk.”  One of the first things I realized when I began feeling disengaged and unsatisfied in my corporate job was that I no longer wanted to talk about my day at work.  My (now) husband would ask me what was going on at the office, and I wouldn’t know what to tell him, or how to express what was exciting me about my day-to-day.  Now, when Matt comes home from the office, I’m so very excited to fill him in on the new leads I’ve found and the conversations I’ve been having.  I count that as a huge win!

Don’t get me wrong– I’ll do a MAJOR happy dance when those paychecks start rolling in, but for now, I’m working on tuning in to all of these other markers of success.  I love this quote from one of my very favorite humans, Amy Poehler– “You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.”  I am feeling more like my real self each and every day, and in doing so, I am attracting all of the “right” things– happiness, personal growth, creative opportunities and yes, eventually, financial reward, too.

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