Happy day-after-Valentine’s Day! I know it can be a tricky and emotionally challenging holiday for so many, but it’s always been one of my favorites. There’s nothing better than having an excuse to celebrate LOVE in all of its forms — especially these days, when there’s so much to be scared and upset about in the world around us.

Matt and I went on an early Valentine’s Day date over the weekend (so much amazing sushi!), so we decided to keep last night low-key, but we also started a new tradition. On our first Valentine’s Day together in 2010, Matt surprised me by bringing all of the fixings for ice cream sundaes to his college dorm room. To this day, it was my very favorite February 14, and as a nod to that, we’ve decided to indulge in homemade sundaes to mark the occasion every year. Last night, we had a little date to the grocery store to pick out all the ingredients, then skipped dinner and went right to dessert. As adults, how often do we actually eat a real ice cream sundae? If you ask me, the answer is “not enough,” so Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect opportunity to fix that (especially if you’re ice cream lovers like Matt and I!).

img_6140img_6141

Anyway, now that it’s the 15th of the month, it’s time for a recap (you can check out my last two recaps here and here)! It’s now been five months since I left my job to become a freelancer. Here are some of the things I’ve learned and have been thinking about over the last few weeks:

  • I’m gaining credibility. A few months into this journey, it finally feels like people are starting to “get” what I’m doing, and I can’t tell you how satisfying that is. When I first left my stable job, I know there were people who questioned if I would actually be working in this next chapter of my life. There was a sense that I’d just gotten married and was throwing this “freelancing” word around as an excuse to get out of my career and be taken care of by my husband. In the last few weeks (and with my last few bylines), it seems that I’ve finally proven to the doubters that I’m working, working hard, and even starting to become successful!
  • I’m becoming more business-minded. As I continue taking on new projects and clients, I’m realizing more and more that my time and talent is worth something. I’ll be honest — when you start as a freelancer, you’re happy to accept any job that comes your way, and you don’t ask a lot of questions. These days, I’m having to juggle so many exciting gigs, and it’s forced me to become more strategic about the way I work and the way I collaborate. I never expected that being a writer would also force me to switch on my entrepreneurial instincts, but it has!
  • I’m being really hard on myself again. In the first month or two of my freelance transition, I did a lot of negative self-talk. I worried if I would ever get the jobs I wanted, if clients would ever take me seriously, if I would ever be able to make money as a writer, and if I’d made the right decision. Ironically, that negative self-talk is starting to come back — this time, because now that I’ve started to gain some momentum, I’m terrified that I won’t be able to sustain it. In my writing life, I have off-days and even off-weeks, just like I did in my corporate life, and I find that I’ve been very hard on myself during those periods lately. I’ve been doing a lot of “should” thinking — “I should do this,” “I should do that” — and I’ve forgotten that trusting my gut and my intuition has gotten me this far in the past five months!
  • I’ve had some amazing experiences. Even with the growing pains I’ve been working through, I am so humbled by the writing opportunities I’ve had lately. It’s been such a treat to continue growing my relationship with Brit + Co, to share some of my personal stories (like this one) with The Kitchn‘s community, and to have my very first print byline (in the March issue of Marie Claire). As always, I’m so grateful to all of you for your love and support of my work!
img_6009
This was a pretty special moment. You can find my article on page 136 : )