I haven’t ever really written about my work here. It’s always been a subset of my life I’ve kept behind the curtain, and over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about why that is. As a creative person, it’s always felt a little disjointed not to show and tell my work.
I guess, mostly, it was because I thought people would too easily click on the X. Boooooring. And also because the last thing I wanted to do after a day at the office was sit down to write about a day at the office.
“Precisely four days before we found out we were expecting a baby, I quit my job.”
Rewind. In late fall of 2011, precisely four days before we found out we were expecting a baby, I quit my mid-level, shoulda-been-my-dream-job at a boutique PR agency with an inspiring leader, talented team and cool clients. But I didn’t panic.
I grew up with entrepreneurial (read: self-employed) parents, and for many, many years before quitting that job, or the job before that, I dreamed of working solo. Calling the shots. Curating the people I work with. Enjoying slow mornings. And doing the only thing that really comes naturally to me: writing.
In the window between the last few weeks before I quit my job and the we’re having a baby/we need a bigger place/while we’re at it, let’s change cities rollercoaster ride started, the plan was to set up my own communications shop and do what I knew how to do. Except – with a nine-month countdown timer ticking – instead of setting up shop, I set up house and prepared for baby. (For the record, it was time well spent.)
During the past year, in between play dates, and park trips, and figuring out how to be a mom, I thought a lot about what I wanted my career to be with a baby in the mix. In the soft glow of new baby bliss, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for these early years, completely in denial about the fact that it’s not an option for our family financially, and not really a sustainable option for me creatively. (There were a few times over the past year when I found myself frustrated and cranky for weeks on end. Eventually I figured out I was pent-up with creative energy – and it wasn’t anything a bout with my sewing machine, or an hour in the kitchen, or even writing a blog post couldn’t fix.)
“I was grieving my career as I knew it to be.”
I was envious of my mom friends who “had it easy” by returning to full-time work outside the home. I grew to loathe the word mompreneur, while simultaneously coveting the flexibility to build my work life around my family while doing what I love.
I spent too much of the past year trying to match my varied skill set to a full-time role, going on a lot of interviews, deciding I was a has-been when those interviews didn’t turn into offers, and, no matter how cool the role initially seemed, ultimately feeling relieved that I avoided another cubicle sentence.
Often, sometimes daily, I doubt my professional worth. I compare myself to entrepreneurs who appear to have it all figured out. I think about going back to school. I think about barista jobs. I feel guilty for not appreciating my blank slate. And for too long, I’ve been stalled, and scared, and wasting energy. I’m grieving my career as I knew it to be.
I just want to spend as much time with my kid as possible, and do some creatively fulfilling work when he sleeps.
Is that too much to ask?
Turns out: it’s not.
“I’m taking down the curtain. I’m sharing what I know how to do.”
About a month ago, I signed up for Braid Creative’s eCourse, Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do. My goals were to figure out which domain should host my portfolio, and to finally post my work so I’d have something to send to potential freelance gigs.
Every day for two weeks I spent the time during Graham’s morning nap reading some crazy insightful ideas about what my personal brand actually is (Guess what? Like every single one of us, it’s evolving – and that’s okay). I got hands-on and heart-open by working through sometimes fun, sometimes excruciating exercises that helped me determine how my ideal day is structured, the facets of my personality and how they inform my (brand) identity, and (the big one) what it is I actually do and who I want to help.
During Graham’s afternoon nap, I used the information I gathered about myself in the eCourse – and the subsequent burst of creative energy* – to connect my personal and professional dots.
I collected my portfolio, I built a website, and I decided – fuck it – I’m taking down the curtain. I’m sharing what I know how to do.
Hi. I’m Heather. I love words.
I write website copy, marketing materials, and press releases that help creative entrepreneurs, independent businesses, and boutique marketing and PR agencies share their purpose, say what they mean, and get noticed.
I’m looking for kind and creative clients who need support to polish their communications or re-think what they have.
You can learn more about my services, see samples of previous work, and find out how to hire me on my website: HeatherWatterworth.com.
Okay, Universe. Do your thing.
+ *It’s a lesson I’ve learned before, but one that always warrants re-education: I was amazed how ideas seemed to flow once I just focused and started doing the work. “The journey of a 1,000 miles…” and all that.
+ Yes, this means I’ll occasionally post about my work and career learnings here.
+ Yes, judgey-wudgey, my desk looks like that most of the time. You never know when you’re going to need a 1″ circle punch or an abandoned Easter project.
+ I was so moved and motivated by the breakthroughs I made as a result of Braid’s Personal Branding eCourse that when I was invited to join their affiliate program I hopped to it. Should you choose to enrol in any of Braid’s three eCourses by clicking on the link above, or in the sidebar, I’ll earn a small but generous (as affiliate programs go) commission.