Hi, allow me to take a few minutes of your reading time and reduce the complexity of your life to a mere circle.
This is your life (well, at least for the purposes of this post).
Actually this is a visual I employed when I was a career counselor at a college. The idea of the circle goes something like this: In your life there are many dimensions, sometimes they all are manifested in varying degrees, sometimes only a few pieces may exist.
Now let’s take a look at what those pieces may be:
Career: Most people place a lot of emphasis on their career, and with good reason. If you work full-time, you probably will be spending 40+ hours of your life, per week, here. You want it to be a fulfilling and a good match for your interests, values, and skills. The problem is, we can place so much importance on the all-mighty career being our source of fulfillment, we sometimes place impossible expectations on this piece and forget there are other aspects to our life.
Family: For some people, a big chunk of their life-pie is family—immediate family, relatives, partners, children, etc. This section of our life may come and go in importance depending on where we’re at in our life, and can be our mainstay in relationships, a source of joy, or sometimes a source of angst.
Community: This is an area in our life where we get the chance to be involved with our community. Here is where we might serve as a volunteer, or participate in politics, or a grassroots project—almost anything with a community outlook and a way to contribute to the greater good.
Avocation: An avocation is like an intense hobby or maybe even a second career. For example, I know a man who is a pastor by vocation, but a terrific caricature artist as an avocation. He’s so good, he has a side business selling his portraits. This is more than a hobby—drawing pictures—and yet it’s not his main career. It’s his avocation.
Hobby/Leisure: This is the area most of us are familiar with—the activities we pursue because they give us pleasure.
Spiritual: I won’t attempt to define this for people, but suffice it to say it can take many forms and meanings for different people.
When I’m working with someone struggling to choose a major or career option, I remind the student that a career was never meant to fulfill all our needs; it just can’t bear that burden. That’s why it’s important to understand there are other avenues to feed our sense of fulfillment.
So why am I devoting an article about writing to this little career tool? Because the joy of writing is that it can fit into so many different areas in our lives!
Writing has always been a part of my life, sometimes as a hobby--keeping journals and experimenting with creative writing--other times, as an avocation—publishing articles and actually getting paid. Recently, I volunteered with our local literary journal, produced by our arts center, as a co-editor (community). Writing is even a form of meditation and prayer for me (spiritual).
A few years ago I had the opportunity to “take the leap” and try writing as a full-time career. I threw myself into finding my voice, getting published where and how I could, earning money from my writing (not a living, mind you), started blogs, learned the whole platform gig, and made the declaration, “I am a writer!” It was scary and exhilarating and very exciting.
Life's journey, as it will sometimes do, is taking me on a new path. It’s time to reexamine the circle of my life and where and how the pieces are fitting together. It’s time to look at shifting the role of writing out of the career spotlight and into other areas of my life. I’m so excited to find out where and how my writing will show itself now because I know this: I love to write. It will always be a part of my circle. And who knows? It may even find its way into a career position again when I’m older. (One of my writing heroes published her first book after retirement!)
One of the manifestations of the life change I’m making is that I will no longer be a regular featured contributor here at She Writes with my Making the Leap posts. I’m so honored to have been a part of your journeys and thankful you, and She Writes, walked with me on this road. It sure made the trek a lot less lonely.
No matter where writing fits in your life-- and it may shift and change throughout your life--keep the joy, and whatever you do…