Managing the 2 Ws

Writing and Work. This is a blogpost for those of us trying to do two careers and just starting out at both. This is to remind us that it is okay to be a beginner. This is to encourage us to experiment, both in those careers and in managing them. This is to say that taking a risk, no matter the outcome, is a worthy endeavor. 

I’ve just come out of a two week stint of thinking, “What the fuck am I doing?” I’ve come to expect these personal crises, but that expectation does not diminish their intensity.

I’ve just finished law school in the last year and started working as a lawyer. While at law school, I found my way back to writing. The law is fascinating, but it does not satisfy a deep creative impulse in me. On the outside, I looked to be succeeding, but inside I was flailing. Until I started writing again.

Being in my 30s, I’ve gotten to know myself a little better. Writing feels to me like what I need to be doing. It is the thing that doesn’t feel like work even when it’s incredibly difficult. But having been an actor, I know that another part of brain also needs to be satisfied.

Which is where the law comes in. There is a different kind of creativity in the law. Seeking solutions within and pushing the boundaries of a legal structure scratches the left brain part of me that was unsatisfied when my only career was acting.

I need both. I need the right-brain creativity of fiction writing, and I need the left-brain creativity of the law.

But needing both leads to crisis. First, managing both is never a completed task. It is constant adjustment and sacrifice. It’s like being on a small boat. Yeah, you’re floating, but you’re never going to be level. Second, because of the way the world works, when I want or need to focus on one or the other of these careers, I don’t have the privilege to choose. I can’t just walk away. I mean, I guess I could stop writing (but see above), but it’s usually not the writing side I want to step away from.

This isn’t a blogpost about solutions. I don’t really think there are solutions. There are decisions and approaches that will change and be reevaluated as needed. There is advice to seek from other 2+ careered people. But there isn’t a “this is exactly how you do this, just follow this checklist.”

Which, in the end and when I’m not in crisis, is good. Being a two career person, for me, means that I am easily bored. If this was just a checklist life, it wouldn’t be for me. So, while I’m in a state of ease and joy with my life choices and needs, I am reminding myself (and you, dear reader) that those lows are worth the highs. The crises are worth the satisfaction. And if they ever aren’t, then and only then, will it be time to decide again.

Are you building two careers? Working a job while writing? How do you manage your time? How do you manage your thought processes? Let’s chat in the comments.

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