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The School Run Blogging Rut: A Day In The Life of a WFH Mum

The School Run Blogging Rut: A Day In The Life of a WFH Mum

This year has a big one in our family with the little one starting full time kindergarten. I had been thinking this change would actually lead to an increase in my productivity as I’d have two extra days to work, but something quite the opposite has happened.

It turns out that five straight days, week after week, of early mornings and school runs has actually put me into a massive creative rut that I’m struggling to lift myself out of. It’s not that much more than last year, so why the rut?

Last year Cheese was in preschool three days a week, leaving us two days together during the week to sleep in, see friends and family and generally not have to be on a schedule of any kind. Now, suddenly, I find myself chained to a tight schedule again five days out of seven, even though I work from home and don’t have to start work at any particular time. Ironic, is it not, for a remote writer to be chained to a schedule again?

This is what my days look like now that school is in.

6:20am: Alarm 1 goes off. I press snooze and roll back over.

6:30am: Alarm 2 goes off. I peel off the sheets and get out of bed.

6:30-7am: Instagram. Yes, that’s right, I use this half an hour to Instagram. I’ve worked out that the majority of my audience is online at this time so I post and comment to ensure my photos are reaching people at the right time online. This is also why my Instagram posts have a large number of typos. I also drink a lot of caffeine during this time.

7am: Make Cheese’s lunch, lay out her school uniform.

7:15am: Wake Cheese up and give her breakfast (she only eats yoghurt for breakfast so at least it’s easy!).

7:20am: Jump in the shower and get myself ready for the school run.

7:30am: Get Cheese dressed for school.

7:45am: Leave the house and drive Cheese to school.

8:30am: Leave Cheese at school. Drop by Coles and pick up whatever groceries we need and drive home.

9:30am: Home and finally can start the day with a bowl of yoghurt. I see a pattern here. Work until 12pm on anything from replying to emails and writing for blog to pitching and writing freelance assignments or copywriting gigs.

12pm-12:30pm: Lunch! Usually two boiled eggs and maybe some cheese and crackers and an apple.

12:30pm-2pm: Finish up work followed by any other errands that need running like going to the post office, photographing products, editing images and responding to more emails.

2pm-2:15pm: Get ready for school pick up by packing snacks or clothes for swimming.

2:15-3pm: Drive to the school and park.

3pm-5:30pm: Take Cheese to the playground or swimming.

5:30-6:30pm: Home. Clean out the lunch boxes and cook dinner.

6:30pm-7:30pm Eat dinner all together.

7:30pm Cheese has books read to her.

8pm-9:30pm: Attempt to get Cheese to sleep.

9:30pm-9:45pm: A few minutes to relax.

9:45-10pm: Get ready for bed.

10pm-10:15pm asleep.

Rinse and repeat.

Now I’ve broken it down I can see what’s happening and why I’m in such a rut! I spend most of the day either doing domestic chores or childcare, no matter my creativity is zero!

You might be asking where is the husband in this picture? He does one pick up and one drop off a week and we alternate reading books and putting Cheese to bed at night, but honestly it’s a small drop in the ocean of things needing to be done.

Now I’m working from home five days a week I’m starting to feel lonely working all by myself, so that is also contributing to the rut.

Is there an answer to getting out of this rut and getting creativity back? I don’t honestly know. I am going to try to get out more to meet with fellow creatives and try and perhaps break up the morning with working from a cafe near the school before rushing to do more chores and driving back home. Will that help? Why knows?

 

What about you? Have you been in a creative rut? Do you have any words of advice?

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

A Day in The Life of a WHF Freelance Writer/Blogger and Mum

A Day in the Life of a WFHFreelance Writer and Mum

My excellent friend Jayne at Girl Tweets World recently wrote this hilarious look at a day in the life of a non-travelling travel blogger. I absolutely love peeks into people’s lives, especially when they are as funny as Jayne is.

While Jayne and my jobs are fairly similar (we are both WFH writers/bloggers), thinking about how different a child makes the schedule inspired me to write my own day-in-the-life post.

On Mondays and Tuesdays I am with Cheese all day, and there is zero work time, so this is our schedule Wed, Thur and Fri, which are the days she is in preschool. Some times I have a fabulously exciting media event to attend, or a high tea to review, but this is what the majority of my days look like.

7am: Woken up. Usually by a tiny arm thrown around my neck in a gleeful hug, followed by mushy face kisses. If it’s after 7am I’m thrilled. If it’s before 7am I might throw her a yoghurt pouch and turn on Octonauts and try to catch a few more ZZZs.

7:15am: Pull myself out of bed, stumble towards kitchen and turn on kettle to boil the first strong black tea of the day. Imperative for getting anything done.

7:30am: Get Cheese ready for school. I make her lunch the night before so all I have to do is put the lunch boxes and water bottle in her backpack, and double check I packed her hat and spare outfit.

8am: Try and convince Cheese to stop playing, eat her breakfast, and get dressed for school.

8:20am: Remember I need to shower as well and duck in while Alec gets Cheese to brush her teeth and put her shoes on.

8:30am: Out the door to take Cheese to school. It’s about a half hour drive to get there.

9:30am: Home from the school run and ready to start my day. I spend about 30 mins to an hour answering emails, checking in on social media, posting blog posts or images and a bit of faffing around before I start the real work.

10:30-12pm: Solid work time, where I usually complete freelance writing pieces for clients. This might be copywriting for a business website, or writing an article for a travel or parenting website.

12pm-12:30pm: Lunch time. Once a week or so I might meet up with a friend but I have such limited work time that I don’t do it as often as I’d like. Alec and I both work from home so you’d think we would have lunch together more, but we just can’t find the time. I usually make smashed avocado on sourdough with roasted tomatoes and eggs.

12:30-2pm: I finish off any remaining work I might have, but more often than not I spend the time chasing information I need for work, following up on pitches, replying to new emails or sending out new work pitches. If it’s a particularly slow work week I might spend an hour working on a blog post.

2pm: I finish work for the day and take myself for a walk. I like to listen to podcasts while I work, particularly Being Boss.

2:30pm: I drive to pick up Cheese from school and wonder how the time went so quickly.

3pm: Pick up Cheese right on time. If I’m late she gets upset, so I have to make sure I’m there when the door opens. I’ve also seen her try and bolt out the door so it’s always good to be early so she doesn’t escape.

3:05pm: Catch up with Cheese’s teacher – hopefully get a good report for the day, while Cheese whines about how hungry she is. I ask her if she ate her lunch and she always says “No!”. Gee, what a shocker.

3:30-4:30pm: I like to organise play dates for Cheese with her school buddies at nearby playgrounds to let the kids burn off even more energy and so I can catch up with friends at the same time. When we don’t have a play date we will grab blueberry bagels with cream cheese and either do grocery shopping or head to a playground just the two of us.

4:30pm: I drive us home around this time as it’s getting dark and the traffic gets terrible if I wait any longer.

5:30-6:30pm: I play a bit with Cheese, clean out her lunch boxes, make new lunch for the following day, chat with her about what she got up to and who she played with, and make her dinner which she may or may not eat.

6:30-7:45pm: Bath and books time for Cheese. Alec and I take turns reading to her or sitting with her while she falls asleep. I often do the reading so Alec can spend more quality time with her (AKA doing the bedtime sleep battle).

7:45-8:30pm: I make dinner, clean up after Cheese’s dinner and tidy up her toys and general mess while waiting for Alec to emerge victorious from putting the Cheese to sleep.

8:30-9pm: Alec and I eat dinner together. Some days we chat about what we’ve been doing, or what feedback I had from Cheese’s teacher that day. Some days we are too tired to talk and watch TV instead.

9-10:30pm: I work on my blog, edit images, reply to more emails, post pics to Instagram and watch TV. I love mindless TV shows like The Bachelor as I can write at the same time and not miss the plot.

10:30-11pm: Bed time! I read a few pages of a book and fall asleep pretty quickly, absolutely shattered. If I’m lucky I won’t wake again until 7am, but often little Cheese will come in and wake us up wanting milk, more food or a cuddle.

Get more tips on becoming a digital nomad with kids here.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Career Talk: The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

I’ve been working for myself as a freelance writer, blogger and marketer for about two years now, and it’s been quite the ride. I’d always dreamed of this type of life, running my own business, and it’s exhilarating and exhausting in equal amounts. If you’re thinking of quitting your day job and trying to work from home for yourself, here are the ups and downs to consider first.

Pro: Make your own schedule
The main reason I decided to pursue this path was for the lifestyle. I wanted flexibility to be around my daughter rather than put her in additional child care. I decide what days and hours I want to work. As a result I get to drop her off and pick her up from school, take her on playdates, to fun activities like ballet, and still keep my career going in the right direction.

Con: People don’t respect the schedule
Even though I let clients know the days and hours I work in advance, the work isn’t contained to those days. I sometimes find myself scrambling for additional child care on my non-work days when requests come in that can’t wait, or if clients don’t lock me in in advance during the school holidays so I don’t put my daughter in vacation care. Extra care = extra cash outlay from me, so I don’t schedule her in unless I have guaranteed work – which isn’t something people in full-time jobs think about. I’m thankful for the work, oh so thankful, and I try to be as flexible as I can to keep the clients happy – which means I end up working late into the night, on weekends, and early mornings before anyone else wakes up. Yaaaawn.

Pro: I can work anywhere
I didn’t know the term “digital nomad” when I started working like this, only that I didn’t want to be locked into an office to restrict our travels. My hubby also works remotely so we can travel anywhere we want and work remotely if we like. This comes in handy particularly with hubby, as we have travelled the the US a few times and stayed with family and he has worked while we were there so it didn’t come out of his leave.

Con: It can get lonely
Not having a team or people to socialise with every day can definitely get lonely, particularly in a business that is a pretty hard slog with lots of rejection. I try to meet up with other people working similarly as much as I can for a coffee or blog function so I can get the socialisation.

Pro: I set my rates
I can charge whatever I want for my time now, and all the money comes straight back to us (minus the bit that goes to the government, of course!). When I get too busy to take on more, I can up my rates – and amazingly I still can get more work at the higher rate from clients who really need work done. It’s a great feeling to feel like I am using the skills I love to get paid.

Cons: Sporadic pay 
One of the hardest parts of this business is not having a regular pay check coming in. Regular writing gigs are rare as hen’s teeth, so in the mean time I try and organise work ahead of time so I have money coming in regularly. I pitch more when I don’t have many requests coming in, for example.

Pro: Perks of the job
I do get some amazing opportunities as a result of this work choice. Events, tickets to shows, products, discounts. I appreciate everything that has come my way and am really lucky that I’ve been able to experiences so many places and shows that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford if I’d had to pay for them outright. I do want to point out here that people love to ask what “freebies” I get as a blogger, and I cringe at the word “freebie”. The truth is I don’t get anything I’d class as a “freebie” and I feel like that word really makes bloggers, writer and influencers in general sound like they are just after free stuff rather than running a business. If I am sent to an event or show or given a product, I’m expected to write about it promote it. There’s nothing “free” about it.

Cons: Requests to work for free
I receive requests to work in return for products, or to write at a fraction of what market rate is for an experienced writer – or for nothing! It can be frustrating and demoralising, and I feel like saying, “Would you do your job for a new book?” when my requests for payment for advertorial work gets a reply like: “Sorry there isn’t budget”, when obviously the person who has contacted me is getting paid in cash and not books! I’m getting better are saying “no” however, and moving on to projects that do pay actual cash!

Do you work for yourself? What are some of the pros and cons that you find?

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Life as a blogger: how I pay the bills

Life As A Blogger: How I Pay The Bills

I had my first rude comment on my blog this week. Considering I think my blog is pretty vanilla in tone, I was surprised that I’d managed to attract anger in anyone with my boring little travel blog, but I guess I did.

The person didn’t even have the guts to write an actual comment with their name. Instead, they signed up to my mailing list with a fake email account: “wow-you-have-a-rich-hubby-youdontneedtowork@gmail.com”.

Wooooooooooooowzas. I was so taken aback. Whoever was cowardly enough to write this sounds to me like they’re suffering from the ol’ green eyed monster. Jealous of a lifestyle that is very carefully curated to make it look like I travel non-stop and do nothing but eat out and go to shows with my kid.

And while some of my life is like that, the majority of it isn’t. Most of the time I am working my ass off to pay bills.

I wanted to shatter the illusion that this person might have that my life, and bloggers like me, live some kind of charmed life, just because our blogs and social media accounts might make it look like we do. Hello, it’s called branding and a marketing plan.

I want to make it clear that bloggers like me share a carefully curated image of ourselves to represent our businesses, but underneath that we are some of the hardest workers you will ever come across. Most bloggers, like myself, juggle family, children, paid work AND our blogs on top of it. We don’t spend our evenings watching Netflix or reading a book. Every spare second is spent working on our blogs and social media accounts.

I can’t speak for all of the bloggers out there, but I personally do not have a rich husband, so I do have to work. Golly, I wish I did have a rich spouse! It sounds pretty nice to never have to worry about money and to just be able to faff around on my little blog all day long.

I actually only work on my blog in the evenings after my daughter has gone to bed. During my work hours, during the day when she is at school, I work for various publications and copy writing services to earn money.

Occasionally I am able to make money through my blog. This is one goal of mine to increase, as it’s a dream to make money from a hobby that I love. My blog has enabled me to receive a opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to do, such as seeing shows or attractions in return for reviews. I am extremely thankful for opportunities like this as they help keep our lifestyle costs down, and enable us to do and see more.

In general, however, I’m just a normal gal, working incredibly hard to bring in work to help support my family.

I hope this gives a bit more insight into the life of a blogger. If you have any questions, please write them below. I’m happy to answer anything.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Freelancer Diaries: Etiquette and Playing Nice

Freelancer Diaries: Etiquette & Playing Nice via christineknight.me

Making a living as a writer, as opposed to just blogging my little heart out, has been such an interesting learning curve. In my previous full-time roles I was representing big businesses who people wanted for their own business’ success. Being a writer is basically being on the other side of that business model. I’m now the person reaching out to big publications wanting their exposure or profile for my resume, or wanting to be paid to write for them.

As such, I’ve discovered how important etiquette is when balancing the fine line between being just the right amount of assertive, such as when introducing myself and pitching story ideas, and polite, because no one wants to work with an aggressive ego maniac.

Etiquette will get you a long way when working with editors, who can get hundreds of pitches and queries a week from writers just like you. I wanted to share a few tips on how to build relationships that will last and bring you repeat work.

Freelancer Diaries: Etiquette & Playing Nice via christineknight.me

Be polite
First rule of life, as far as I’m concerned: be polite. Thank people for their time. Remove weak words out of emails, like “just” and “think” and keep the tone strong, but at the same time polite. It’s a fine balance. It will be likely you’ll need to follow up with most editors various times as they are some of the busiest people you’ll ever meet. I suggest waiting at least a week between following up between the first email and second, then 2 weeks between the next email, and then, after another two weeks, sending a new email with new pitches. All very politely, of course.

Do your homework
Before pitching ideas, look at their site/publication. What have they already covered in the last few months? What topics do they focus on and avoid? Sending over pitches that are not in line with what they do is a waste of both their time and yours.

Be assertive
But not rude. Never, ever rude. Never harass repeatedly with frequent follow up emails, or demand responses. That’s a surefire way to have your emails send to the trash.

Be 100% professional
Nail the word count. Run spell check. Get your article in BEFORE the deadline. Fulfil the brief exactly. Keep questions to the editor to a minimum (questions = extra work for them). Be easy and pleasant to deal with. Build a name for yourself as someone who delivers what the publication needs with zero fuss.

Deliver clean copy
Get a friend to read over your copy to make sure you didn’t miss anything. There is no better feeling than filing copy and seeing it published soon after with zero changes made by an editor. Your editor will also love you for this as it means no additional work is needed by them.

Be thankful for feedback
Writing can be subjective and highly personal, and therefore hard to know how to respond to edits requested by editors. While my first reaction might be, in my head, that the piece was great as it was, that’s only my pride speaking, not the truth of the situation. The changes my editors suggest always improve my piece, as well as helping me better my writing skills in general. I always, ALWAYS, thank editors for their time giving me suggestions on changes to be made.

What are your tips on building a lasting relationship with editors?

 

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Four Resources Every Freelancer Needs

Four Resources Every Freelancer Needs via christineknight.me

Being a freelancer is tough, I won’t sugar coat it. With no boss to keep you on track and focussed, I find it hard to be organised and stay motivated. There are a lot of highs and lows that come with being a freelancer – the big wins that feel better than any win at your old job, but then there the lows, that can destroy your self confidence and plant seeds of self doubt.

I find these four resources have really helped me to keep my confidence high, present myself and find work, and manage the limited time that I have more efficiently.

Podcast: Being Boss
Being Boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. These ladies know their stuff. Thanks to their podcast I’m feeling more confident that I can “make bank” (as they call making money) with a small business. Emily and Katherine have also started a Being Boss Facebook group that is great for inspiration and advice. When do I have time to listen to podcasts? When I’m driving to and from school drop off/pick up, grocery shopping or taking a quick walk by myself.

Freelance website: Contently
I’ve found Contently useful for getting well-paid work with big brand clients, as well as invaluable info on working as a freelancer with their blog. Their article on payment rates was particularly helpful. Their site can be use purely as an easy place display your portfolio in an attractive way, or you can join their freelancer network and get paid jobs.

Career and Business Coach: Lisa Kate
Lisa Kate is a successful entrepreneur, digital strategist and a career coach, who has been giving me invaluable guidance for almost two years. I find it extremely helpful to have an outside person help cut to the quick of what I really want and how to achieve it. If being coached isn’t really your thing, you can still benefit from Lisa’s helpful blog content, such as her free ebook “The Golden Triangle – The 3 key steps to creating a successful online business”. 

Organisation: Passion Planner
There are so many amazing planners out there, but I love my Passion Planner. It’s an all-in-one weekly appointment calendar, journal, goal setting guide, and to-do list log all bound together in a pretty cover. I use it to block out time each day and keep myself on track.

What do you find invaluable to your freelance business’s success?

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

2016 – A Year of Focus

2016: A Year of Focus

I want to focus in 2016 on what really means the most to me, an what will help me build the life I want to live in the future. This will mean a few changes ahead for me and the blog:

  1. Blog content:
    I am going to leave the parenting content for the time being as it’s making me feel burnt out. I plan to focus on travel content, both with and without kids, local and international, as well as content on my other interest right now, which is the freelance life. I am by no means an expert in this field, but I hope that by exploring this, and the concerns surrounding it more, that perhaps I will become one!
  2. Freelance writing direction:
    This has been how I’ve made a living in 2015. I’ve had some amazing successes such as being published in the WSJ, that has inspired me to write up a goal sheet of where I want to be published in 2016. I would love to see my writing on The New York Times (hey, gotta dream big!), inflight magazines like Jetstar and Qantas, The Atlantic and Washington Post, to name a few.
  3. Focusing upwards:
    This means saying no to projects that won’t further my goals. I plan to assess each opportunity for the value it will add to me beyond immediate financial compensation. Sometimes turning an opportunity that isn’t quite right down will leave the space for an opportunity that is right to present itself instead. Ideally I would love to secure on-going clients as pitching constantly is very time consuming.
  4. Experimenting in my niche:
    I have a tendency to spread myself too thin, so I will need to assess this as time goes. I would love to do more video, regular periscopes etc on the freelancing business, and grow my profile in this area. I want to find better ways to reach people with hopefully useful content. I’m re-evaluating the current platforms I’m using and am planning to scrap a lot and start from a smaller base of people who actually want exactly what I do, rather than trying to build giant numbers of faceless people who don’t engage and probably don’t even read what I’m writing
  5. End goal:
    What do I really want? I want to be recognised in my field as a successful writer, and a successful business woman. I’ve realised over the past year that even though I keep thinking I haven’t “found” my business yet, that my business is actually writing. Now is the year to embrace it.

What about you? What is 2016 going to be?

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

How To Deal With A Crappy Day

How To Deal With A Crappy Day via christineknight.me

I usually try to keep this blog upbeat, but I’m not an upbeat person all the time. I’m not overly resilient (although I’d like to be!) and I have my share of crappy days where I just feel like everything is going pear shaped. Particularly work-wise. I find it harder than I’d thought to keep up my spirits when working as a freelancer when I have these types of days as there isn’t the social environment of an office to distract me. 

If you’re having a day like this (and I’m having one today!) this is how I deal with them and come out the other side feeling positive again.

Wallow
Own your feelings for a few minutes. Yep you feel like crap, a bit worthless, unemployable, a failure. I love a good wallow. Sometimes wallowing is accompanied by whining or wine. Both are acceptable in small doses.

Work out why
Why is today in particular getting you down? For me it’s often that I’ve had a shocking nights sleep and I’m tired and have a headache. I also feel like this when I have a bit of FOMO – like everyone is doing something awesome or getting great opportunities except me. Which is rubbish, but sometimes it still feels like this.

Do something productive
Once I’ve shaken myself out of the pity party, I try and find a positive way to turn around the bad day. Feeling low because I don’t have work published in a certain magazine? Look up the editor and email them a pitch. Or research other similar sites or publications and pitch to them instead. Feeling lonely? Email a few friends and suggest getting together. Missed out on a media event? Ask someone who went directly who organized the event and email them, introducing yourself and asking to be put on their media list for next time.

Do something to feel better
Getting endorphins flowing helps me when I’m feeling down. I go for a walk, take a barre class, do some yoga in the living room. I try to put all of the worries out of my heard and think about absolutely nothing. On days when I’m too exhausted to do anything else, instead of flogging a dead horse I spend some time taking care of myself like getting a pedicure or reading a book for an hour just to calm my mind.

Get busy
You can’t force creativity. On days like this I can’t write anything useful, it’s all a forced incoherent mess. Instead of wasting time staring at a blank screen I do all the “busywork” I’ve been putting off. Paying bills, processing photos, replying to emails. I feel as though I’ve accomplished something and also freed up some time that can be used in the future for other creative projects.

How about you? How do you deal with crappy day blues?

Linking up with Bron.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Rejection is not a four-letter word

Rejection is not a four-letter word via christineknight.me

Ahhhh rejection, I know you well. We have been close friends for many years now. It’s only in recent times, however, that I’ve learned to stop taking it personally when my ideas are met with a rebuff, or, worse, no response at all.

One of the lovely bloggers in my Aussie Parenting Bloggers Facebook group recently posted that she was feeling down after being rejected a lot, and it made my heart hurt for her. Rejection sucks! It really does. Particularly for a creative person like a writer, when what you’re pitching is really yourself and ideas. Rejection can feel like a stab through the heart – it’s sending a message that you and your words are not good enough.

After a few emails that all have the same generic Dear John “thanks but no thanks” reply to requests for freelance assignments, it’s hard to keep self confidence up.

Maintaining confidence is one of the hardest things about being a freelance anything. Self belief in the face of constantly being told “no, you’re not right for us”. Ouch. It hurts.

I’ve been writing as a freelancer now for about three years. I’ve had more rejection emails than I can count – and I’ve lost track of the number of inquiries I’ve put out there that haven’t been responded to.

I want every other writer just starting out to know that you are not alone. We all face rejection (I get rejected daily. Honestly.).

Each rejection is one step closer to an acceptance. You have to keep trying and putting yourself out there and, as hard as it is, not take rejection personally.

When you get a rejection email (or worse, no response), repeat to yourself, “It’s not about me”. Because it’s not about you. Whatever you were pitching wasn’t a good fit for the publication or the editor was too busy to respond. Neither of these mean that the quality of your ideas or words isn’t good enough to be published.

Everyone who has made anything of themselves has faced similar rejection at some stage. The wonderful children’s author Mem Fox told me in an interview last year that her famous book, Possum Magic, was rejected by published 10 TIMES before it was accepted and published. Just let that sink in.

If Mem had given up after the first few rejections we would not have one of the most famous Australian children’s books ever written.

The next time you get a rejection, remember it’s not you, it’s them. Remember Mem Fox, and have the courage to keep on trying.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Living A Small Life

Living A Small Life via christineknight.me

At the ripe old age of 35 I’ve come to the realisation that there are a lot of things I will not be in this life time. A professional ballet dancer, which was my earliest wish. An Olympic Athlete, which was my dream as a teenager. I’m probably not going to be someone who creates the next Facebook, or comes up with life changing medical advancements either. In short, now and then I feel a bit down that I’m not going to “achieve” that much in my life as I had hoped as a child. I worry I haven’t fulfilled my potential. That I’m not a “success” in anything.

When I shake myself out of my self pity party, I take a look around myself and see some beautiful things. I’m a wife to a great guy. A daughter to wonderful parents. A sister, sister-in-law and aunt. I’m a friend to a lot of smart, kind and loving people and I’m the mum to a kid I feel blessed to hold every day. I’m healthy and we are financially stable. Things are pretty good here.

My self pity comes from my own and also society’s expectations and definitions of success. I’m not a CEO, or a director or an engineer. I’ve struggled for years to define myself as a professional. What do I do? For years I worked in advertising at what’s renowned as the best company in the world to work for, but didn’t find the world fulfilling. I had big numbers to hit and, while I did my job well, I was more interested in other things, like creating websites, writing copy, making videos, social and marketing.

I’ve hesitated to write down my “profession” on a business card or website as until now I really didn’t know what to say. All the words felt so limiting when written down – too small to describe the scope of what I did and when put together, a rag tag bunch of descriptions that made me sound like a very confused person. Writer. Photographer. Editor. Social media and marketing strategist. I’m all of these things, but also not any of them.

I’ve finally realised that what I am is a storyteller. What makes me happy, and has always made me happy, is telling stories. When I was younger, I used to enjoy making up stories, but in recent years I’ve loved telling real stories – mine and of other people. Not big, hard hitting news stories, or words that become manifestos, but the smaller, quiet words that make up our day-to-day lives. The words that aren’t really that important, but are at the same time, because they reflect who we truly are at the heart of our lives. Our stories, as simple as they are, are worth telling and recording.

Storytellers have always been a critical part of human society. The people who document life and pass on folk lore to the next generation. The observers, the watchers, the ones who are good at noticing and remembering.

If this is my purpose, it’s a pretty good thing to be. It’s a small life, a quiet one, but one that is beautiful and worth having.

What about you? Tell me what’s beautiful about your life.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!