Thursday, January 15, 2009

What I do all day...

As one of my nieces so elegantly put it over the holidays, "so now that you don't have a job, what do you DO all day?" I was sleep deprived and didn't feel like getting into it, so I told her I ate bon bons, slept late every day and watched DVDs. She said, "must be nice." It was Christmas, so instead of saying, "actually I'd rather have a full-time job and I've been applying all over the place and being on unemployment sucks," I said, "yeah, it is nice."

I can't even call myself a former workaholic, because I've discovered that I am a workaholic whether I have a "real" job or not. After spending almost 5 months of 12-14 hours days (sometimes longer) working on press for a congressional campaign, I'll admit to sleeping a lot in the weeks following Election Day. But that didn't last very long. I decided I needed a reason to get up in the morning, so I got a puppy. I've wanted a dog for a while (no one was more surprised than I, being a lifelong cat person) and it wasn't the only reason I decided to bring Lou into my little family, but there are a lot of benefits. The best one: I go for 4 or 5 long walks a day because she's very active and forces me to (a) get out of the house and (b) get some exercise. And having a puppy is like a job. Between Lou and Miss Kitty, I spend a lot of time feeding and brushing and bathing and taking care of my four-legged little ones.

Once I got my groove back, I started writing again. I have a schedule. I get up in the morning and after I walk the dog, I power on the laptop and start working. I've written a few pieces that haven't gone anywhere yet, one for Charleston Magazine's March issue, and have scheduled four speaking engagements and workshops to promote my book so far. When I run out of writing ideas, I run through my to-do list. I've done a lot of early spring cleaning around the house, caught up on all of the things I dropped the ball on while I was working for the campaign, and even managed to spend time socially with friends and family. I'm definitely not an anomaly. I think I actually have more friends who have been laid off or otherwise dismissed from jobs last year than I do friends who still have full-time jobs.

This is the short answer. I love working from home again, love afternoon naps, love being able to go to a yoga class in the middle of the day, love walks with Lou, and love that I always have clean clothes and a clean house, and I'm healthier than I've been in months. But since I'm on COBRA, I'm paying a ridiculous amount for health insurance, have been dipping into savings to cover bills (no idea how anyone can live off of unemployment), and have applied for jobs that I never thought I'd consider six months ago (like corporate management positions). It took longer than I thought to get my creative mojo back, but the muse is taking baby steps and she's beginning to trust me. And I've made a promise that I'll never ignore her for long periods of time again.


  1. Hey, glad to hear you're doing okay. I have been wondering how things were going since the campaign ended.

    I spoke with the editor of Charleston Style and Design last summer about some work she had that ended up being kicked back to Atlanta instead. She said to send her info on to anyone I might know who was interested in writing for her if you're interested, let me know, or feel free to contact them directly!

  2. Hi Miranda,

    Great to hear from you! I couldn't find your direct email - would you shoot me an email at so I have it? Have a couple of things I want to ask off-blog anyway and I can send you my contact info and writer's bio to pass along. I'd really appreciate it!

  3. I'd love to be able to work from home in the next year or two. It's not in the cards for me now, as I'm trying to save up a nest egg for when I have children.

    I admire your ability to get up and write, though. I'm hoping that someday I'll have that drive. :) Good luck!

  4. Thanks, Ashley! It is nice to work from home...and when you depend on the income, it's not hard to get up and get going!

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  6. Hey Kelly,

    Just an fyi, there are less expensive alternatives to Cobra. Mediabistro has some links to cheaper health insurance for freelancers.
    Glad things are going well!

  7. Yeah, working from home is so much harder than people think. It can be amazing when you're in your own space and the muse is hollering in your ear and no one cares that you're in your pj's at 2 pm. On the other hand, it's lonely and stressful and there are days when that damned muse is on vacay someplace you can't afford to go.

    I'm glad the work is continuing for you, and if you get something fancy, tell ME about it.


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