The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

10 Things to Do Before You Quit Your Day Job August 27, 2009

Filed under: Writing — michellehuegel @ 2:42 pm
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This article from The Urban Muse is so perfect for me right now, as I’m transitioning from my “day job” to being full-time mommy (first!) and freelancer. Some great tips, especially numbers 3 and 5, which I think are somewhat related. Often – or at least hopefully – joining professional organizations is a great source of networking and finding new contacts.

I’m also working on ideas for using my existing network of business contacts with the cell phone store to generate editing/writing business. One idea (thanks to my mother, actually) is to join the local Chamber of Commerce and then offer my services to the Niles business community to help with their Web sites/blogs, writing/editing brochures, advertisements, etc.

If you’re a writer or editor, have you joined your Chamber of Commerce or equivalent? Has it benefited you?


The Realization of an Inexorable Choice August 4, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — michellehuegel @ 4:07 pm
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in⋅ex⋅o⋅ra⋅ble /ɪnˈɛksərəbəl/
1. unyielding; unalterable: inexorable truth; inexorable justice.
2. not to be persuaded, moved, or affected by prayers or entreaties: an inexorable creditor.

In my somewhat-extensive reading experience, I’ve noticed that writers like the word inexorable. It is frequently used to add dramatic flair when writing about the passage of time, which could be a boring subject to read about.

Until recently the word slipped past my eyes and didn’t really register. Now I understand. Inexorable time means that my baby is learning new skills every minute. Each hour he’s on the floor he moves faster, farther. Every day he gets less and less easily pacified with a playpen or bouncy seat, preferring – needing – face-to-face interaction and new stimuli. A couple more months and he’ll be walking. (!)

But there’s a dark edge to the word inexorable. As exciting as all these changes are, they’re still changes (a word that deserves its own blog post!). We’re balanced precariously right now – I take Cai to work with me, and he naps in the playpen, plays on the floor or in his pen or bouncy chair, and sometimes in my lap. Every day I watch this balance tip inexorably toward the impossible.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately – not the distant, where-do-i-want-to-be-in-10-years future, but the immediate, what-am-i-going-to-do-in-3-months future. I feel the pressure of my English degree weighing on me, pulling me seductively to open Word or grab a smooth pen and fresh paper and just write. Every month when I pay my student loan bill I feel guilty that I’m not using my degree. But right now, paying bills and spending those rare moments of free time with my son and husband win out over writing.

Back to thinking about the future – because nothing stays the same forever. Sooner than I want to imagine, the day will come when I can’t bring Cai to the office with me anymore. Is that the time to finally take the leap of faith that being a freelance writer/editor requires, and risk my family’s financial security? What other choice do I have? Do you ever feel like life is conspiring to narrow your choices? Dare I even mention the word destiny? I refuse to put my son in daycare (not that we could afford it anyway), and that greatly limits my choices. I wanted to be an editor so I could work from home.

So why is that inexorable choice so utterly terrifying?


Back to the Future May 31, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:16 am
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Back to the Future was a classic. The original came out the year I was born. I remembered watching it when I was still in elementary school, and I can still recall scenes as if the movie were playing in front of me. What I find interesting about it now is how many of the inventions it featured that I take for granted that I once thought ridiculous and unlikely to happen.

Back to the Future

Take, for instance, video phones. Watching the movie in the early ’90s, I recall thinking to myself how unlikely it would be for me to ever get my hands on a videophone. It just looked like the rich people had them instead of telephones, and even at that age, I couldn’t imagine myself living in the lap of luxury. That, and I thought videophones were so far off that I’d be old before that happened. Clearly, I’m not old, and I’m not in the lap of luxury.

Even in an episode of Friends, Monica’s rich boyfriend owned a videophone, something none of the regular characters could even fathom owning. It proved entertaining to see everyone pretending not to be at the house when the boyfriend called since a videophone shows so much more than just a regular telephone.

While in both accounts, the videophone screens took up a large portion of the wall in the living room of a house, computers are the route we’ve actually taken.

Several evenings in the past week, I have found myself using the video chat function on Google chat, not even thinking about it. Using programs like Skype, I have sat and chatted with friends who are in time zones several miles away, on other continents, who are just waking up as I’m talking with them before bed, and it’s as if we’re in the same city. I’ve had tours of my friend’s flat in London, meeting all of the co-dwellers in her apartment before I’d had my morning shower. (Talk about an embarrassing first impression!) I even helped a friend rearrange her apartment over 2,000 miles away.

We video chat, and nothing phases us. We record our faces and upload them to YouTube without a thought otherwise about who else will see us. We take for granted the things that have allowed us to better communicate since we were children, and we ought to look back and be thankful for the things that have brought us to where we are and the relationships this has allowed.


Rollercoaster May 14, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 4:20 pm
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Life gets a little better, life gets a little gray
Live it up, live it long you can always count on
Those unexpected moments when the pleasure just sweeps you away.
We were made for something better,
Something better than this inconsistency,
So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on,
Under shame, under doubt, what’s the whole thing all about,
Sing to me.

– “Rollercoaster” by Kendall Payne

“So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on . . .”  On my drive home from Indiana, I realized that I have been just sitting around just waiting for the next exciting thing to happen to me. I haven’t made much effort in finding anything new.

A few years ago, I made the declaration that I would not be afraid to go where God was leading me, but now I am looking at where I’ve been since I said that, I realize that my life has only been encompassed by fear. I have not experienced as much as I could have, and I have notcome very far because I haven’t been willing to step out and take a risk.

After a conversation I had with a friend yesterday, I have decided that I need to escape the rut I’ve fallen into, whether it’s by going somewhere I’ve never been or by trying something new. I just know I can’t stay where I am at, and I can’t let fear hold me back anymore.

What is holding you back while you’re waiting for what’s next in life?