I have personal nightmares about a lot of different things—not having any more children, the overnight gentrification of my neighborhood, a 90 percent off shoe sale on a week when I’m flat broke—but none so scary as the possibility of toiling away the remaining 30, 40 years of my working life as someone else’s employee. If ever a single thought could make me anxious, desperate and lightheaded all in one fell swoop, that one is the money shot.
I am not built for a 9-to-5. For the longest time, I thought something was wrong with me because of it, and I’d scold myself for being too restless, too unsettled, too daydreamy. “Look at Kimberly over there at her desk all hard at work,” I’d bark at myself (in my head, of course, not out loud). “She’s content to wake up, come in every day, earn her check and go on home. Why can’t you be the same way?”
In the vision I had for my life, I would be able to drop my daughter off at school and do interviews and write stories and edit books and maybe do some research, then pick her up and play supermom for a few more hours until bedtime. But the harsh reality was I was slave to a job I needed to keep to pay the bills on time. That was beyond frustrating, particularly for me who has been given a heavy dose of the right-now chromosome.
Because me being in the structure of corporate America was like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole, waking up and getting my butt in gear in the mornings got increasingly harder. I sighed. A lot. Like—three times in ten minutes a lot. When I stopped beating myself up for not being satisfied with just having a job and accepted that I’m not cut from the corporate cloth, I started to understand myself a whole lot better, personally and professionally.
I’d never knock other women who’ve climbed the corporate ladder and made inroads into careers in the fields they’ve set their ambitions on. Without them, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t do what I do. But Lord knows I’m too much of a free spirit to sit in an office or a cubicle all day. I wanted to build something of my own instead of growing someone else’s bottom line, stressing myself out over someone else’s deadlines, investing my talents into someone else’s brand. I’d never really thought of writing and entrepreneurialism meshing together into a business, though. My big dream was to be on staff at a magazine because I thought that was the only reasonable aspiration for somebody who had a way with words.
But when I figured out that just about everybody needs a writer at some point, from hospital newsletters to political campaigns to affianced couples who don’t want to write their own wedding vows, I became more than a freelancer scrambling for assignments. I became a business woman. The Write or Die Chick is the fruit of that realization.