“I am a writer.”
When those four little words slipped off my tongue for the first time, I almost toppled over from a mixture of pride and pure shock. After spending so much of my life working towards the goal of becoming a lawyer, the idea of being anything else seemed nearly impossible. So much of my personality, my identity, had become attached to the law that I honestly forgot about the passions and interests that predated my first Contracts class.
It wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t an over-night transformation (just ask my family and they will gladly tell you all about what we lovingly refer to as “the lost year”) but, over time, I began to see myself as someone other than a lawyer. Through the practice of yoga, meditation, and a whole lot of therapy, I found myself getting back in touch with the things I had loved before passing the bar. Things like working with my hands and painting. Moving my body. Yoga. Being outside. Soaking in nature. Spending time with my loved ones. All of these things, these former passions, reawakened pieces of my soul that had been dormant for the better part of a decade. And they all lead me back to my oldest and truest passion…
Long before I was preparing motions or arguing my case before a judge, I was a writer.
I remember spending hours camped out in front of our family PC typing away like a pint-sized mad woman as I conjured up stories about far away places and people. I would reinvent the plot lines and characters of my own life, creating lavish stories for my parents and teachers to read. I secretly loved writing essays and, as the years wore on, lengthier term papers in school. I gravitated towards subjects that centered around the written word. Hell, even my passion for the law stemmed from a love of writing in one way or another.
I used to think that my entire life was focused around the law but, in reality, that was just one aspect of my story. The common thread through these years and experiences wasn’t the Constitution or a book of penal codes: it was writing.
When I look back on my entire life so far, all 27 years of it, everything I’ve ever done professionally or for fun, from the trips I’ve taken and recorded in my journals to the hours I’ve spent working in libraries, boils down to writing. Unlike the law, which I was arguably “good at” but never came easy to me, writing is effortless. Simple. Organic.
When I sit down at my desk (just like I am right now), I don’t have to over-think my work or spend hours second-guessing myself. Somehow, and I truly don’t know how, the words just make their way from some hidden corner in my head to my fingers to the screen or page.
Now that all sounds poetic and lovely but, if you’ve stumbled across this article, you’re probably wondering how in the hell you can actually make any money as a writer. It’s an extremely fair question and one that I asked myself about a hundred times over the last year before pulling the plug and becoming a full-time freelance writer.
I’m not a New York Times Bestseller (yet), but I do manage to make a decent living doing what I do. So here’s a snapshot of my average day as a freelance writer (who knows, maybe it could be you next…)
7am – 9am: My alarm goes off and, as always I hit snooze about a dozen times before finally waking up. When I finally open my eyes, the first thing I do is check my phone and respond to the texts from my mom and fiancé that are always waiting for me in the morning.
Side note: I’ve always admired those godly creatures that can wake up without hitting snooze. I’m convinced they must be members of the Illuminati…or Soul Cycle.
9am – 10am: Yoga! This sacred practice is usually enjoyed in the swanky Manhattan studio I belong to but, on special days, I ditch the sports bra and just plop down on my living room floor (30 minutes of Child’s Pose counts as yoga…right?).
10am – 11am: I get ready for the day, which usually consists of showering, scrolling through Instagram in my underwear for 45 minutes and eventually pulling on a clean pair of yoga pants. Sometimes I put on pants with a zipper or do my makeup. Those days are a double win.
11am: I log into Upwork, the website I use to find and interact with my freelance clients. I work with people all around the world on everything from cook books, non-fiction articles, and copywriting projects. All from the comfort of my apartment or Central Park.
11:15am – 11:30am: I respond to emails from my clients and compile my list of intentions for the day. I used to make to-do lists, but found that the word “intention” takes the pressure off a bit if I don’t get to everything (also because writer’s block is a thing and it’s a total bitch).
11:30am – 1:00pm: I draft a new article for The Yogi Lawyer and share it on social media.
1:00pm – 1:30pm: Lunch time! If I’m feeling particularly motivated, I’ll whip something healthy up in the kitchen (but, more often then not, I settle in with a bag of crackers and hummus…my snack of choice).
1:30pm – 3:00pm: Back to writing, usually with some trashy reality TV show or a re-run of Friends playing in the background.
3:00pm – 4:00pm: If the weather is nice, I take a walk outside to clear my head and just enjoy the city. If it’s freezing or slushy or rainy? Hello Buzzfeed my old friend…
4:00pm: I start making dinner (or at least thinking about what I want to cook). When I decided to freelance full-time, one of the trade off’s I made with my fiancé was that I would try to cook more…but somehow the Postmates man keeps ringing our buzzer with takeout. It’s a real mystery.
4:00pm – 6:30pm: More writing, playing with my guinea pig Milo, and texting my mom.
6:30pm – 10:30pm: My fiancé comes home, we inevitably order in takeout, and catch up on Netflix or Hulu shows together.
10:30pm: Fiancé falls asleep on the couch. I wake him up and tell him he’s lame for falling asleep so early.
10:42pm: I fall asleep on the couch. We both go to bed…even though we’re in our 20’s.
11:15pm: Fiancé is sound asleep and, even though I was too a mere half hour ago, now I am WIDE AWAKE. Mindless hours of scrolling through social media or watching more trashy reality TV ensues until I finally fall asleep as well.
That’s it, guys! The hours and commitments change from day to day (sometimes I have a class to teach or date night or plans with my girlfriends), but the formula is pretty consistent. This is a life that allows me to be creative and sarcastic and lazy and adventurous and motivated and spiritual all at the same time (which, to be honest, is all I’ve ever wanted).
I have no clue what the next chapter has in store for me or where I will be another year from now, but what I do know is that I’m on the right path now. I wake up excited about my days and the work I get to do along the way. And you know what? That’s pretty damn cool.
The Yogi Lawyer