The last time you heard from me was late January. It’s now mid-April, and a lot has changed. I’m excited to get back to blogging on a regular basis, and to document this new life I’m leading. I was nervous to go all-in. Now, I’m just really excited.
For those of you who don’t know, April 9, 2019 was my last day as a health and wellness reporter for Elite Daily. I’ll admit, I wasn’t ready for my time at Elite to end just yet. I had been toying with the idea of going full-time freelance for some time; I would eventually make the transition, I just didn’t know when I’d commit to making that leap. Evidently, the universe did.
I am a firm believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason. Despite that fun fact though, when I got the call from HR that the health and wellness vertical was being shut down, and that, in a few weeks, my position would no longer be available, I was crushed. I’d never been laid off before, and even though I knew this kind of thing happens a lot in my industry, especially lately, I guess it’s true what they say about that “it’ll never happen to me,” mentality: We all have it, until it does happen to us. I cried for a day, talked it through for hours with Mark, and woke up the next morning with a fresh perspective (and a massive headache).
Flash forward to just over one month later, and my first week leading that full-time freelance life is coming to a close. Obviously it’s still early, but I’m loving the fact that, now, I’m not on anyone else’s schedule. I don’t have to write articles that don’t interest me. I can write for more than one outlet. I have time to pursue my next dream. The dream. The dream I’ve dreamt since I was 10 years old: To be a novelist.
In the months leading up to my leaving Elite Daily, I’d honestly felt stuck. Something was missing. I didn’t feel fulfilled. Which, by the way, I know isn’t always possible. Work isn’t necessarily meant to be fun all the time, and I’m not naive to that truth. However, I knew I wanted something a little different, and every conversation I had with Mark about this itching feeling came back to creative writing.
Up until mid-January, it had been six years since I’d written anything creative. I hadn’t even attempted to write a single poem in that time frame, let alone an entire manuscript. What’s even more jarring is that before writing my thriller novella junior year of college, I hadn’t written a story longer than a few pages since sophomore year of high school. What can I say? I guess inspiration strikes once every six years for me (I’m kidding, I hope).
When Mark came home from work the day I got laid off, we sat on our bed, talked things through, and he said something that changed my entire perspective. It was something along the lines of “You wanted to write articles for publications. You did that (and still are doing that). Maybe now is the time to pursue another dream. The dream of being a novelist.” (If you haven’t noticed, Mark is really good at saying the right thing, but the best part is, he’s 100% sincere every time.)
So that’s where I’ve been, and that’s what I’m now pursuing. Currently, I’m a freelance writer for Shape.com, MindBodyGreen, Eat This, Not That!, and INSIDER, with the flexibility of taking on new opportunities if they suit my lifestyle and interests. It’s taken me a while to build my reputation in this industry, and to know exactly what I’m worth feels amazing. It also feels amazing to set my own hours, and, while I’m working, be able to set aside a piece of content if I’m feeling blocked, and put in a load of laundry or wash dishes. I love being a wife and taking care of my husband and home, and the more time I’m allotted to do that, the better. To be honest, I was a little nervous to make this transition because I was afraid what people would think of me. The format of my job is untraditional, but it’s also pretty incredible and I love feeling like my time is mine now. I can do with it what I please.
My novel is my passion project, and I’m determined to finish my manuscript by the time we’re all ringing in the year 2020. So far, I’ve (hand)written over 100 pages, but have recently decided to go back to the drawing board and reconstruct some things. I’ve been dedicating these last few days to outline, and have 18 chapters planned out. It’s intimidating, and scary, because I am so passionate about writing, and becoming a published novelist. It’s what I’ve always wanted to pursue; now that I actually am, it’s a little daunting. But I have a great support system in my husband, my parents, family, and friends.
When I first launched Always, Julia Rose, I had intended for this platform to be yet another health and wellness blog to add to the pile. Health, wellness, food, and fitness are still topics I’m interested in (your girl loves a good sweat and loves a good donut even more), but I’m starting to revert back to my roots — reading and writing. So from here on out, the content of this blog is probably going to be centered around writing updates, maybe some book reviews of what I’m reading (mostly to keep me accountable, and it’s a great way for me to learn new tactics for my own writing), and some wellness content sprinkled into the mix. I’ll also be resuming my Sunday Surveys because, well, I just like answering questions.
Hopefully you’re still with me. I know that was a lot of writing and a few major points to catch up on. I’ll leave you with a quote that I believe sums up where I’m at in life right now: