Why I Became An Editor – Work-Life Love Affair vs Work-Life Balance


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‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ – Confucius

Who has ever had a big pile of work dumped on their desk by their manager, whether first thing in the morning or last thing at night, when they already have a list of jobs to do a mile long? Who has ever felt their heart sink as they’ve faced another week at work? Who has spent time and energy doing the best job they can do, but all the while feeling a lack of passion and excitement for the tasks at hand? Who has given up their personal time and interests in order to do all the work that their career has put on their plate?

A large piece of work landed in my inbox this morning. Instead of getting stuck right in, I took a moment and told myself that I needed to write down how I was feeling at that moment, because I must never forget it. Instead of the sinking feeling I’ve experienced before, my heart lifted. Instead of the flutter of panic and a scrambling worry to rehash my timetable, I felt a quiver of excitement and calm confidence that is becoming a more familiar feeling since I’ve created my own business and given myself more choices, including the choice to change careers and organise my time my way. I had been given notice to expect this work, but it hadn’t weighed over me like a storm cloud as I blacked out the time it would take me to do it around the time it would arrive. Rather, I’ve spent the last while looking forward to it.

All of these things tell me that, finally, I’m on the right path. I’ve chosen the right career. It was out there after all and it didn’t matter that I took a different direction at the starting line. As my own boss, I am the slave now only to my own ambitions. I create my own choices. I generate my own work. I need to be just as organised, just as thorough, just as dedicated as when I am working for someone else’s agenda, but now the dance is solely between myself and my client; making each other happy; giving each other something of value. I am doing for a living an extension of what I do for fun – playing with words; communicating meaning; telling a story.

Life is a puzzle and sometimes you can feel boxed in by your perceived lack of choices. You can only see parts of the puzzle, only make certain pieces fit together. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your life, you need to take a step back and see that there are more choices than you think. Think outside the box. This morning has confirmed that, while once adrift and inert in a sea of choices where only a few were visible to me, it was the right move to take out my telescope, look for more choices, and make the right one rather than remaining in a whirlpool.

I still have a part-time day job while I build up the business, but this is a glimpse of the utopia I’m headed for: an end to Sunday Evening Depression; an end to Living For The Weekend; an end to Waiting For The Next Holiday. An end to seeing money as an end, and instead beginning to see it as positive energy gained through positive energy. Call me crazy, but I think it’s possible to break free from chains and ladders, and enjoy a work-life love affair rather than striving for a work-life balance. Like in any relationship, while balance is great, possessions are nice, and progression is fulfilling – to me, it’s passion that’s most rewarding.

15 thoughts on “Why I Became An Editor – Work-Life Love Affair vs Work-Life Balance

  1. Sinistra Inksteyne

    Oh, that sounds heavenly!
    I’ve haggled my Dreaded Day Job down to four days a week but it’s still the bane of my life. Still, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger (I hope) – I should be able to gargle iocaine powder by now…

  2. Aussa Lorens

    What the heck, that is so exciting and I am so jealous. I love hearing you talk about it and am happy for you. Out of curiosity, how did you transition into doing this? It must have taken a lot of bravery, no doubt.

    1. saralitchfield

      Thanks Aussa 🙂 well, I was an accountant until I quit and travelled and tried to figure out what to do with my life! I made cocktails on a beach for a while because I couldn’t decide on a direction (saw myself as a female Tom Cruise… from Cocktail? If you don’t know that movie then wow that would’ve seemed a weird thing to say!).. But I’d always been so passionate about English, always wanted to be a writer, always wanted my own business – and was always proofing things for people! So after I arrived in NZ I decided to get into it properly, enrolled in a copy editing & proofreading course, studied it for a year, did a lot of research and then further ‘learning by doing’ and just went ahead, set up the business and started getting work!

      I’m at a disadvantage because my background isn’t in publishing, but I do have a unique background in academics (MA from Cambridge in theology) and business (worked ‘Big 4’ accounting – mostly financial risk and regulatory compliance, ugh), where I’ve constantly been writing & editing in one form or another! So it’s easier to pick up business work (websites, marketing material, publications) but what I really want is to break further into fiction! Editing the third novel in an award-winning supernatural thriller series at the moment – that’s what hit the inbox 🙂

      I’ve definitely got something to offer and all I want to do is help people tell their stories! Transition is a work in progress – I had to become first a full-time and now happily a part-time reluctant accountant (mostly to stay in the country ;), but the main thing was taking the leap and deciding I could do this if I wanted! It also helped to start from scratch – when I was comfortably earning in the city, it seemed foolish and risky to pursue a different career I was more interested in at expense of salary and safety… Once I’d quit and travelled my way down to nothing, I could start again and let myself build up from the bottom! Wow this reply is nearly a post in itself, sorry :p

  3. Pingback: How Time Flies | Sara Litchfield

  4. saraletourneau

    This post… You may have reached Gem status again, Sara. I’d love to elaborate, but can’t at the moment. Just know that I’m simultaneously jealous and thrilled for you, and this post resonated with me very, very deeply.

    Hey, we haven’t Skyped in a while. Would you have time for it over the next couple weeks?

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Ah Sara, I missed this!!! Thank you 🙂 And I’m so glad, and a little intrigued… Are you around next week? I will be in signal (I’ve been out of signal for a wee while!)

  5. Caity

    Great writing as always lovely! Very inspiring and good for people like us to read to remind ourselves why we go through all the hard slog! xoxoxo

  6. Daimon Walker

    As you know I have been a keen follower of your writing and general exploits. It’s always intrigued me as I got to know you during your time in the ‘Big 4’ place. I’ve just left there and currently feel in free-fall, which isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually a revelation to me to be able to sit down and do something for me in my time without the concern of feeling like I should be doing more for someone else.

    You have inspired me to do what I should have done in 2011 – start writing my book. I believe everyone has a book in them, everyone MUST have a story to tell. I may be leaning on you to have a read over it just to get an experts opinion. I don’t think J.K. Rowling has any worries from me but I want to at least say I gave it a go. No point looking back on a pile of ‘what if’s’.

    Take care and keep up the fun work 🙂

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Ah congrats Daimon, freefall’s the best! I know the feeling… And I totally agree that everyone has a story to tell! All the luck with the book 🙂


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