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I accidentally stumbled upon a life-enhancing moment. My husband had a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft sitting on the shelf. I walked by it a hundred times, and then, for some reason, I stopped and picked it up. I never put it down. In fact, I just bought The Shining, and I am reading it as if it were a classroom assignment. I am studying the interplay of words and characters as Mr. King described in his book on writing. I am finding violations of his own advice in the first chapters, but that’s ok. All rules are meant to be broken, and Mr. King does so in fine fashion.

Thanks to Stephen King, I started writing again, and I feel alive. I have a book started and two short stories. I am now trying to expand or maybe even change my consulting practice to add more freelance writing. I am amazed by how much I missed the craft.

As you mature in your career and climb the ladder, you often shed the responsibilities that gave you joy. As you manage people and processes, you forget sometimes why you even entered into your chosen profession. I started out as a newspaper writer and then moved into public relations – but I started out as a writer - managing and writing newsletters for state associations in Pennsylvania. From there the portfolio grew – media relations, admissions recruitment, alumni relations, development, Web, social media, marketing, etc. As the list of responsibilities grew, the amount of writing (outside of e-mails, reports and other administrative tasks) diminished. So did the creative stimulation.

It’s amazing that a chance pause in front of our living room bookcase made me go back in time and remember what gave me joy. That’s one of the wonders of consulting. You have time to imagine, to read, to think deeply. I no longer have the hour-plus commutes to and from the job that left me depleted and unable to do much more than fall asleep on the couch while watching tv.  I don’t have to attend eight meetings a day – meetings that drained my soul. I gave up the anxiety around office politics and the perils of managing difficult people. I gained time and the ability to reflect.

Stephen King’s home in Bangor, Maine, was very close to my own when I lived there. He is an alumnus of the institution that brought me to the state – The University of Maine. I drove by his home a few times and wondered over the Victorian eeriness and sense of place that fit my perception of a house he would inhabit. And yet, I never read his works or understood his talent. Until a decade later. Thank you, Mr. King, for opening my mind and helping me steer into a path of joy again.

Consulting changes you as a person. You think differently when not shackled to rote 9-to-5 responsibilities. I used to take each day as it came – whatever task, problem, opportunity landed on my desk, inbox or e-mail, became the thing consuming my energy. At the end of the day, I checked boxes on the to-do list. But now, I walk past bookcases and can stop, choose book, read and remember what used to fuel me. I can make the time for thoughtful reflection that benefits both my clients and myself.

I also wish you the gift of karma as you walk past an everyday object and suddenly notice what once blended into the wallpaper. May this small mindful act also reconnect you to your joy.  

A blog chronicling the up's and down's, trials and tribulations, fear and happiness of moving your life from the expected 9-to-5 job to a life of consulting. While it is a big and often scary decision, it is a time of discovery, rejuvenation and introspection that will help you remember who you are and who you were supposed to be. It's a wonderful journey.

Stephen King Saved My Life:

Rediscovering What Once Gave You Joy


Life Without Gravity