This, ladies and gentlemen, is a thing of beauty: a drawer perfectly organized with my cards. I hyperventilate a little just looking at it. That’s how great it feels. After several days of massive decluttering and reorganization, there are drawers for cards, for magnets, for cellophane bags, for envelopes, for bubble wrap. There are hanging files for order forms, receipts, research. And binders with hole-punched notes, vendor info, design drafts. This is the most buttoned-up I’ve felt since becoming my own boss five years ago.

Wondering what the heck took so long?


Well, the truth is that even though I left my full-time corporate gig in 2007, I didn’t totally leave corporate work behind – nor the feeling of working for someone else. See, I was able to leave my job knowing I could count on steady income from my freelance copy writing work. It wasn’t what I loved to do, but I was good at it – and it paid well. Seemed perfect: I could pursue my creative passions and grow my own brand while relying on the money I made for writing about stuff I didn’t care about. Like disinfectant wipes. And canned soup. And toilet paper.

Having that work and money to fall back on was a huge comfort. But it also turned into a huge crutch, all but dousing the entrepreneurial fire in my belly. At first, the work felt creative enough. {Hey, you try to make toilet paper sound lovely!} But as the years flew by and more writing assignments rolled in, those gigs took priority over my own projects and passions.

When people would ask me what I did for a living, the true answer – “copywriting for big brands” – made me cringe. My other creative endeavors – blogging, art, speaking – felt like floundering side businesses since my livelihood depended on my freelance writing. It was a constant tug of war between have-to-do and love-to-do.

Heading into 2010, I started to flirt with a new – or maybe enhanced – dream. I found evidence of it as I decluttered my dudio this past weekend: I came upon a worksheet I filled out during a meeting with my Intention Circle in 2010. It asked me to name a secret wish and here’s what I wrote:

To make enough money with my own creative work that I could leave my writing clients behind.

I realize now that the simple act of writing down that dream helped me transform it from a wish into a goal. Soon after, I began to make business decisions with that goal in mind. I gave myself permission to say “no” to certain writing assignments if one of my own creative projects or work I felt particularly passionate about required my full attention. Pursuing my own loves and building my own brand no longer felt like a luxury, but a necessity.

It took time, hard work and discipline {and, honestly, a few bounced checks}, but eventually I began to see results – a turning of the tides. A little over a year after I wrote that secret wish, it came true. But things have been so crazy-busy, that I didn’t even realize it until stumbling upon that old worksheet. I love how that reminder found its way to me as I cleaned out the clutter and cleared the way for new ideas and new “wishes” I’ve already written down. Now for the fun part: making them come true.