Balancing Writing, Work, and Life

Storytelling at Burning Man
So grateful for a life that has room for adventure and creativity, like storytelling at Burning Man

When I say that I’m a writer, people often assume, “Oh, you must write a lot, every day!” For sure, there are some writers who do, who commit to morning pages, or who write just before bed, or who have scheduled blocks at a regular time. But I have found my writing energies are hard to pin down to a distinct rhythm or schedule. I do not write every day, but I have found a balance where I have the space to write when the words find their way to me.

Sometimes I am writing a lot, for hours, until I miss appointments and forget to eat. Sometimes I don’t write for weeks when I’m tapped in to a different project, like when I styled an indie film for three months. I’ve found that I can’t always reign in my writing moods, but that I’ve learned how to develop a life that takes my mercurial writing muse into account.

I previously worked in corporate fashion, a very regimented and high pressure type of life. There was really no room for me to write or to fantasize on ideas or to weave worlds in my head. I intentionally left that realm and have slowly cultivated a semblance of an adult life that leaves room for my creativity and inner child to adventure. Some people call it the “gig” or “freelance” life, but I just call it “the hustle”. I find gigs in fashion or brand ambassadorship or styling so I can pay for my life to be able to write and make my creative dreams come true. I remember Elizabeth Gilbert saying this about her early writing years, that she would work whatever job she had to in order to make space for her creativity to be whatever it needed to be, without the pressure that it needed to be making her money immediately.

I’ve found that when I feel free to write, the writing comes. It’s been a juggle in the past five years, finding gig work to maintain my standard of living while also making room for the writing I know gives me the passion to live. For me, working gigs to allow for space for me to work on my creative projects has been how I have found balance in my goal of creating while living an adventurous life. I’m truly grateful for the balance I’ve found in hustling both my creative goals and practical financial needs. I look forward to the day when one solves the other, but till then, “the hustle” it is.

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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