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The Secret Lives of Writers – Cassie Newell

Cassie Newell dons her cape professionally in the pharmaceutical industry and in her spare time she is a blogger, an author of several short stories, and writes under the pen name, Mira Monroe. She is in the throes of editing her first young adult novel, Unwanted Magick, set to publish under her imprint eBook Me Up later this year. Cassie is an avid reader and enjoys supporting her fellow indie authors. You can find Cassie at her blog My Etch-A-Sketch Life, on Twitter and Pinterest.

Professional or hobby: marrying multiple creative personalities

Do your professional career and your hobbies veer to opposite of each other? Are you trying to manage a work-life balance that connects, but yet those ideas are as far fetched as they can be? There’s one way, and then there’s another way. Which way do you go? Let me help you from my personal experience.

Stop with the “ways”. Don’t do that!

Why would I say that? It’s a complexity of you, embrace the originality and damn the consequences of conventional definitions that don’t fit. It maybe my experiences in life as a result of my older and wiser age that led me to this conclusion, from which I had formerly divided my writing life between “professional” and “hobby”.

I work professionally in the pharmaceutical industry; it’s science, regulations, and management all day long. It’s specific, it’s tough, and it’s rewarding. However, in my youth, I was a talented art student. I loved art, crafts, design, writing and reading. I’m creative by nature and being in the science field doesn’t seem entirely to lend itself to being creative by standard terms.

How do you marry what seemingly is a multiple personality disorder?

Creativity is about solutions

For me, it was the creativity of puzzles and issues in my professional world that started me down the right pathway. I would flex my creative nature on finding solutions for immediate issues that arose or matters that had long-term consequences, such as unhappy employees, a study that wasn’t enrolling, sponsors who wanted a particular question answered about their therapy. I realized these were creative endeavors and not at all black and white solutions. In one case, I was managing and developing a study that was a collaborative effort by multiple pharmaceutical companies that was the first of its kind mandated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Exciting stuff!

In my mid-thirties, I started taking writing courses. I wanted to become a better writer and I wanted to learn about different forms of creative writing. The desire to write was born from my love of reading, although I remember in my youth a talent for writing and my play of imagination. I didn’t want to be on the sidelines anymore as a reader only, I had an idea for a novel and felt it was a good one to pursue. I spent about seven years in this endeavor in the evenings and on weekends. It was like I was leading a different life if, you will, with the “hobby”. If I could turn my hobby into my professional career, I would, but alas I’m not there yet. Until then, my expertise in my “professional” world suits my family and me well. Although, that passion of fitting the grooves together on the puzzle of me in these two areas still was an aching need.

The puzzle should fit together, right? YES. It always has.

Bringing the two sides together

I had just turned 38, and my professional career was taking off. There was more pressure on me to succeed and support teams of people and clients. My free time of doing my hobby was spiraling into a black hole. Mind you, I am also a wife and mother, other priorities are pressing over the hobby. I felt lost with the novel idea and quickly found some solace in short stories and blogging when time permitted. Then it hit me; the puzzle is my disassociation of what I like to do and who I am. The multiple personality disorder of professional and hobby is simplistic and doesn’t need to be separate pieces of a puzzle; they are part of the ME puzzle and who I AM. My a-ha moment. The societal view on the outside looking in… well, who cares if the makeup of me makes sense to anyone else because it fits me perfectly. I’ve married both sides more and more over the last couple of years, and chuckle that I had held them at arm’s length from each other for so long.

When I asked my youngest daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up she would give me the following laundry list of occupations; trash collector, DJ, teacher, artist, cook and graphic designer. When I asked her how she would do all those things, she smiled and shrugged and said, Not all at once, only some at a time. Great advice from my then 7-year-old.

The moral of my story—and possibly your own—is that you are you with all the intricate pieces of interests and skill sets. These pieces don’t need to be in separate buckets of functionality. It’s all uniquely you, embrace it.

The Secret Live of Writers is a series of blog posts from writers (published or unpublished) who dish the dirt on how they juggle life and art. You can read about the whys and wherefores here.


The Secret Lives of Writers is now available as an ebook

How do writers juggle writing, creativity and life? Find out in The Secret Lives of Writers!You can now read all 13 guests posts from Volume 1 in the one convenient ebook. It’s out now in the Amazon Kindle Store and in other stores (iBooks, Kobo, Nook etc.) too.

Full of writing inspiration and advice, if you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer, and this book doesn’t get you putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), nothing will!

You can grab your copy from the Delicious Publishing Book Store.

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