After several years of success in writing, you veered off your passion path. How did you know it was time to get back on it?
It was when my survival mode kicked in as “let’s just get through the week.” My passion for the work was gone. All those inner voices that used to remind me about my excitement for what I was doing went quiet for a really long time. I realized that the instinct and desire to write hadn’t gone away; I had just put it on a shelf. And at a certain point, the box on that shelf got so big that I couldn’t avoid it anymore. For a while, I was just trying to figure out what the missing piece was for me and then I was able to identify that I needed to get back to what I was meant to do.
What advice would you want to give to someone who wants to refocus?
There are three really great pieces of advice that I had to learn the hard way that I would give to anyone who’s strayed from their passion path.
- Open yourself up to the people around you who know you best. Listen to what they’re saying to you. For me, I learned from friends, family, and my partner, very quickly, that they noticed that something was missing in my life.
- Give yourself the freedom, the time, and the space to have crucial conversations with yourself. I realized that I was so caught up in the day-to-day of work and the hustle culture, that I wasn’t allowing myself the opportunity to listen to my own thoughts. At the end of the day, when I sat down with myself and allowed for quiet to take over, the little voice inside me was telling me exactly what I needed to do.
- Allow yourself the opportunity to grow and learn new things and do things that you think you might not like; do things that you think might scare you. At the end of the day, this has always brought it directly back to the things that I love.
It sounds like you really love what you’re doing now—and that’s refreshing to hear!
Eighteen months ago, if someone had said to me, “Hey, you’re going to do this freelance writing for a while where you sit down with these people you care so deeply about, tell their stories, and write for some outlets—things you thought were only dreams—and then you’re going to work behind the scenes on a podcast but you will be incredibly happy with the work that you’re doing, because you are finding it to be a new way of storytelling you didn’t know possible,” I think I would have laughed and said, “I’m not taking that job, that’s crazy.”
But working on the podcast has been one of the most creatively exciting things I’ve ever done in my entire life. We wrapped season two in December and we are developing our slate of guests for season three. I can’t wait to start producing and prepping.
Want to read more about how Carley got started as a journalist? Read the full Q&A.