Wearing My Hats

HatsI wear a lot of different professional hats. I write, as you all know. I run StageSource, a service organization for the New England theater community. I teach arts management classes at Emerson College. In addition to all three of those things, I am an arts advocate, board member of Sisters in Crime national, and Sisters in Crime New England, and I blog here and at Live To Write/Write To Live.

I am not alone in my multiple hat wearing career. Most people juggle, and add a personal life to the mix. Family, friends, and relationships all are different hats as well. Early in this new year I’ve been thinking about my hats, and what it takes to wear them all. Or, more precisely, how to wear them better in 2016. We’re only two weeks into the new year–there’s still time for me to figure this out. Important hat thoughts so far:

All of my hats are not the same size, type, or fit. That means, when I put on one hat, I need to become the person who wears that hat. Example–I am teaching a new class at Emerson this spring. School started this week, and I had to get my syllabus together, and do the plan for the first class. I’d taken last semester off from teaching, so I needed to pull out the right hat, dust it off, and put it on. Be in charge, have a game plan, and set goals for each class. It’s showtime, and I’m there to teach.

Being a writer is actually several hats. The act of writing is one thing, the social aspect of being an author is another. My writing hat is quiet, introspective, and not really fit for public life. My author hat comes with a smile, a pen, and bookmarks.

You can’t really wear more than one hat at a time and look good. This past weekend I worked at the ALA booth for Sisters in Crime New England. I brought bookmarks, but it became clear right away that I was wearing my Sisters in Crime hat at the conference. I could work in the “hey, I have a series”, but the purpose of the day was to talk about the awesome programs Sisters in Crime and our New England chapter have for libraries. When I am wearing my StageSource hat, my author hat is put away. I don’t hide it, but it also doesn’t fit at work.

Sometimes you need to clean out your closet, or at least put stuff away. You can spread yourself too thin. I don’t know that I am ready to toss hats, but I do know that before I put on another one, something needs to be put away. I am trying to be much better about goal setting and scheduling time in 2016. There are seven days a week, and 24 hours a day. Hats don’t add more time.

I love that I wear a number of different hats. It suits me, and my personality. That said, 2016 goal is to wear them a little better, and more mindfully.

How about you, dear readers? How do you juggle your hat collection?


19 Thoughts

  1. Recently I’ve been saying I finally have more hats than heads to wear them on, so this truly resonates with me. While I’ve loved being a lawyer, mediator, adjunct professor, writer, yogi and having a personal life, I struggle with the question, what could I accomplish if my efforts weren’t so diluted? That raises even more questions within, particularly when you reach a certain age when you know you won’t be on this planet forever. So I’m hanging up a few hats on hooks and will only occasionally take them down to wear. The writer hat is sitting squarely on my head and I’m happy about it.
    You do a great job, whichever hat you are wearing, Julie. Your generosity comes through from under them all.

  2. To answer your question–oft times poorly! I wish I had double lives with twice as much time. My writing has been neglected due to real life. Stealing my time and forcing my focus to real changes. The “hats” I wear change according to the immediate priority. Business partner, Writer, Bookkeeper, ClassGuppy, Blog Interviewer, Santa Claus, Cook, Wife, Mother, Friend, etc. My closet of hats is getting jammed!

  3. Lovely post (as always), Julie. My hat collection slimmed down since I removed Technical Writer and Commuter from my collection. But I still have the several writer hats, including Sisters in Crime New England Vice President, plus Quaker, Power Walker, Gardener, Mom-of-Adult-Children, Main Cook, Partner, Sister, Friend, and a few more. The writer hats are in ascendance right now, at least until May, and that’s fine. I just have to make sure the other ones get a turn!

  4. I should have a lot of old hats squirreled away in the attic, from my weirdly varied careers. I know I have the hat I wore to my mother’s second wedding somewhere up there. But you and other writers must find that you can slip in and out of those hats when you call up your experiences to use in your books. (One at a time, of course: a stack of hats on your head would look a bit odd, and you’d risk getting things muddled.)

  5. Every since we met at Malice Domestic in 2005, I’ve admired how you balance so many things, Julie. And you always do it with grace and generosity. I hope you find a hate that has more time for you!

  6. I have to go put on my accountant hat in a few minutes and work toward fiscal year end. But I find that if I don’t get a chance to put on my reader hat (which is definitely part of my reviewer hat these days) then I get very cranky by the end of the day. I need my reading time at lunch time!

    Have you ever found that some hats seem to take over? I find I can’t watch or read anything with my mind working on how I would review it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially since I review so much from my life, but it is rather funny to me at times.

  7. I’ve been shedding hats pretty steadily through this millennium–parent of kids at home, child of elderly parents, entrepreneur, executive, SinCNE board member, and most recently, anthology editor.

    But I’ve found that there are always more hats around the corner, so now I’ve donned mystery series author, blogger, instructor and grandmother–and I wonder every day how I ever had time to have a real job.

  8. Wise words, Julie. I learned early on when I did panels or a workshop that the unpublished writers there wanted to learn from my experience, not really here about the end result. The time to do that may be when I sit at a table later on. And when I’m teaching at my Writers Read group, it’s all about THEIR work, ditto for my own writing group. We meet only once a year in person and each writer has a an entire day to go through that person’s entire novel draft that we’ve read the month before and edited. That day belongs to that author. And when I write my crime review blog, I do mention progress or pub dates of my own books, or where I might have met an author I’m interviewing, but the prime focus is the book under review for readers.

    It’s a juggle!

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