Don't Be A Victim Of Self-Inflicted Pressure

Recently, I’ve been reevaluating my career path.  From an early age, I knew I would not be happy in an office job with relatively the same tedious tasks to do.  I am a creative being that needs to express myself and ideas often throughout a day.  Writing has always been the most satisfying form of that creative energy as well as cooking, drawing and dancing.
When I chose a path of journalism and being an author, it was not to make money.  It was to fulfill my inner desires and goals; it was to connect with myself and other people, and nothing made me happier.  But, I always doubted myself because society says a career is where most of your income is created.  There were times in my career where I didn’t make a dime — sure, there were perks, like free concerts, CDs, DVDs, clothes and to hang out with celebrities, but ultimately, I did it because I loved it all.
I made money from being a barista; granted, not a lot of money, but I worked hard and connected with my customers, and still felt like I was working a job in tune with me, while still living my dreams.
I allowed others concerns affect me, though.  I felt pressure from my family and friends to make money; to feel that I wasn’t a success because I wasn’t rich, or just financially-funded solely from writing.  I spent years trying to figure it all out.  I ended a magazine I loved because I literally lost the passion for it once I tried to figure out how to turn it into a cash cow.
I left Starbucks (multiple times) and resented it for holding me back from my dreams.  The truth was, it didn’t hold me back.  My self-doubt held me back.  The pressure I put on myself to be seen as successful in others’ eyes held me back, and kept up an internal struggle that led me to turn to taking on tons of jobs in my field that paid, but not enough to keep me financially stable all year long.
In the writing / entertainment / digital marketing / public relations industry, hardly anything is long-term or cushy enough to carry you through.  Digital marketing comes easy to me.  I got StarShine Magazine to millions of eyes by being proactive in online promotion.  However, while digital marketing has its highlights and can be creative work — it’s still a job of selling.  I have to sell music artists and movies to target audiences, when I often don’t like the person/product I’m promoting.  I feel phony.  I feel stressed.  I feel like I always have work to do, but never make enough money to quit my day job.  And at the end of the day, I’m too spent to work on my novel or my own digital marketing.
While I’m grateful for the extra money and opportunities digital marketing has brought to me, I’m trying to teach myself balance and I feel incredibly off balance lately.  The extra money isn’t enough, and my stress level keeps rising, my social life suffers, as well as my writing.  I constantly feel guilty for not doing more for my clients or not being able to get back to an email immediately because I’m serving coffee or making avocado toast for a customer.  It’s not a good feeling, and I know it is my own personality that makes me feel guilt.  I am someone who rather give my all to a project rather than half-ass it.  The way all my projects work at the moment, I feel like I’m half-assing ALL of them.
What it really comes down to is digital marketing is not my joy.  I am a people person and I work alone 99% of the time–usually staring at a computer or listening to multiple voices ramble on a conference line about things we’ve gone over the week before.
I kept trying to cut something out, to allow myself more time for my clients, to ease the guilt.  Then, a lightbulb went off… I didn’t want to accommodate my life to do more digital marketing.  I wanted to cut digital marketing out of my life.  It’s not making me happy or giving me any kind of satisfaction.  Yes, the extra income is nice, but it’s not something so fantastic for me to sacrifice the sense of freedom I have at this realization.
It’s time to get back to my true purpose: writing.  Not selling.  Not being attached to my phone or following hashtags.  It’s one thing to focus on my own social media, but I’m done doing it for others.  And definitely not doing something because I think people are judging me for not making more money in my field.  By 2016, I will be phasing out all of my digital marketing duties.  Thank you to those who given me so many opportunities and want to work with me, but I have to do what is right for me.


  • Sandy Lo

    Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.