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In the pause: What writing my book taught me about how to spend my time

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked to a lot of friends about the concept of how to spend our time. As they say, even Beyoncé only has 24 hours in a day. We all have to make choices. Try as we might, we can’t do everything, at least not all at once.

So how do we decide what gets attention, effort, and time, and what has to fall by the wayside? And how can we be confident in those decisions once we make them? All I can give you is my own experience. I gave up a lot to write my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. There were many times I didn’t go out and have fun for the sake of writing, rewriting, and editing. I poured myself into that book, and that meant I spent less time on other parts of my career and personal life. I stopped teaching yoga; I took on fewer freelance projects; I spent less time trying to climb the ladder in my business career; I dated less; I made less money; I left my home in New York City to go out into the unknown. All for the sake of a book that I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day.

You might be asking, “What the hell was she thinking?” and you’d be very right to ask.

I was thinking that if I didn’t write this book, if I didn’t get this story down and work my a*s off to get it out into the world, then I would be left with a profound sense of regret. And I don’t mean the regret varietal that goes something like, “Huh, I wonder what that would have been like.” Nope. I’m talking about the kind of regret you read in articles like Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Want to know the #1 regret in that list? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Ouch. I couldn’t live, or die, with that. I had to be true to myself now, and that meant I had to write this book. So I gave up what was needed to get it done. And there isn’t a single thing I gave up that I wish I had done instead of writing that book. Not one.

I had the great gift of a fire that nearly killed me at age 33. The 8th anniversary of that fire is about a month away, and every day since then has been gravy in my mind. I was infinitely fortunate to survive. I have tried hard to live a life I’m proud of, even if people don’t understand it, don’t agree with it, and criticize it. I hope I’m around to see 103. Seriously. If our world is this insane today, just imagine the crazy sh*t we’re going to experience in the year 2079! But if that’s not in the cards for me, that’s okay. Really. I wrote this book. It’s the creative act of my life that I’m most proud of. If and when you hold that book in any form in your hands, you are holding my heart. How great is it to be able to give that away in the hopes that it helps some one, somewhere, some time.

That’s what I did with my time here on this Earth in this life, and it was more than worth it. What’s your Emerson? Find that. Pursue that.

 

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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