Accidental Work-At-Home-Mom: Heidi Deal

by Heidi Deal

accidental work at home momWelcome to the “Mom Entrepreneur Spotlight” series of articles. Here, we’ll discuss issues related to the balancing act we all face: running our own businesses while being busy Moms!

This week’s post highlights Heidi Deal, a WAHM witer – enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

You could call me the Accidental WAHM Writer. I didn’t really think not going back to work was an option. I just assumed I’d carry on like many other moms and juggle a family and a 9 to 5. When my son was born, I had eight weeks to stay home and then I’d head back to the office. I enjoyed my career working for the targeted publications division of a major news group, but my heart was really at home with my baby. A week and a half before I was set to return to work I received a surprising phone call: The news group was cutting back and I was being laid off. While some people may have been upset by this turn of events, I did a fancy happy dance and celebrated. The choice that my heart wanted to make was supported by budget cuts and company downsizing.

At first we made do on my husband’s income and unemployment but I knew eventually I would need to provide a supplemental income. I was a born writer, not like Hemmingway or Dr. Seuss, but I loved writing from an early age. I toyed with fiction, writing a few children’s books about blocks and a parent’s homecoming after a day at work. I polished my manuscripts and query letters with the help of the invaluable book [easyazon-link asin=”B005070OCM” locale=”us”]Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript[/easyazon-link] by Chuck Sambuchino, and sent them off to publishers hoping to hear back that my manuscripts were accepted. But the process was painful. For me, writing fiction was torture and to be honest, my stories were terrible!

In search of inspiration, I read [easyazon-link asin=”0385480016″ locale=”us”]Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life[/easyazon-link] by Anne Lamott. That’s when I remembered the pink piece of paper in my scrapbook. When I was 7 years old I was at home watching television and, bored with the programming, I grabbed my drawing pad and some colored pens and pencils. I wrote an entire page about the first Thanksgiving. That memory was my Aha! moment. My calling wasn’t in making things up; it was in telling stories about things that actually exist. Things that actually happened. My calling was in nonfiction.

I have a marketing degree and did a lot of proofreading and copy editing at my job and thought, why not do that independently? I began developing content for various websites to build my portfolio and began my own business targeting small businesses that needed help with website content, marketing collateral, and various other forms of written work. Early on, my direction wasn’t clear and I worked only occasionally. When my daughter was born I didn’t have time to work so we ate a lot of rice and pasta, but as she grew, I increased my workload and today I have found my path – and we are eating more well- rounded meals. I took a course through Writers Digest University called Breaking into Copywriting: Use Your Creativity to Kick-Start a New Career, and that really helped me get my business off the ground and into productive mode.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B00AHJTPB4″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”125″]I’ve had hundreds of articles published both in print and online and I help grow businesses by developing useful content and advertising copy. I create blog posts, newsletters, product descriptions, brochures and anything else a client might need. I also write children’s nonfiction and parenting guides, like my e-book [easyazon-link asin=”B00AHJTPB4″ locale=”us”]PlaySpaces: 20 of OC’s Best Places to Play and Explore with Kids (PlaySpaces Guides)[/easyazon-link].

Sometimes I’m busy writing about bicycle parts and house painting, other times I’m reviewing parks and family activities. I’m happy being the Accidental WAHM Writer because I’m doing it from my little desk smack dab in the middle of my often chaotic dining room. My proudest moments come when I hear my son, who’s now 5 years old, reading an article I wrote from his AppleSeed’s magazine. Those are the smiles that keep my keys tapping.

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