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Wendy Bradford Headshot

In the Middle of Things, Begin

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I came to writing as a college student studying many of the world's greatest thinkers and writers, some for the first time. The poets had me. They moved me with so few words, so often. Yet they knew my world, my heart -- or should I say they let me know theirs. Sometimes, they did both within the same breath, with words like "pomegranate," "wilderness," and "abandon."

In graduate school, I assumed I would become one of the writing professors I admired so much. I would teach form and discuss poetry while publishing books of my own poems. Of course. Working part-time as a nanny, many hours of my days were free to write. Not that I used many hours of my days to write. I used some of them though, and I had great freedom to write on my first laptop computer, in my first apartment, often piling up manilla envelopes on the floor beside my chair to be stamped and stuffed with submissions to literary journals and magazines. (This is how we did it before the Internet!) My advisor, a wonderful, elusive and difficult poet, used to tell us to be proud of our rejections because they were also successes. He also once called me lazy. He was very insightful -- the act is often the win. Certainly in writing, it is easier to do nothing (while talking about everything) than to risk (very likely and very frequent) rejections.

So, when "Poet" or "Poet Teacher" jobs weren't plentiful after I received an M.F.A. in 1996, I took a job. And I began a career that would include working in publishing, insurance, a non-profit and financial services in Boston and New York City.

My first child was born in 2007, while I was the editor of an in-house broker-dealer magazine for financial representatives. Financial services is not a shining example of men and women exemplifying work/life balance. And new mothers of 6- to 8-week-olds truly don't even understand what work/life balance means. At least I did not. I panicked. I couldn't articulate what I wanted. I didn't know what I wanted, what I should want. What was there to want? When I got push-back for my ideas about working from home, I quit.

Eighteen months later, we added twins to our family. And I continued to write... nothing. And it did bother me.

Years later -- a couple of years later -- I started to write again, to begin in the middle. I wrote my first blog post more than two years ago.

And now my children begin their journey in school. Longer days away from me. No nanny. Everything is changing again. It feels like a beginning, yet I know it is more; we are in the middle, always, of our lives. My mornings will be free for writing. I plan to return to poetry and short fiction. And my plan is to begin where I am.

The title of this post is taken from the poem of the same name by Beckian Fritz Goldberg.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.