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Passion Project: Nerissa McNaughton

When did you start to realize that writing was your passion?

When I was in grade school I wrote a poem as part of an assignment. The teacher told my parents that I had a real talent and from there I wrote constantly! I filled notebooks with short stories and plays and entered writing contests.

When did you decide to turn your writing into a business?
As long as I could remember I wanted to write for a living, but I also knew publishing novels wasn’t easy. I wanted a career to fall back on along with business experience for when I could have my own company. As time went by I learned how much I liked meeting interesting people and telling their stories. I started freelancing and within four years, I’m Write became a full-time business with contract staff. I’m not a best-selling novel author like I dreamed, but I get to write content every day, and that’s just as good.

What does a day in your life as a freelance writer look like?
Crazy! The notion of a writer casually sitting on the patio with a laptop is an illusion. My alarm goes off at 4:30 AM. I’m at my desk a little after 5. The day starts with reading emails from clients and staff. Next, I write the features or the bigger articles I have on my plate. I’m one of two editors on the team, so after that it’s editing for my company’s SEO and web content division. Then I set up interviews for upcoming articles and work on the never-ending admin side of the company, which is everything from HR to marketing to scheduling work for the team to accounting. Thankfully I have an excellent team, an unbelievably talented manager, and couldn’t-live-without-her bookkeeper to keep me sane! In the past I’d work 12 – 15 hours a day. I was pushing myself way too hard and that causes some health problems. Now I try to keep it to an 8-hour day, and thanks to the team, I can mostly stick to that.

Can you tell us about what inspires you in life?
When I interview someone for an article about what they are passionate about. I’ve been honoured to learn the most amazing life advice in those conversations. I’ve also learned that no matter how great someone or a company is doing, nothing is ever handed to anyone. People that are successful work hard to be where they are and there is always a sacrifice. Those conversations are always a good reminder about real life. Recently one interview really changed how I view my own work. The gentlemen had worked alongside a couple of the biggest brand names in the UK and in North America. He’s a success story with a real fun life behind him. Yet he said his first passion was writing and he wished he was in my shoes! Really gave me perspective.

When you think of someone full of passion for what they do, who comes to mind and why?
My mother. She was a businesswoman too and no matter what she puts her mind to, she does it at full steam. She’s unstoppable, she’s strong, she’s smart and funny and has just the right amount of sass. For a long time people thought she was my sister. She has a youthful joy about her that doesn’t get touched by age.

If someone came up to you and asked you for advice on where to start with chasing their dreams, what would you tell them?
It’s harder than you think, and you WILL sacrifice something for that dream. It’s both the hardest thing you will ever do, and the most rewarding. Start by just getting started. Do one small thing everyday that supports where you want to go, and you will get there.

Because we're all about fashion here at DUVAL...

How would you describe your style?
Back in the day I was all about being stylish. I even had a fashion blog. Nobody saw me without my nails done and I wore heels everywhere. Yes, I even wore makeup grocery shopping! Now, however, unless I’m with a client, in a business meeting, or in an interview, I’ve fully embraced the leggings lifestyle. Leggings, long cotton top, and a hoodie. It’s so comfortable! It allows me to be at my desk, chase after my kid, hit the gym, and run errands all day. For a long time I decried being so “comfortable” but now I love it and can’t go back! (Still keep those nails painted though!)

If you could inherit anyone’s closet, who would it be?
Ditta Von Teese. She always looks so incredibly classy while also being so smouldering.

If you could only wear one single outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Alas, envy of Ms. Teese aside, that would be what I have on right now. My grey leggings, my black slouchy top from Ardene, my fleece lined hoodie from Warehouse One (yeah, air conditioning and a hoodie on…. don’t judge!) topped off with a little lip gloss.

What's your favourite DUVAL bag?
The Red Micro Cross Body. That colour just pops and I could wear that with jeans, leggings, or one of my many little black dresses. It’s so versatile and polished.

Where can we find you? and on Facebook HERE

Images by Smiley Eyes Photography

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