A Kind of Freedom
It takes a great deal of courage to leave a lucrative career that feeds your self-esteem for an uncertain future—especially if it takes years for the new venture to pay off financially. How do you learn to live in faith over fear, giving yourself the freedom to pursue something you love?
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton was working at a prestigious law firm when she took that leap, leaving a job that garnered respect—and a lot of money—to try her hand at writing. Four years in, she had a novel that still hadn’t been published and her insecurity was growing.
At a networking lunch, Margaret was invited to participate in a Djerassi year-long novel program, and that opportunity spawned A Kind of Freedom, a 2017 National Book Award Nominee and New York Times Notable Book of 2017.
Today, Margaret joins me to share her journey from the law firm to a career as an author. She describes how parenting influences her writing practice and offers insight around the pros and cons of sleep training. Margaret also explains her surprise at the adjustment of adding a new baby to the family after managing twins with a certain level of grace. Listen in as Margaret offers a preview of the book she’s working on now and learn how she achieves her own ‘kind of freedom.’
The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #077
Some quotes from the episode
- “It’s definitely challenging to have very limited personal space and time as an introvert and to just constantly be on and to just constantly be doing for somebody else. It’s rewarding of course, but it’s challenging.”
- “There was this prestige associated with [working at the top law firms], and I think I got trapped in that world.”
- “I got attached to the idea of being a really important lawyer … and I was really into that. I think I got a lot of self-esteem from that, and it was hard for me to leave because I didn’t have a plan.”
- “It’s not about was I going to practice law or was I going to write; it was about learning how to live in faith versus fear.”
- “Over the course of many, many years working on this core issue of value being separate from what I do … I really feel like I got to the point where I could honestly say, ‘If I never get published, at least I have the joy of being able to write.’”
- “I feel way more relaxed, and I also feel more worthy of the time to write.”
- “[My current book is] like a love story to black people. It’s like a love song about and to and for black people.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARGARET WILKERSON SEXTON
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton studied creative writing at Dartmouth before attending law school at UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was a 2017 National Book Award Nominee, a New York Times Notable Book of 2017, and a New York times Book Review Editors Choice. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Oprah.com, and Lenny Letter, among many other publications.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
- Djerassi Resident Artists Program
- The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
- Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson
- Fences by August Wilson
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
- An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
- Improvement by Joan Silber
- Books by Jesmyn Ward
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
- Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
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