THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 84: Meredith Schorr, Author and Paralegal

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

BY THE WAY…

  • Looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
  • The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
  • Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
  • Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.

No. 84: Meredith Schorr, Author and Paralegal

Age: 40ish
Where I live:
 New York City
Job: Author of Women’s Fiction and Trademark Paralegal

MeredithClind'Oeil(14)hrHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I haven’t changed jobs, but I’ve stopped putting in overtime at my day job so that I have more time to write in the evenings. I end up with more of a backlog, but it’s the only way I can fit everything in and as long as I don’t miss any deadlines, it’s fine.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think everyone’s definition of having “it all” is different, but I do think it can be realistic to an extent. I don’t think one can have it all without giving up something. I believe compromises must be made in order to make room for everything. For instance, if I focus all of my free time on my social life, my writing will suffer. If I focus all of my free time on writing, my social life will suffer. For me, having it all is attainable as long as I “have” everything in smaller doses to make room for all of the things that comprise “having it all” by my definition. I’m currently single, but when I am in a committed relationship, I will need to adjust the balance even more to make room for everything. Something always has to give a little.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I will quote The Breakfast Club and say that my “homelife is unsatisfying” in that I don’t love my apartment. It needs new furniture in a big way, and I need to ask the management company for a paint job; I just now finally acquired a television set befitting of the twenty-first century. I focus so much energy balancing my day job with the writing, exercise, and a social life that I let things like maintaining a really awesome apartment suffer. I also pay all of my bills the old fashioned way because I can’t seem to make time to apply for online billing. My friends tease me that I’m stuck in 1989.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at managing my expectations, understanding what I’m capable of, and forgiving my failings. I make reasonable goals for instance: publishing one book a year, writing one blog post per week, and I try not to compare myself to others who do more.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I have a pretty structured schedule at least during the week that helps me manage my time. For instance, I exercise first thing in the morning when the only other activity I would be doing at that time is sleeping. I use lunch hours to write blog posts because writing a blog requires a briefer increment of time than working on my novels. Most importantly, I go directly from my day job to my favorite coffee shop to write without stopping at home first—I treat it like my second job. I tend to write until about eight o’clock which leaves me a few hours to chill before I go to bed. I often make social plans during the week, but I always leave at least one or two evenings to write.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? My late boss always urged me to take it easy and not be so hard on myself. He’d say that what I can’t finish today will still be there tomorrow, and the only one who is making demands on me is myself.
From your mother? My mom values a good work ethic more than anyone I know so when it comes to my day job, she always encourages me to do whatever I can to be the best at what I do. But she acknowledges that I take on too much sometimes and urges me to stay in and watch television, just not on a Saturday night—what she still considers “date night.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Sleeping!!

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Oh, so many things! For one, I wish I’d discovered my passion for writing earlier. I was in my early 30s by the time I figured out what I loved to do more than anything else. But also, I wish I appreciated how young and cute I was and didn’t spend so much time underestimating myself and worrying about nonsense. Finally, I wish I’d known how good guys, particularly nerdy but cute ones, were underrated as opposed to the cocky charismatic ones I put on a misguided pedestal.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
I hope to know that all my choices, even the ones I’ve regretted, led me to the right place.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cleaning.

Whose job do you wish you had?
Full-time author and freelance developmental editor. I am both an author and a freelance developmental editor, but my dream is to be able to make enough money to shake the day job.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Oncologist. I’m sure it’s rewarding when lives are saved but more often than not, cancer is still a death sentence and I don’t think I could stand delivering bad news and devastating families.

Favorite books?
Anything by Rainbow Rowell, Catherine McKenzie, and Sophie Kinsella. Stand-alone favorites include The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen.

What are you reading right now?
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Biggest vices…
Activity? 
Tied between drinking wine and worrying. Fortunately the former assists with the latter at least temporarily.
Food? Cheese.
Website? Amazon—stalking rankings and reviews.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7-9 depending on whether I go to the gym in the morning.

What do you read every morning?
I have a funny habit of reading my Kindle while I blow dry my hair—pure pleasure reading. Otherwise, I read my incoming emails.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have come very far in being the best “Meredith” I can be, but I have a ways to go.
I wish I: could find someone to share my life with.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
I will borrow this from my late friend Alan: “You will regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do.” I am trying to live by this more, but it’s a challenge for me.

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HDYKcoverAbout Meredith:
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her currently single (but looking) status. Meredith is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. How Do You Know? is her fourth novel.

Find out more about Meredith here:
www.meredithschorr.com
Twitter: @meredithschorr
Facebook: MeredithSchorrAuthor
Instagram: MeredithSchorr
Pinterest: meredithgschorr

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NEW NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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4 Comments

  1. Meredith Schorr Monday, May 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for including me in The Balance Project. I wish you oodles of success with your new novel!

    • Susie Schnall Monday, May 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you Meredith!! So glad you participated!

  2. Samantha Stroh Bailey Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 10:03 am - Reply

    These are such fantastic questions, and they make me really think about the balance I want to achieve in my life. Meredith, I love you so much as a person, I devour your books and miss them when I’m done, and I admire your honesty, courage, and ability to read while blow drying your hair. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s a feat! Great interview!

    • Susie Schnall Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

      What a nice comment! Thanks for stopping by Samantha!!

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