Balancing the Grind with Lucy Pearson, Founder & Editor at The Literary Edit

Lucy Pearson is a freelance writer, blogger and social media consultant specialising in books. She has contributed to publications such as Stylist Magazine, The Huffington Post and more.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started my career working for a beauty PR agency in London. I had tried – and failed – to get a job in publishing (thanks, in part, to having graduated mid-recession) and subsequently segued into PR which felt like a natural fit; albeit in an industry I had little to no interest in.

My boss at the time encouraged me to start a book blog, and it was off the back of my blog that I landed my dream role heading up the social media for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Two years later I moved to Sydney and have been working as a book blogger and freelance writer ever since.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

As something of an early bird, my day tends to start around 5am, though I don’t actually start working until around 9. I read, meditate and do a bit of journaling before leaving my apartment around 6am and then go and grab a coffee from my local bookstore/coffeeshop Gertrude & Alice in Bondi.

I then do an hour or so coastal walk – during which time I listen to a podcast or audio book (I’m currently listening to the brilliant The Art of Resilience by Ross Edgley) and then I meet friends for a quick catch up at a café in North Bondi.

I then head home and try and get a few hours of work done in my home study-cum-sunroom, and then (weather dependent) will go for a lunch time swim off the rocks in Bondi.

The work I do in the morning can be anything from a bibliotherapist session (something I recently launched at Gertrude & Alice) to blog admin or article writing for one of my clients, and no two days are ever the same.

As reading is a fundamental part of my job I set aside a couple of hours every afternoon or evening to read, and depending on my work load might do another coastal walk.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I’ve been working for myself – and subsequently from home for the most part – since I moved to Australia almost five years ago, and I’m lucky in that the vast majority of what I do lends itself well to remote and flexible working.

My first taste of remote working was when I lived in Bali and LA in 2017, and while I sometimes struggle with self-discipline and getting my head down, I know that I’m incredibly lucky to do what I do, and that being my own boss is a constant work in progress.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is something that has come much easier to me since I moved to Sydney in 2015. Living in Bondi feels less about competing in the rat-race, and more about making the most of this beautiful slice of paradise down under.

I used to head up the social media for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction when I lived in London, and because it really was my dream role, I lived and breathed my job, and very rarely switched off.

Living in Sydney has taught me that there’s more to life than my career, and I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve been able to make a living – and a life – off the back of my love for books.

A coastal walk every morning is my non-negotiable start to the day, and I usually make time for a swim as well – even in the middle of winter.

Barely a day goes by without an hour or two spent at Bondi bookshop Gertrude & Alice with my nose in a book, so, while it’s taken a good few years, I’ve certainly managed to carve out a really happy work-life balance.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

While I’ve been an early riser for as long as I can remember, reading Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning and Robin Sharma’s The 5am Club have been really influential to the way I start my day.

I’m definitely guilty of spending too much time on my phone, but endeavour to keep it on airplane mode for the first few hours of the day.

Getting into audiobooks and podcasts has also been something of a game-changer; while I used to just listen to any old playlist on my morning walks, I now love nothing better than getting a bit of mind-food while I’m exercising.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Oh grief – I have dozens. Of late some books I’ve really enjoyed have been The Art of Resilience by Ross Edgley, I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron, Me & White Supremacy by Layla Saad and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges.

Podcasts I love are The High Low Show with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, The James Smith Podcast, Lisa Messenger’s podcast Hear me Raw and How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.

I’m a big fan of Emma Gannon’s newsletter, The Hyphen, and also love Jen Carrington’s Letters.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’m rarely without my MacBook Air, and if books count as products, I carry at least one around with me wherever I go. Some apps I love are The 5am Club, Wunderlist and Miracle Morning Routine.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I’m big fans of Bondi locals Lisa Messenger and Sarah Wilson – and even though I’m lucky enough to be friends with them both I’d love a bit more insight into how they manage their work-life balance.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think it’s easy to buy into the shiny myth of success – and to believe that people have everything sorted when often the reality is the completely opposite.

I know if someone had told me I’d be living in Bondi doing what I love for a living five years ago it would have seemed completely unattainable, but with hard work, opportunity and perseverance, it really is possible to create a life you love.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.