How I Get Sh*t Done: Simone Paget
Talking about sex is usually awkward for most, but for Simone Paget, it’s a topic that comes up on a daily basis. Simone is a nationally syndicated sex columnist for the Toronto Sun and is all about having honest conversations about love, sex, and being human. Healthy is Hot sat down with Simone to talk about everything from her creative process to her favourite part of being a journalist!
Tell me what started your passion for writing?
Growing up, my parents always prioritized literacy and had tons of books lying around. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t obsessively reading and writing.
So it’s your average day - take me through your morning routine (what time do you wake up, what do you do first, breakfast, etc)
I usually wake up at 7:30, get dressed and head to a morning barre class. I come home around 9 am, shower, have my daily green smoothie (made with Vega protein powder. I eat this for breakfast every single morning) and then start working. I’ll usually start by checking in with the various social media accounts I manage for clients and then dig into whatever writing assignment is most urgent. I usually write 1-3 articles or blog posts daily. When I’m not working on projects for clients, I work on my own personal writing. I try to keep to a strict 9-5 schedule. However, if I take the afternoon off, I’ll work in the evenings. Sometimes I work 12 hour days. It’s busy but I love it.
How do you like to unwind?
I love listening to podcasts, reading books and let’s face it -- Netflix. I also enjoy taking a day to catch up with friends and family, wander around downtown and enjoy not being tethered to my laptop.
What does your scheduling system look like (planners, calendars, etc)?
I’m a huge fan of paper planners that allow me to physically write out my to-do list. I’m currently using one by Plum Paper, however, I also love the Get to Work Book because it’s super minimal and user-friendly. I also use Google Calendar to keep track of birthdays, concerts, events and travel dates.
How do you keep active?
I’m a former ballet dancer and now love barre classes. I usually go to a combo of barre, yoga, pilates or pole dancing classes 3-4 times a week. I also I’m fortunate to live in a city where almost everything is walking distance, so I like to walk as much as possible.
You talk about having honest conversations with people about love, sex and being human, these aren’t always easy topics for people to open up about. How do you overcome the awkwardness people feel when talking about this stuff?
Well, I start by only interviewing people who are interested and comfortable and talking about these things. As for my own awkwardness, I try to just be as professional as possible. Talking about sex feels pretty normal and like another day at the office!
What’s your favourite thing about journalism?
The best part about being a freelance writer is the flexibility (I can work from anywhere) and that I get to do what I love (write), but also the variety -- you never know where a story will take you and who you’ll meet. As a colleague recently said, “I get paid to be curious.”
How do you bring creativity in your life?
I feel really lucky that I got to grow up in a really creative household where both my mom and sister are visual artists, so it’s always been around me. I read a ton (usually a book a week), follow artists and designers I’m interested in and collect art. I also have a side project where I photograph my intern, Joe. I’ve discovered that even professional creatives need a creative outlet! His Instagram is a place for me to flex my writing skills, have fun and add some play into my everyday life.
What does “Healthy is Hot” mean to you?
I know that I always feel my best when I’m focused on the fun things my body can do (dance, lift, bend, love) versus what it looks like. So, to me “Healthy is Hot” is about doing your best to take care and be kind to yourself.
What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Freelance writing can be really unpredictable (your income can and will fluctuate). You need to be able to deal with this kind of uncertainty and have really great time management skills. Be organized. Work hard. Get to know as many people as possible. At least 75% of my work has come from people that I know.