January 11, 2012

Is It Different for Writers?

For the past four and a half years I’ve owned and operated an Etsy shop called Chucka Stone Designs. The shop was, using television lingo, a spinoff of my larger company of the same name. In the parent company I conceptualized and installed faux finishing techniques in rooms and on furnishings for clients. Over the years the Etsy shop moved in and out of various incarnations – it began as a jewelry shop, moved into tote bags and other sewn fabric items, and now showcases both personal-use sewn accessories and smaller items of home d├ęcor with a faux finish applied. However, not too long ago I started putting the feelers of a Writing life out there and added my Zine trilogy, “Random Lunacy”, to the shop.

The Zine was, in my eyes, a complete success as I believe I sold at least one copy of each volume to someone I didn’t already know. As a business owner, most of us can relate to selling our wares to family and friends, not to mention acquaintances, but the thought of that first completely random person not only discovering but appreciating our work enough to buy it is a rush! It was super cool and then like many times in the past I walked away from writing the second I got a teeny taste of what it took to be a Writer.

Well as tempting as it would be to do it again, this time I’m pushing forward full steam ahead! I’ve joined a critique group and those of us in the group right now are sharing novels with each other. I could have taken the easy road and provided my first but I truly feel that book is complete and ready to be published so instead I am charging ahead with my second full length fiction novel.

So right at the end of December I opened Writesy. It felt great to get my Zines out there again and in the spirit of “The Year of No Excuses” in 2012 I also spent some time in December pulling from my poetry pool and assembled a chapbook containing thirteen prose pieces, a dedication page and a color front and back cover. It’s called “Trying for the Moon” and I’ve decided to release 100 copies in the first run. So far 11 people have picked up a copy and I am so grateful!

So what does all this writing stuff have to do with being a business owner? Well two things.
1. There’s no way I can run two companies at once full time – and –
2. I need to follow my heart, gut, passion, and realize that I am the other company

That passion is being a Writer, Author, Novelist. That passion is being a student of life. It’s pushing past my comfort zone into something terrifying and scary but undeniably “me” in its daily work. I love to write and the more I looked deep into the reason for my painting business I realized it was the most difficult easy thing I’ve ever done.

What do I mean there? I mean, I learned a skill of how to install beautiful treatments and I was damn good at it. But then I pretty much stopped doing it once I opened my company because I had no idea how to run the business side. I had wonderful logs and charts set up, I was joining teams and blogging. I was reading newsletters and planning the future of my salary. But I was completely lost at running the business side.

Have I emphasized enough? Okay.

I had no clue how to source business, I had no clue where to advertise, I was flying blind and picking up a random wonderful client here or there but basically as a business owner I sucked. Big time. And you know the funny thing? I didn’t really mind sucking, I had no drive to get it out there in any meaningful way because it wasn’t, for lack of better terms, me. Not really.

But, Is It Different for Writers?

I’d like to think so because although my final product is actually a work of fiction, the business side of it kicks in way before you ever get to the selling part in this industry. And I’m already there doing it every day. You have to be a Writer before you can be a Writer. Know what I mean? No? Okay well let me give you an example.

The 745 words above.

I love blogging and article writing, I seriously need a 12 step program for my social media presence, and there’s something exhilarating about joining a monthly Writer’s Group and Critique Group. The difference in it is that I feel alive when I’m Writing. When I’m painting I am definitely feeling creative but the jolt at knowing I could sit here pecking away for a living while being a student of life well, that’s something that sounds way too awesome to pass up.

So I’m diving in. After twenty five years of standing ankle deep and running away from the waves that weren’t anywhere close to past my knee, I’m running full force into the ocean of words and I’m fucking owning it.

Chucka Stone Designs is unfortunately going to be no more in the end of this splash-fest but that’s okay, paint isn’t exactly good for the flow of the ocean. So if you’re interested in anything in my shop let me know and you may just get it for your birthday. I won’t be taking custom orders any longer and once the items in my shop expire that will be the end for Chucka Stone Designs. The ride was fun for four years but I’m much happier when I float in the boat I’ve been working on my whole life.

So I Bid Adieu

I want to send an insanely huge thank you out to everyone who has given me a hand of support be it physical, financial, mental, spiritual or otherwise, I am truly thankful to have had the encouragement and backing all this time. This is going to be my last post here on this blog but I don’t plan to close it at this time. You can still search back through the archives to find that perfect article or finish, or to read about my journey along the way since 2007.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog here I’d love to ask you to follow me over to Writesy. I don’t plan to get a Facebook account at this time, just the shop and blog, because the premise of the site is me and my work. To friend me on Facebook or follow on twitter use my real name with / - or - @ jennshon.

Shop – http://www.etsy.com/shop/Writesy
Blog – http://Writesy.blogspot.com

And of course I still have Random Lunacy – http://randomnessandlunacy.blogspot.com

I hope to see you over there but if not, thanks for coming on this part of the ride with me, it sure has been a great trip. Who knows, maybe I’ll even develop a character that reminds you of you, after all, as a Writer unlike a finisher, I need to look at the real world. The one in my imagination.

Stay intriguing my friends.

January 9, 2012

Month Long Challenge to De-Clutter

The Captain of our EcoEtsy team has posed a challenge for anyone willing to take it on - one month of decluttering and tracking what leaves your house.  I am taking the challenge to de-clutter which shouldn't be too much of a stretch for me considering I try to rid myself of non-functional items all the time.

However, since moving to Arizona I haven't done a semi-annual mega-purge yet.  It is absolutely time!  Plus I was talking last year about getting rid of anything not awesome and clutter, in my world, is so not awesome!

You can check out the challenge over at ecokaren at the challenge to de-clutter link above and feel free to join in the fun!  Don't forget to sign the pledge and link back.  I'm excited to start MY list of stuff that's leaving my space!

REDUCE • RECYCLE • REFUSE

December 14, 2011

Extended Hiatus for Great Reasons

Good morning friends and fans!  Wow, what a few weeks it has truly been, I've been basically MIA so I figured an explanation was in order.  Welcome to my life where a very close friend once told me I'm the busiest person she knows...

First off my husband and I went back to Boston for over two weeks right around Thanksgiving time.  It was crazy to see everyone, crazy fun and crazy busy!  I caught a massive cold about 4-5 days after we got there so despite having plans with everyone, curing ills became the priority.  It meant that other than school work I got about zilch done on the computer so...

The Writer's Retreat I had intended to take myself on for those two weeks after finding out I wasn't painting turned into NyQuil induced sleepy time instead.  But the good news is that while driving to see my sister and attend a lovely fancy pants Christmas party last weekend, Matt came up with the title for the second Manuscript!  Hooray for my super-muse!  Now I'm raring to go.  Which of course means I'll need more time off...

From school and winter break is right around the corner.  Thank goodness!  With only about 10 classes left until I graduate next year I'm so feeling the itch to be done already!  Chapters hover in the 60 page pdf file range, papers vary around 3-4 per week, and of course there is interaction with everyone else that has to happen weekly for attendance.  I'm tired just writing about it!  But with 2 weeks off and a visit from some family during and right after Christmas I look forward to a technical writing break...

Which brings me to my next update of course!  I have started a new blog called Writesy: Online Content Proofreading and Editing Services and it is just in the beginning stages but I plan to amp this hardcore next year as this is the work I absolutely love doing - writing, proofing, editing - it is the passion I have and what I want to be my focus.  I'm going to do blog posts, merch listings, job postings, school papers, and more!  The entire time I have spent trying to build a successful finishing business all I wanted to do was write about it so...

My Chucka Stone Designs shop will stay open for now and I'll still be semi-active with teams, blogs, promotion, but otherwise I'll be focusing primarily on the things that I do best and that mostly includes writing and custom orders...

Now here is where I give an enormous shout out of THANK YOU to all of my clients who commissioned me to create something custom for them this holiday season.  I can not begin to tell you just how much it means to me to have had this opportunity to use my creativity and craft something that you loved.  The single reason why I continue to keep on keeping on with paint/faux/sew is all of you so thanks, a million and one times over!  But that's not all of course...

We are starting the process to purchase our first home in Arizona and the looking/bidding/projecting has us sleep deprived and anxious to get out of this temporary apartment.  Winter sports are in full swing and you know that means I'm all about hockey and football all week long.  Meeting new friends here in Arizona has been a blast!  One of the places I'm meeting new friends is at the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers group which is an amazingly inspiring group of ladies who all work in the world of words in some capacity (publishers, editors, writers, etc).  And none of this even accounts for all that silly life stuff that has to still happen - laundry, groceries, keeping in touch with friends and family, etc.

So you can probably understand the need for the hiatus from the blog and all other stuff associated!

Please continue to contact me about custom orders, I love doing them truly!
Or if you are in need of a second set of eyes be sure to check out my Writesy Proofreading Services and contact me over there.

Thanks for understanding and I'll catch up with all of you in the New Year!  Have a super happy holiday season and please enjoy some re-posts during the last couple weeks of the year.

November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday, EcoEtsy Gift Guide and A Coupon Code for 12% Off

Happy Cyber Monday to all the shoppers out there!  For those of us who are looking for something unique, one of a kind, handmade or from an independent artist running a smaller business who puts time and love into every piece they make I can't begin to recommend the Team EcoEtsy Holiday Gift Guide enough!

Details about the Gift Guide and its various categories of awesomeness can be found right on the Team EcoEtsy blog here.

I'm fortunate enough to have my shop featured in the Under $75 category of the guide this year and, truly, I couldn't be more excited to share the guide with everyone!

Can you tell by all the exclamation points?  :-)

The team is just chock full of amazing products that have a strong focus on the planetary impact our businesses can have.  Most designers use environmentally sustainable materials and practices while creating, natural ingredients, reused packaging for shipping and as much Green friendly as possible.

Like I said, my shop is included here and as many of you know I primarily create faux finished items with water based paints that look exactly like the real thing but I didn't have to mine the Earth to get the same look!  The pieces used in my faux granite items were either purchased directly from another teammate's overstock stash or from local thrift stores here in Phoenix then given brand new life!

The moss colored faux granite coasters featured at the top of this post are a great example of use of a cutoff from a fellow teammate and were just listed in my shop this morning.

I also salvage fabrics and enjoy upcycling to create something that extends the life cycle of a piece of material which could have gone to a landfill to sit for years.  Heck, I'll even use the cutoff bits of my sample boards to create durable faux finished bookmarks!

To see all the items in my shop click any of the items below.  Those and more await your discerning eco-eye!



And as a special bonus this holiday season just use the coupon code NEWSTUFF2012 at checkout to receive 12% off your entire purchase!  Its my way of saying thanks for spreading the eco love this holiday and saying goodbye to 2011 in style.

Now go, shop, be merry and BE GREEN!!!

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those who celebrate I would just like to extend my biggest hug to you all.  I hope that you are able to spend this day with the ones you love, doing what you enjoy, eating what you like and most of all remembering the many things you have to be thankful for this holiday and everyday!

Today I'm thankful for indoor heat and plumbing that runs to the dishwasher, homemade meals, laughter and good times with family and friends, all five senses, football, a glass of wine, hugs, and being fortunate enough to have the means to travel back to my hometown to spend this time with the ones I love!

I wish for the best and most yummy, nap-filled, happy holiday to you all!  Gobble, gobble!