Thursday, June 28, 2007

Book Review Continued

We covered the lesson on "Teachability" this week from the book "Talent is Never Enough" by John C. Maxwell.

Now this is one area I don't feel like I need much help on. I love learning, and am almost always open to suggestion for improvement. The book warns that pride is an enemy of teachability, but I have little to no pride. I could probably stand to work more on pride than teachability actually. Basically being teachable is being open to growth, and no one should ever be done growing.

I though I was fairly comfortable on the computer until I opened my Etsy shop. Then I had to learn about online marketing, about blogs, and HTML, banners. . . well, all kinds of stuff I didn't know or care about a year ago. And its been fun, because I love to learn. Finally I found a personality trait I have that should serve me well.

I have to share some quotes from the book that really gave me the giggles. Maxwell gives a list of quote that supposedly came from real employee evaluations. My goal is to never be one of these people. I'm just going to give a few of my favorites - there are a bunch:

"Works well when under constant supervision and when cornered like a rat."

"When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."

"He sets low personal standards and consistently fails to achieve them."

"If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."

And my personal favorite, "This young lady had delusions of adequacy."

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Writing World

Well, I've reconnected with my writing in this short time I've been trying to get joy back from my hobbies. Some of the writing is stuff I 'have' to do - I write a newsletter for three veterinary hospitals, and I enjoyed doing it for the first time in a long time. Some I 'want' to do - I'm currently involved with a small group of Sci-Fi writers who are all working on stories for an anthology together. My story is finally starting to come together for me.

I just completed an online writing course from Coffeehouse for Writers (http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/) called, "How to Quit Your Day Job: Making a Living as a Full-time Freelance Writer". I didn't get out of it what they advertised, "By the end of the course, you will have at least two pieces (and their respective query letters) ready to be submitted.", but I did learn a few things. I'm a little disappointed, but am still happy with the things I did get out of it. I'd always been afraid to write a query, and I do feel like I have a good handle on that now. The class is over now and I'm still waiting on some critiques from the instructor.

To do a bit of bragging, one of my short stories was accepted for publication on the webzine, Long Story Short" (http://www.alongstoryshort.net/) for their August edition. Fear not - I'll put the link to my story here once it's published. I'd tell you what it's about- but that would ruin the surprise ending. You shall have to wait.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Burning out?

I'm back to working outside the house (I'm a Registered Veterinary Technician) part-time, so my already over-full schedule is just that much tighter now. And I've found myself not enjoying working on my Etsy shops, or even my writing. I get stressed out doing these things that used to be how I relaxed. Very troubling.

I believe that in my quest to make money so that I can come back home to be with my kids I've sapped the fun out of what I used to love. I won't let myself work on anything that I can't make money on. This isn't right. For one thing, I spend all of my sewing time re-making things that have sold, instead of experimenting with my ideas. At this rate I'll never create truly new items, and it's the 'creating something new' part that I love. I stress over saleable articles and don't work on my beloved fiction.

So I may become 'unproductive' for awhile, in that I plan to work on things I've wanted to work on - a baby quilt for a friend, a grab ball for my baby, a wall hanging quilt for my oldest daughter, fiction writing, and scrapbooking - but haven't let myself do because they aren't a source of income. But if the ball and the wall hanging turn out as I hope, I may make more for my shop, and in the long run improve the variety of my offerings and make my shop even better. That's the hope anyway. My hope is that a short break from pressuring myself to make a profit on everything will leave me refreshed, and ready to keep going even stronger.

In case you think I'm really insightful or anything like that - I actually had this idea while watching "Surf's Up" with my daughter yesterday. A cute movie. Maybe one or two more poo jokes than I needed, but overall a good message. To do something really well, you need to find your joy in it.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

My Street teams

I just wanted to give a little shout out to the various street teams I belong to at Etsy. If you're an Etsy seller and considering joining a team, I highly recommend it. I know it has helped with my sales, but more than that is the educational and emotional support, cross promotions, and even group discounts that go a long way to making this whole online commerce thing doable and fun.




First off is Etsy for Animals. A group of sellers dedicated to helping animals and who donate individually or collectively to animal charities. I give 10% of my sales to the charity of the month at http://www.etsyforanimals.com/









Next, is the California Crafter's CLub of Etsy. It's a team made up of artists ans crafters who live in California. http://cccoe.socalblog.org/







And last is actually the first team I joined. A wonderful group of crafters who make items for babies and kids. I've bought some really cool stuff for my girls from EtsyKids sellers. http://www.etsykids.com/

You can search for items from any of these groups at Etsy by using the tags: EFA, CCCOE, or Etsykids.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How the whole focus thing is going. . .

Well, I've taken a few baby steps in the right direction toward getting myself more organized and focused - and so far without giving up any of the things that I love.

How did I do it, I hear you ask. Well, I took a bit of advice from those books I mentioned before, as well as one I read awhile ago called, "Refuse to Choose" (I added it to the recommended reading list if you want a link) It's basically about a certain personality type that the author calls a "scanner", or a person who loves a variety of topics and activity and has an unusually difficult time focusing or picking one single life path, career, goal, etc. It's me 100%. I really loved it when I read it because it stressed that I didn't need to give up anything or "pick something" to do with my life in order to be successful - pretty much the opposite of what is implied in the other books I mentioned, and in my previous entry. However, it does say that keeping organized is important to success for a scanner. Now, I only ever implemented a few of the tools she suggested to help me fit the things I LOVE to do into my life around the things I WANT to do, but I'm trying to get back to that.

What I've done in the past several days is to plan my day a little ahead of time, and not try to do it all every day ( so I can focus on each thing I want to accomplish - see it all coming together here?) Yesterday I ran errands in the morning and in the evening I worked on items for my Karabu Etsy shop. Today I'm cleaning house and tonight I'll write. Granted, my Etsy projects aren't finished yet, my house could always use more cleaning, and there are other projects I haven't gotten to yet, but I have to say, I've made more progress on each of these areas than if I'd gone about things in my normal fashion of fluttering around trying to do five things at once. We even spent several hours at a playdate with my daughter's friends and I did a little craft project with my kiddo too today!

So far I feel really good about this, and since my extended maternity leave ends next week I'll really need to have a time management system in place in order to work, have time with my family and accomplish my other goals as well. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes.