a healthy asset

Yesterday, I read a great Design*Sponge BizLadies profile of Lucy Feagins of The Design Files, who talked about the trials and triumphs of starting her own business. One of the things she said that stuck with me is that she considered her health a significant asset of her business, because her business can’t run without her. This really resonated with me because I’ve been burning the midnight oil, burning the candle at both ends — basically burning myself out — trying to juggle my numerous projects. And with all those activities, I was leaving out time for my health.

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So, this morning as I woke up sandwiched between my husband and my son (whose been coming into our room in the wee hours of the night recently), I decided to make some changes. First, I grabbed my sneakers and went for a run. Believe it or not, I’ve actually run the Marine Corps Marathon, and love to run for the boundless feeling of freedom it gives me. But, I had stopped making time for it because I felt I was too busy. Then, I removed myself from a group that was taking up a lot of my time, but that I wasn’t passionate about. Then, I sat down to write this.

Going forward, I know that I will have to be more deliberate with my time — focusing on those things that either bring me and my family joy, propel my creative endeavors, or are absolutely necessary — because, yes, health very much is a significant asset.

ex libris — Recipe for Press

This week’s book review is of Amy Flurry’s Recipe for Press: Pitch Your Story Like the Pros & Create a Buzz. I met Amy during the Southern C Summit earlier this month, where she gave a spot-on nuts and bolts presentation on how aspiring writers, designers, and entrepreneurs can pitch stories or products to magazine editors and bloggers. This book discusses the same topics in further detail, and is chock-full of useful advice and tips on being a DIY publicist. With 18 years in the business (including at the magazines Sassy, Lucky, Country Living, and InStyle — just to name a few), and with her own successful art direction business, Amy knows what she’s talking about.

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The book’s 14 chapters cover key topics like finding your voice, generating content, strategy and stamina, creating press kits, following through, and, of course, creating the perfect pitch.

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Interwoven among Amy’s suggestions are interviews with other successful creatives — like textile designer Amy Butler, chef Hugh Acheson, and artist Rebecca Wood — who discuss their own successful strategies.

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If you’re an aspiring writer, maker, or small business owner, then read this book. PR firms are expensive. Recipe for Press shows you how to make DIY publicity work for you.

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Recipe for Press: Pitch Your Story Like the Pros & Create a Buzz by Amy Flurry (PC Press 2011)

Enjoy!

Nicole

mamas making it work

Okay, okay, so I know some of you are probably tired of hearing about the Southern C Summit. I did promise, however, to share some of what I learned during the event. As I mentioned earlier, it was an unbelievable gathering of incredibly talented, Southern-based women (and a sprinkling of men) – artists, bloggers, designers, and other creative small business owners – that came together to share start-up stories, tips, and practical know-how. And while I was genuinely struck by the ingenuity in the room, I was also struck by how many of the Summit participants were mothers.

Now, why I would find this a surprise is beyond me. I’m a mother myself, of a 3-year old boy that likes hot dogs, sunflowers, and Spiderman. I also work full-time at a “real job,” while juggling my husband and son, blogging at night, contributing to Broadway+Thresher, and managing my other pursuits. Some days I feel completely overwhelmed (and exhausted). And when I look at other people who are doing what I would like to do more of, I think – “Oh, they must not have kids. Or, they must have an inordinate amount of help. Or maybe they’re just Wonder Woman? Otherwise, how could they do it all?”

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Many of the women I met last week, however, were “normal” moms that were also juggling. They talked about Girl Scout troop meetings, and how softball season affected their work schedule, and how their teenagers learned to get dinner started. Which brings me back to what I learned at the Southern C Summit. And this is that you can be a mom and an entrepreneur and a creative and somehow make it all work for you. Wanting to start a business doesn’t make you a bad mom, and being a good mom doesn’t mean you cannot run a successful venture. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman, you just have know what you want and block out the unhelpful noise. (Supportive family and friends go a long way, too. Mr. M., for one, has been great these past few months.) Yes, there will be some sleep-deprived nights, but to me that’s better than never having tried.

Clearly, I have not invented sliced bread here or anything. But it was really helpful for me to see firsthand (as opposed to in a magazine, super-hyped book, or other stylized account), that real women are loving their families, loving their creative endeavors, and defining their own success — even if it does mean lots of coffee.

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And don’t forget this Sunday (May 12) is Mother’s Day in the States. It’s a hard job, so show her some love!

Cheers!

Nicole