I get oodles of letters every week from readers, and I wish I had time to answer each and every one of them. I’ve pulled a few of the most common questions and am answering them here. I’m also interested to hear your answers for your own way of working, so please share in the comments!
Answer: My fuel is motivation. I know if I don’t do anything, nothing will happen. My goal is to make a living inspiring people, and to sustain that, it takes a lot of hustling and hard work! I have a day job in the creative arts,s o I do that until 4:30, then I pick up the kids and do the dinner thing. After everyone goes to sleep, that is when I get the most amount of work done. I stay up until 2 a.m. and write. If I’m into art, then I stay in the art room. I think most people could add more creativity to their lives if they cut out things like going out to eat or watching TV. Those little pockets of time really do add up! As far as the kids, ever since they were little, I incorporate them into everything I do. Now that they are heading to college, they are so far ahead in what it takes to run a business and promote it. They embrace the power of multitasking and going for what makes you happy. They know hard work brings good luck!
Question: You’ve been doing this for a long time, how do you stay relevant in a competitive industry?
Answer: I’ve learned to always move forward, try new things, reinvent what I do – yet stay true to who I am and what I stand for. It’s like a relationship, routine gets boring, you have to add excitement, mystery, surprise! I also try not to think about the competitive angle, I just do what I love. I truly think that is the magic ingredient.
Question: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get a book published and find an agent or have a product line like you do?
Answer: When it comes to books, if it is a novel, write the book first. If it is a non-fiction book, put together a book proposal. Don’t think about the publishing or the agent until you’ve done those things. As far as the product line – you have to have a solid brand and your own signature style to show that what you do and make can stand apart from everything else that is out there.
Question: How do you handle critics of your work?
Answer: That’s a hard one for me! I’m a middle child and I’ve always aimed to please. I’ve had people hate me for being too nice or knock me down for not being perfect. I used to help write movie reviews when I was a reporter and it was hard to read feedback from angry movie fans! But in the long run, I’ve learned that I can’t please everyone, it’s impossible. I listen to the feedback and apply it as necessary and if it is heartfelt, I use it to become better. When it comes from a mean place, I send that person a mental blessing to be a happier person and go on my way. Life is too short to let anyone stop you from your dreams! Bottom line – you have to do what makes you happy and leave it at that.
Question: Do you ever regret posting anything on your blog? What advice do you have for new bloggers?
Answer: I’ve been blogging since 2003 and for years, I made it very general and personal. There were times in the early days that I posted personal things and emotions. They really served no purpose but for me to “let it out.” I’ve learned since that I want my blog to be upful and bright. There are so many negative things happening all around us, I want my little cyber home to be a place of glittery refuge for readers. As far as advice, I’d say to pinpoint a message of what you want your blog to be and go with it. Don’t worry about being perfect, perfect is boring! Make sure to include pictures with your blog posts, practice with your camera and look at your daily life as a scrapbook, what are the most interesting moments? Share those, create an emotional connection with your readers. Embrace social networking and use it wisely to build a sparkling platform for your artful message.
Question: You always seem happy and smiling. Do you ever have bad days, how do you handle them?
Answer: I do have off days! In my world, I put out a lot of energy to pitches and projects, and then have to sit tight and wait for an answer from the powers that be. Many times, I’ll get news that I wasn’t expecting and it can be crushing. Or sometimes I’ll make a mistake that sets my schedule back. I let myself have a diva moment, where I whine, gripe or sometimes even cry and pout – but I let it go. sometimes, if it is big project that I had my heart set on, I make sure I DO NOT go to bed with a negative attitude. I close my eyes, give thanks for what didn’t go wrong, and know that tomorrow is a new day, that in the big picture of life, this is a tiny bump. Each of us are presented with opportunities each day, what doesn’t come today is likely making room for what is to come tomorrow, I have faith in that! Plus, it is my nature to be happy, so I can’t stay grumpy even if I tried!
Question: How do you involve (or not involve) kids in your small business?
Answer: My husband and I have always included the kids in all we do. Not only has it given them extra skills, but also matures them a bit. We take part in all the activities they have going on as well. I like that everything we do has always been a family affair. However, there are times when NOT to have the kids around. Like during outdoor festivals when you are vending. It’s exhausting for us as adults, so imagine it for them, especially if they are little. It gets hot, or they can get fussy or even sick. Also, if you have speaking events or meetings, find a sitter!
Question: How does an artist or blogger get started with “branding?”
Answer: This has always come easy for me – it is about zeroing in on what you love, and attaching it to your name. Come up with a short, but descriptive tagline that represents you and use it as your guide. Make it specific and short. Buy the url and use it everywhere! Choose a font for your business name and nail it down for the long haul. There is so much more to go into, but at least this is a start!
Question: What are your future plans and dreams?
Answer: To take a tour group to London, to write as many novels as I can, to keep blogging, making arts and crafts and sharing it all here!