I've been writing and creating art, in one form or another, my entire life. As a young child, I found having a creative outlet to be very therapeutic and healing. Writing gave me a voice when I was too afraid to verbally speak the words, and art allowed me to express myself without fear of judgment. They were my equalizers in life.
As I grew into a young adult, I found my college English classes to be the easiest—but never dreamt of becoming a freelance writer for hire because all I could think about was marrying my Prince Charming and becoming the stereotypical 50's housewife.
After graduating from college with an associate degree in Business Administration, I married my Prince Charming and together we had a few beautiful children. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but as much as I wanted to remain that stereotypical 50's housewife, the entrepreneurial bug kept beckoning me—until the day I listened and opened up my first homebased business. It took ten years of dabbling with different business ventures (home daycare, home party sales, mobile notary, mystery shopping, virtual assistance) until I found my calling as a writer... and opened up an online magazine for BUSY parents, an e-book store, and a freelance writing service.
I ran the business from home, on a part-time basis, while I raised my kids—my first priority as a stay-at-home mom. And I loved nearly every minute of it! I had a nice run, too.
I had 40K monthly visitors to the website and 9K e-zine subscribers. I acquired 12 new articles every month—all with no advertising budget and before social media became a household name. And I made a fairly decent income. I can still remember the day I tallied my year-end revenues to discover that I had earned over $30,000! I couldn't believe it. I had worked so hard that year and it had finally paid off!
Fast forward several years and life took an unexpected turn...
During my children's high school years, I was faced with the realization that my role as the quintessential housewife/stay-at-home mom was quickly coming to an end and I'd have to let my baby birds soar. As with most women who watch their firstborns leave the nest, I began to experience the "empty nest syndrome". That, combined with my mother's death, my husband's job layoff, 2 bouts of Bells Palsy (on both sides of my face and each lasting 6 months), the beginning stages of menopause, and the isolation of small town life in South Dakota, led to a pretty bad case of depression.
Nothing seemed fun anymore. I had everything I wanted as far as marriage and family went. I had even built up a nice side business, but I wasn't happy. Slowly, I began putting less and less work into my business and it started to show. If I didn't turn things around soon, there wasn't going to be a business left to salvage, but I just couldn't get going.
Over time, the depression turned into insomnia which eventually turned into anxiety. It got so bad that I was afraid to write a single word or hold a single conversation with someone other than my small circle of family and friends—for fear of saying the wrong thing. I worried about the stupidest of things and found myself overcritical of my husband and myself. I was even afraid to leave the house or go out in public alone!
Then one day my husband made an astute observation that helped turn everything around. He said, “When we owned our own home, you were always creative: crafts with the kids, art on the walls, gardening, baking, dinner parties, gift making. I’d come home and never knew what to expect: what colors the walls were going to be, what the furniture was going to look like, how the rooms were going to be changed, or what new thing you were going to add to the yard. You don’t do any of that now. You haven’t in a very long time. I think what is missing in your life is your creative outlet.”
I didn't believe him, of course. After all, I had been writing for years. I even did some journaling! But I agreed to start creating with something other than words. I didn't create to perfect a skill that would one day make money and I didn't create with the intent of gifting my art to someone else. I created simply for the sake of creating.
Every time I felt a panic attack coming on, I went into my craft room and I created art. I created mixed media art pieces. I hand embroidered pictures. I crocheted. I painted abstract art. And I didn't even care if it looked like crap. When I was in the zone, I felt wonderful!
With each piece of art I created, I began to find myself again. The stress became more manageable, the anger outbursts lessened, my self-esteem increased, the irrational fear that had been stifling me for so long began to subside, and most importantly, I began to find my happy place—a place outside of being mom, wife, and entrepreneur.
With my newfound confidence, I began gifting my art to strangers... the mailman, the UPS gal, the appliance delivery guy, the librarian, the bank teller, basically anyone who would graciously accept my art. I even mailed my art to distant relatives and long-lost friends. After running out of people to gift my art to, and realizing that I just didn't want to go back to publishing the parenting magazine, I closed down that aspect of the business and took some much needed time off to reflect on my life.
With the support of my husband, I took a year off to focus on me and to think about where I've been, what I've loved, and where I wanted to go. Then I took another year off and got a part-time job. My goal... conquer the debilitating social anxiety that was preventing me from re-building my business. After a year at the part-time job, I knew I couldn't give up writing completely and I had to do something with my art, so I transformed the website into what you see now—a place where I can combine all my loves: freelance writing, creativity, and mentoring.
My hope is that this new venture will allow me to spread a little sunshine and joy with every creative person I meet!
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. Please drop me an email if you need assistance with anything, or if you just want to let me know what you like best about my products and/or services. I look forward to hearing from you!