It’s been a year since I left my executive job in marketing to spend more time with family and try my hand at writing as a means to pay the bills.
My plan was to document this journey through a series of magazine articles under the umbrella “A Year of Living Simply,” but it seems that magazines are not nearly as captivated by my story as I am! They want a portfolio of published articles from new writers before they will even consider taking the leap. They want to know that a writer can draw an audience. Go figure!
Again and again, I have been encouraged to blog as a means to generate that audience and I’m not sure exactly why I resisted for so long. Perhaps it was my fear of technology? Having left behind those helpful corporate IT resources, I’ve had enough difficulty just keeping my email synched to my BlackBerry and operating the RISO photocopying machine at my kids’ school.
Perhaps it was a fear that I’d have nothing interesting to say? Probably not; I always seem to have a funny story in my back pocket. A while back I was having lunch with the kids and we were discussing different types of animals: carnivore; herbivore; omnivore. Through a mouthful of sandwich, seven year old Jack added, “Don’t forget the por favors.” We’ll save that little anecdote for his wedding reception.
Perhaps it was because I thought I’d be giving away for free, the “Living Simply” material I had hoped I could sell. That’s probably more to the point.
But on the elliptical trainer last night (where I get all my best ideas!) an angle struck me. At this point in my journey I’m finding my biggest struggle is balancing my desire to be the best mother ever, with my desire to leave a mark in the world outside of my own circle of family and friends. And as much as I’m enjoying my creative writing time, again and again I find myself falling into marketing mode.
A couple of months ago I had occasion to meet a woman in the business of reselling vintage dinnerware. Walking through her ENORMOUS warehouse full of fantastic china, crystal and silverware I was struck by all the many marketing angles she might pursue. How about a bridal registry? What about an eco-friendly, low carbon footprint approach? It was just such great stuff, there had to be a way to build a bigger market for it! So I immediately set up a Survey Monkey questionnaire to investigate the market potential for one of these ideas. The business owner must have thought I was wacko when I sent her the link and told her that I was simply interested in learning more. I’m sure she thought I was going to try to sell her something at some point and I thought it was telling that that she didn’t post the survey link on her website.
Then I met a woman who used to be editor of Wedding Bells magazine and this led to more deep thought on heritage china business opportunities and challenges. When the survey results came in, I scheduled an appointment to share the results, complete with a summary of key conclusions and a list of next steps. I just couldn’t help myself! We had a great chat about her business and the survey and what might be the future of the industry, and I left feeling a sense of satisfaction that I had given a small gift to this enterprising young woman.
And I’d gotten my “fix” of marketing.
I thought I could leave it all behind. I thought I could just walk away and reinvent myself as super-Mom and creative writer extraordinaire. But it seems I can’t. Marketing is baked into my bones and I just can’t leave it behind.
Which of course complicates things. Now I’m not just trying to balance Mom versus writer. It’s also a battle for balance between Mom versus Marketer.
So much for Living Simply.
For more info on the fantastic source for heritage china, crystal and flatware I mention in this blog, visit www.heirloomschina.ca