Words are Like Water

Words are like water, washing

and washing us with their truth --

or otherwise drowning

us if we won't allow it, healing turned

to windswept tumult to get our

ever-wandering attention. They are

everywhere, reach everywhere, patient

enough to hollow out caverns

in the deep, strong enough to 

tumble down the thin and ruinous

beliefs we clutch the closest. In

time, with ruthless endurance,

everything they touch transforms.

 

"A story is like water / that you heat for your bath. / It takes messages between the fire / and your skin. It lets them meet, / and it cleans you! / . . . Water, stories, the body, / all the things we do, are mediums / that hide and show what's hidden. / Study them, / and enjoy this being washed / with a secret we sometimes know, / and then not."

- from The Essential Rumi

 

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The Altars I Didn't Mean to Leave Behind

I couldn't tell you how many times I sat in this cafe, books and headphones and words strewn across its population of worn tables. How many times have I taken refuge within these brick walls, been nourished by the scent of baking pies blossoming from the kitchen, sipping coffee and writing and writing and writing?

I couldn't count. I couldn't possibly.

I've lived in this mountain-circled valley for, god, over ten years now. I was not born here, did not grow here. How can I be old enough to have ten years in any new place?

I am old enough (oh god) and I have passed so much time in this coffee shop, lived much. I even worked here for a time, slinging espresso not very confidently. I even hung my art here for a time. How this place has held me.

And after all this time, all this life spent here, held here, it has become something of a an involuntary, everyday altar that I didn't mean to leave but left nonetheless. A measuring stick, a marker stone against which I can press my soul and feel all the past iterations of myself and know with the deep knowing just how very far I've come.

When I come here, I can't help but remember.

When I come here, I can't help but feel grateful.

When I come here, I can't help but feel a bit sad over the passing of time even while I am so, so glad to be more healthy and more whole than I was before, than I have perhaps ever been.

I come to this cafe, and sip its coffee and nibble on pie, and I breathe in, wide and deep, and know, and am, and am glad.

Me, 9 years ago.

Me, 9 years ago.

This Isn't Right, I'm Not Right [Yet]

I am in tears as I sit here before the blank screen, trying to figure out how to say what I need to say.

This isn't right.

This. She of the Wild. This work.

It is good work, this I know. It is honest and needed and I believe in it. I will keep doing it for these reasons.

But it isn't quite right, not quite in alignment with The Thing that's inside me and wants to, needs to get out, be born, be in the world, be there for you if you choose it, if it chooses you.

And god, that is hard to admit, because I've worked so hard and so long and have tried to believe, have kept showing up, and for all that, for all my own personal soul-growth, it's still not right (dammit).

And then I realize -- it's not just She of the Wild that isn't yet fine-tuned. It's me, too. My life. My whole life.

For those of you who've been with my along the way, or part of it, you know that it's been a journey. I started a numb girl child in the body of a young woman, and through the initiation of an eating disorder and then the anguish and grieving of my daughter's stillbirth and then the necessary burning of my religiosity, I've grown. God, I've grown. I wouldn't have chosen that path if I'd been given a choice, but since I found my feet on that road, I'm grateful for what it's given me.

And to now come to this moment and realize that there is still so much work to be done, still so much growing? Well. It's frustrating. But mostly it's exhausting.

And I'm right in the thick of it. Or (oh god) maybe just the beginning. Regardless, I find myself in another dark night. And here I thought I was done with all that [insert dry divine laughter here].

The spiral of descent (or is it ascent? I can't even tell anymore) that I am currently winding around has to do, I think, with my own strength. How I've never really learned to stand on my own two feet in the world. How I don't believe I'm worth getting paid a living wage for whatever work I happen to be doing. How I never learned to be my own beloved, my own true love, my own twin flame/soul mate/best friend/truest companion.

I came to this realization yesterday. And, later in the day, still cradling this bleak epiphany tenderly, I happened to lock eyes with mySelf in a mirror, and nearly crumbled at the sensation of being met by my Self. Of being on my own side, perhaps for the first time ever. Of being happy, content, fulfilled alone.

I didn't think it was possible.

I didn't think I was capable.

But in that moment, I believed. In that moment, I met myself with love and power and it rocked me and changed my mind.

I don't know where this is going. I don't know what will become of me. And god knows I really don't fancy another descent into the dark night.

But I know that this is good work. I know this is needed. For She of the Wild, sure, but first mySelf.

Will you walk with me, will you wait with me?

Don't Give Up. Keep Going.

It's okay to feel like an absolute and total mess, like you don't know what to want or what you want. It's okay to want to sleep all day for a while. It's okay to be where you're at.

What's not okay is to deny where you are and how you are. To not look at the things that need to be looked at or not feel the things that need to be felt (this is [part of] what got you into trouble before).

Your task now is to feel and to mourn, and to let that process grow and illuminate yourSelf. To see where this road leads. To love yourSelf more fully, with more abandon.

You will survive. (Yes -- you will.) Stop asking how -- the how is not important. The showing up whole and wholly imperfect and authentic is what's important.

Trust. Trust. Keep going. Don't give up. Serve the world. serve the world your very best. The world needs all the golden soul good that you (we) can offer. So keep going. Don't give up.

Keep going.

SHE Zine #4 is Here!

SHE Zine Issue #4 is now available, both as a monthly subscription and as individual copies (if you are already a subscriber, your copy is already in the mail, and probably arrived if you're in the U.S. -- huzzah!).

Here are some peeks inside this issue:

Ready to nab your own? Head over here. Or if you already have yours, use the tag #SHEzine when sharing related photos/thoughts/quotes/etc. on Instagram and your other favorite social media platforms.

Instructions for Living

Breathe deep. Smell all the scents around you. Taste them. Savor them. They are evidence that you are alive and there is beauty in this world yet.

Read. And then read more. Devour words like the sustenance they are. Then put down your books and live your own story in vivid color and with all the courage you can muster.

Drink deep of life. Embrace its experiences. Embrace the ones you love. Embrace strangers (with their permission).

Be willing to be amazed. This takes a certain kind of vulnerability, of trust. Go there. Allow wonder. Enjoy it.

Participate in your own life. Do not be a spectator, a bystander. The days are passing. Live them all, all of what each one has to offer, no matter what it holds. Feel it all, turn it into gold. Share your wealth with the world. We need it. We need you.

And love, for god's sake. Love. Love in all the ways you can: with empathy, in friendship and sisterhood, in nurturing, in mothering.

Let others love you, too. This is harder. But will you let them love you? Care for you? Want you? This is not the same as wanting something from you. It is instead a wanting that can fill you =, if you allow it. Will you allow it?

The days are passing, and there is so much to feel and wonder at, so much and so many to hold and be held by.

The days are passing. Will you live them?

I Want to Write a Poem Just for You

The idea first came as one of showing up in process. A table at our local weekly summer crafts market, selling art and custom poems hand-typed on the spot on a vintage typewriter. A chance happening for market shoppers to be deeply, magically met on their Saturday morning meanderings.

And then I thought -- why not offer this to my online community? Because I believe it will be even more beautifully received when offered right to you, my moon-loving, word-scribbling, intuition-diving fellow humans.

Basically, I want to write a poem for you -- just for you.

A custom, one-of-a-kind, intimate, intuitive gift of love and support from you to you (with me as the middle woman).

➳ So here's how it works: in the "notes to seller" section, share with me a few words/themes/ideas/images that you'd like me to incorporate into a poem for you. Or, if you'd like even more of an adventure, you don't have to share anything with me, but simply trust my intuition and God/fate/[insert your favorite divine guiding principle here] to write the words you need to hear.

➳ You'll received your poem typed via a vintage typewriter on 8.5 x 11" (letter size) paper 100% cotton paper in your choice of ivory or white. Poems are guaranteed to be at least 10 lines long, but may be far longer, depending on your prompts and where the poem takes us.

I can also create a custom poem as a gift for a loved one. In fact, these make deeply powerful and personal presents.

Poems normally take 1-2 weeks to write, and then will be shipped First Class (arrives within 5 days). For speedier shipping, check out the Priority (arrives in 2-3 days) and Express (arrives in 24-48 hours) shipping upgrades. All packages come with tracking numbers.

To view a free sample of Night Cycles, my poetry collection, and get a sense of my writing, please head over HERE.

☽ It would truly be my honor to craft a poem for you and yours! ☾

You in? Order yours HERE!

Self-Portraits, Curiosity, & Blending: An Interview with Ariane Machin of the Conscious Coaching Collective {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

I am so pleased to share this interview with my friend, entrepreneur, therapist, mom, and coaching guru extraordinaire, Ariane Machin. In our fun conversation, we touch on topics ranging from taking selfies as an authentic practice of self-discovery, curiosity as an effective + low-stress way of inviting yourself into new experiences, and how to perfectly balance it all (or not).

Subscribe in iTunes, or listen right here:

Want to see the selfie we took mid-podcast because we really do love selfies? Here you go:

Meet Ariane!

Meet Ariane!

You can connect with Ariane on her website and at the Conscious Coaching Collective.

Are you looking for one-on-one support in following your curiosity and getting into the heart of your creativity? I can help! Sign up for a free 20 minute consultation Soul Coaching call with me and let's explore how we can work together to help you find + be the most authentic and alive version of yourself.

Got creative community? Come hang out with us in the She of the Wild Facebook community, where you can get exclusive access to the video version of this interview, in all its unedited glory. 

You NEED To Pursue Your Creative Goals + Dreams

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson


I've been seeing a similar flavor of creative insecurity has been coming up [again] lately in my creative world, both for myself and for others, such as my Soul Coaching writers and some She of the Wild community members. It's the whole, "Who am I to write/dance/paint/publish/think that other people want to take in my creative work?" thang.

Maybe that sounds familiar? I know it's certainly an inner gremlin that rears its cranky little head for me regularly, especially when I'm in a time of growth, and that I need to work past again and again.

And it's okay that similar themes of resistance rise more than once in our creative lives. I think that life operates in a spiral more than along a straight line, and every time a challenge comes up afresh, we are offered new opportunities to growth more, know deeper, and integrate ourSelves more fully. This is not a bad thing! And in fact it's really quite a good thing, even while it's also kind of sort of really a pain in the butt.

If you've been in the creativity game a little while, you've likely run across the above words from Marianne Williamson as well. And maybe they feel a little trite to you right now, or a bit tired. But what if, just maybe, there's truth in them -- for you? For you now?

Because, as she says, this creativity thing isn't in just some of us; it's in all of us, and it's for all of us. Yes, even yours.

But forget about other people. Think about you, five or ten years from now. Hold two scenarios before you in your mind. In one, you've done your "how dare I think I'm all that to try this thing" thing, and you've failed -- you wrote and published a book, say, and it wasn't read all that much, but you're still pretty proud of it regardless. And in the other scenario, you never even tried.

Now ask yourself: which scenario feels better? The one where you gave it your all, and did your gorgeous creative thing, and expressed what was in your soul to express, in spite of all that felt stacked against you? Or the one where you're still wondering what might have been?

Which would you prefer: to live with the knowledge that you did your best and did yourself proud, no matter how the creative endeavor turned out, and to have reaped the benefit of just hours spent in experience and practice of your art, or to live with the regret of holding you creative dream(s) unexpressed?

I can't tell you which is the better option for you. Only you get to decide that.

But for me, I know that hands down I would rather try and risk and fail than sit in relative comfort and safety paired with regret.

Know, too, that your risk doesn't have to be unchecked. You don't have to bankrupt yourself or move halfway around the world or quit your job or get divorced or anything drastic like that. But some calculated risk? That can go a long way in getting you closer to the creative life you want to be living, not to mention helping you heal from the grumblings of your "Who are you to be awesome?" gremlins.

So why not try? Or take a baby step or two toward trying?

And whenever those frustrating gremlins come to call (again . . . ) asking, "Who are you to do this?" ask yourself: who and how do you want to be in this life, and how will working on your creative goals or not working toward your creative goals help you get there?

And then act accordingly.


If you know that you DO want to pursue your creative goals + dreams, but don't quite know how, or simply need some company while you do so, check out my 6 week writing e-course, She Writes Wild. You'll come away with more know-how, more confidence, more community, and LOTS of words written. Find out more HERE.

How to Be Who You Are {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

Some of our greatest work in this life -- if not the greatest -- is to be who we are. But what does that even mean? And, more importantly, how do we do it? In this episode we discuss all those things and more.

Some of my favorite book resources that I mentioned in the podcast and that can be a real support in your journey to living into your deepest self are:

Subscribe to the She of the Wild podcast in iTunes, or listen right here:

Thank you so much for listening!

Loving the Body You Have is an Act of Revolution {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

What if loving your body -- as is -- could help make this world and your world a better place? I believe that it can, and that it does. In this episode I share three personal experiences that I hope will inspire you + encourage you in your journey to love your whole self.

Subscribe in iTunes, or listen right here:

Like today's episode? I think you might really my upcoming e-course, Embrace Your Sacred Space. In it you will learn ways to love all of who you are and how you are, and how to make space for yourSelf in the life that you have. If you sign up by August 1, you save $50!

Procrastination is a Form of Self-Torture {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

Confession time: I've been letting fear stop me. I let myself get tied up with "shoulds" and fears of what would happen if, when I sat down to write or paint, the results would be less than "good" (whatever "good" even means). And while fear and procrastination are natural (if kind of yucky) parts of the creative life, there are ways to evade their grasp.

In episode 7 we talk about my own particular struggles in this area lately, why procrastination is a form of self-torture in the life of an artist, and how habit is a safe vessel that we can ride through the more murky waters that we all inevitably encounter on our creative journeys.

Subscribe in iTunes, or listen right here:

Come hang with us in the She of the Wild Facebook community + share with us how you move past fear and procrastination.

Like today's episode? I think you might really my upcoming e-course, Embrace Your Sacred Space. If you sign up by August 1, you save $50!

SHE Zine Issue #3 is Here!

SHE Zine Issue #3 is now available, both as a monthly subscription and as individual copies (if you subscribed prior to June 15, your copy is already in the mail -- huzzah!).

I was channeling some pretty powerful fierceness as I created this issue. Prepare yourself for some righteous rage, thoughtful prompts, and space to work your own angst out in.

The words "what I really mean" appear on the cover and, well, that's pretty accurate for what awaits you within this sixteen pages. All images in this blog post are from issue #3.

Ready to nab your own? Head over here. Or if you already have yours, use the tag #SHEzine when sharing related photos/thoughts/quotes/etc. on Instagram and your other favorite social media platforms.

You Are Allowed to Take Up Space {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

Somehow, at some point in our lives, the messages, both implicit and explicit, began to filter in to our awareness: you are too much, too loud, too big, too bossy, too too too . . . And we changed, shifted, so we weren't too anything -- except perhaps too small, too constricted in the soul to live vital, authentic, and vibrant lives.

How do we come back from constriction and start to unfurl our stifled souls once more?

This week's She of the Wild: The Podcast is all about this very topic. Subscribe in iTunes, or listen below:

Like today's episode? I think you might really my upcoming e-course, Embrace Your Sacred Space. Registration is now open, and the course begins August 1, 2016. And! If you sign up before August 1, you save $50! Check it out here.

 

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

I feel lost.

I find myself with more time to myself than I’ve had in years, than I ever dared ask for. I thought I’d be reveling in it, creating So Many Things . . . but instead, I feel lost. Incapacitated.

I don’t know what to do with all this time + space + freedom.

So I am writing to you. Because it’s something I want to do, and need to do, and because it’s familiar and I know how to do this.

This is what I try to do when I don’t know what to do. I go back to what I know that I know.

(Well, I actually first flail around a whole bunch. Because I always forget that I know how to navigate these murky waters. Tell me I’m not alone? 😂)

Okay, so once I’ve panicked and thrown some existential temper tantrums, then I manage to remind myself that I’ve been here before, and made it through, and actually have some tricks up my sleeve.

First, I do something. Anything. It doesn't even matter what it is. If it gets me even marginally closer to achieving a goal, be it a professional or creative or personal goal, then I do it. I eat some chocolate. Then I do the next thing. I keep moving, as steadily as I can, perhaps with great stubbornness. If I do this, then sooner or later my paddling feet brush against sand, and I can stand once again.

As for the what of the Do Something . . . I make sure that I do something that I am already familiar with. Something that I know that I know. So right now, I’m feeling a little mixed up with She of the Wild, so I went back to this love letter. I try to send them out weekly, and have gotten out of it in the past month thanks to some big life changes, so I knew that I both wanted + needed to get back to love-lettering. So I showed up here (hello).

Sometimes, however, it’s harder to remember what I know. For example, when I feel lost in my creative writing, or my painting, it’s very difficult for me to jump back in. I feel terrified, like if I did jump, I’d find out the Very Hard Way that there are sharp rocks lurking just beneath the dark water’s surface.

What then? I step even farther back. So far back that it feels kind of silly, like I’m going back to kindergarten. If I can’t find my way into making A Painting, I retreat to my art journal. If that doesn’t work, I just grab some sheets of scrap paper and a crayon and start making lines, or take to the streets with my kids and some sidewalk chalk.

(Pro tip: kids are excellent for helping you find your creative way. They are so brave, and so unattached to the results of their creativity. If you can borrow a niece or nephew or friend’s kid to paint with for an afternoon, do it.)

I go back to what I know, be it penning Very Good Poems or playing with magnetic poetry on my fridge. Or finger painting. Or making hummus. Or reading to my children. Go back to what you know for sure that you know about anything related to your stuckness, and then do it. And keep doing the next thing (or last thing) that you know.

If you keep moving, you will make it through, and some day [probably] soon, you'll find yourself comfortable in what made you uncomfortable today.

What about you? What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Share in the comments, or come chat with us about it in the She of the Wild community. I always am looking for new tools to add to my resistance-and-fear-fighting toolbox, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Update! I recorded a podcast episode with even more ideas on what to do when you don't know what to do. To listen, check out our podcast page, or search "She of the Wild" in iTunes and then download episode #5, or stream it right here, right now:


Night Cycles, my book of vibrant, soul-nurturing poetry, is on sale. Save $2 on the Kindle edition for a limited time!

Nab your discounted Kindle copy or treat yourSelf to a signed copy HERE.

What readers are saying:

"Holy wow! Easily one of the best purchases I have ever made. I highly recommend you click that buy now button because it is worth every dollar and more. Stunning and enchanting!"

"...these poems will reach into your soul. Read, ponder, be refreshed."

Come grab your discounted copy!

The Radical Exhale (a.k.a. Where I've Been)

So, I disappeared.

I had good reason, though, I promise. Or really reasons. Like: new job, change of address, family shiftings . . . and that's all on top of my preexisting #momlife and teaching dance fitness and all things She of the Wild.

Basically, I got really, really tired from all the new changes. Good changes, but still . . . exhausting ones.

And now? I'm trying to rest. To be gentle with myself. To live in the release of the exhalation rather than the active inhalation.

This is not easy for me (is it easy for any of us, really?). It is not my go-to mode. When things get hard, I tense up, muscle up, and try to bludgeon my way through to relief. Which has worked for me . . . sort of. But the older I get, the less effective it is, and I imagine that will only become more true the more years that I accumulate.

So I'm going rogue, taking the radical way -- I'm loosening my grip, unclenching my jaw, and exhaling. Like, a lot.

Last weekend I slept in more than I have in decades -- or at least, certainly since having children. Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day sitting and listening to the full soundtrack of Hamilton: The Musical (yum) -- but without doing anything else while I listened. I took days off exercise when my body needed it. I went to bed early (although you better believe that I'm staying up tonight to watch the newest episode of Game of Thrones).

I've been letting (read: trying to let) myself exhale, rather than holding my breath until some circumstance shifted toward ease. I choose the ease, as much as I could. Imperfectly, yes, but perfection is not the point.

SO. All this to say -- hi. It's me. I'm back, and trying to go gently while not giving up, which I was sorely tempted to do at times. Instead of running, I'm staying, but breathing, resting, exhaling, being.

How do you cope when it's hard and you just want to sleep through the hardness? I'd love to know. And, um, pick up a few tips. :)

p.s. Although I've been living in the exhale as much as possible, there are still a number of exciting She of the Wild updates I want to share with you. Check out what's been going on . . .

Write Yourself Wholly Alive

The Poetry Is e-course has gotten a significant makeover and is now called Write Yourself Wholly Alive. I feel that this better represents the content of the course, and it's just much yummier. :) Also, the price on the course is going up to $150 this coming week -- but you can still get it for $97 until Tuesday, June 1. If you've been on the fence about enrolling, this is your time. Hurry up and grab it before the new price goes into effect! Learn more and sign up HERE (and also enjoy the first full week of content for free!).

She of the Wild Shirts

Dude, these shirts are so comfy I can't even stand it. I'm practically living in mine (photos coming soon, I swear . . . watch Instagram!). Check out the current She of the Wild shirt HERE, available for just three more days.

 

SHE Zine

Issue two is out and issue three is in the works. You can subscribe or purchase individual issues HERE. And if you want to join in the conversation about the zine as you receive yours, be sure to use the tag #SHEzine on Instagram, Twitter, and your favorite social media platforms.

Holistic Creativity, Journaling, and More

SPECTRUM, the holistic creative journaling course that I'm teaching a part of, has gotten off to a delicious start. My workshop made its debut last week, and the students have created some really amazing work in response. Interested in learning about creative journaling with us? Check out all the details HERE.

A New She of the Wild E-Course

I've got something new brewing. I'm not quite sure what to call it (and this title? it's history as soon as I can figure out this new offering's true name). But I do know that it's going to be about developing artful rituals that are simple to access + fit in to our daily lives. When I think about this e-course, I think of quiet, of sacred space. Does that sound intriguing to you? Read more about it HERE, and then let me know in the comments what you think.

The She of the Wild Community

The members of the She of the Wild community on Facebook have been producing AMAZING work in #SheWritesPoetry2016, our year-long writing challenge. Want to be a part of it? It's free! Find all the details HERE.

Whew! That's about it . . . although I do have an exciting announcement coming this week. Tell me what have you been up to? I'd love to know!

How to Make Prints of Your Art -- On a Budget

I get asked two questions ALL. THE. TIME. One of them is how I author published my books. The other is how I make prints of my art.  Today I'd like to [ f i n a l l y ] answer the latter.

Okay. So. You've got some art. You want to make it available in print form. But how? And how to do it without breaking the bank?

First you need to obtain a high quality image of your original piece.

Some artists have their pieces professionally scanned, and others take high quality photographs of their originals. I find the former pricey, and the latter unreliable, so I take a third path -- I scan my pieces myself.

When I first started selling prints of my art, I used a Canon printer/scanner combo inkjet thinger (an older generation of something like this). It served me well for a year or two, in spite of being finnicky and s l o w.

Then I created a mixed media painting that incorporated fluorescent orange paint. When I scanned the original, the scanned image was gray in the places where it should have been orange. After a bit of research, I learned that not all standard scanners are able to pick up fluorescent colors.

I decided to purchase a new scanner. After digging around on the internets, I landed on this Epson Perfection v600 scanner. A couple years later, I'm still using this scanner, and am very pleased with it. It's fast, produces a great quality image, and is easily compatible with all of the computers I've hooked it up to.

Yes, the Epson scanner is twice as expensive as the Canon, and it does not print or copy. But it does what I need it to do, and does it well and quickly. If you already have something like the Canon, I'd stick with that until you find yourself needing an upgrade . . . but if you're choosing between the two and don't need a printer, then I'd say go with the Epson.

Next, you need a way of producing your prints.

When I first started out, I produced my own prints. I made them using the aforementioned Canon inkjet printer/scanner thingamabob, printed on a cardstock-esque paper.

This resulted in endless frustration, not to mention wasted supplies and money. I didn't have the money to buy really nice paper to print on, and I often had to print an image two or three times to get the quality and colors right, which is expensive when you're using an ink-guzzler -- er, I meant inkjet printer.

So I decided to outsource my print-making. I asked around about local printers, but they all wanted to print bulk orders, and I couldn't afford that and wanted to print-on-demand. Searching online, I went with RedBubble.

RedBubble makes really high quality products. They are fantastic. But the profit for the artist is really, really tiny. I'd recommend RedBubble only if you don't care if you make money, or if you have SO many customers that the few dollars you make off each print really add up.

I do lovehow RedBubble offers cards, which come cello-wrapped with an envelope and can be offered in singles and in bulk. However, I disliked how the link printed on the back of the cards is for your RedBubble shop and cannot be customized (which makes sense for them -- I just don't like it). I'm still looking for a way to produce high quality cards without spending an arm and a leg, so if you know of a way, please let me know!

From RedBubble, I flirted with Fine Art America before moving my print-making business to iPrintfromHome, which I continue to use to this day. They offer high quality prints on a variety of surfaces, including fine art paper, and print with a white border, AND drop-ship to your clients. Which means that when someone purchases a print from my shop, I can order said print through iPrintfromHome's website, and they not only manufacture a wonderful print, but also ship it. I never even have to touch it, which makes this busy stay-at-home mama very, very happy. And I've had customers say, upon receiving their prints, that my shipping packaging is the best they've ever seen. I agree!

I also use iPrintfromHome to bulk order prints to take with me to craft fairs, or to accompany my work at art shows. Again, the quality of the prints is always fantastic, and the shipping conditions perhaps even more so -- and you save money on larger orders.

I do wish that iPrintfromHome would offer matting/cello-wrapping of their prints, as well as cards. Also, they don't ship internationally, so if I get an order from a customer outside of the US or Canada, I have to have the print shipped to me, and then I re-ship it to the customer, which is a pain. But those are really the only bad things I can say about IPFH.

Also, a fun thing about IPFH is that you are very aware in the best of ways that your prints are being produced by fellow humans. They're fun to interact with on Twitter, their customer service is fast and satisfying, and they even send you a little card every year on the anniversary of when you created your IPFH account. I love this about them.

There are definitely other ways to produce prints of your art. But this is what works for me and my budget, with my desire to be as in-control of my work and its production as humanly possible.

And I really think that this is the key with print production -- you need to do it in a way that's affordable and sustainable for you.

If your methods are overwhelming or overly expensive, you're probably not going to produce very many prints. Which is also okay (for example, one of my favorite artists, Micki Wilde, doesn't sell any prints, only original paintings), but again -- you get to decide. You don't have to do what everybody else is doing, or says you should, or is what "real artists" (whatever that means) do. You decide, and then own and enjoy it.

If you're an artist, how to you produce your prints? Do you have any recommendations? I'd love if you could share any advice you might have in the comments. And if you're don't make prints of your art and want to, are there any questions you have that I've left unanswered? Share them in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I love. Thanks for supporting indie authors + artists!

Letting Go, Lightening Up

I have a really hard time keep my life + living spaces clear and not-cluttered. No matter how hard I try, it seems as if within seconds of cleaning up, things begin to immediately migrate back to those cleared off spaces.

It doesn't help that I also have a hard time letting go of things. When I try to minimize my possessions, I find myself agonizing over every little thing. What if I need it someday? What if I'm sad that it's gone?

It's kind of incapacitating, and more than a little frustrating.

Recently, however, I had a bit of an epiphany. See, my family and I, we're moving into a different house soon. So everything that we own? We're going to have to pack it up and move it with us.

And then I realized, while looking at some random little thing: I don't want to take all of this with us. With me.

Suddenly, I find myself freed up to make more gutsy decisions. Now the question is not What if I need that lap desk that I've pretty much never used? or What if I'm sad that I throw away Christmas cards we were sent 3 years ago?

Now it's Do I need or care about this thing enough to pack it up, haul it across town, and unpack it in our new-to-us abode?

The answer is, to my surprise + delight, almost exclusively no.

And it feels amazing. Freeing. Like the hills are alive with the sound of music (okay, I know that sounds cheesy, but it really does feel as good as that).

I shared this with a friend of mine. Nodding, she said, "All that stuff? It's been an anchor, holding you down, and now you're pulling it up and setting sail."

I love that metaphor. For too long I've viewed my things as assets, as comforts. And while some of them certainly are, a lot of them are not. Instead, they've been weighing me down, holding me back.

Releasing them, whether through donation or consignment or giving them away, feels light. It feels generously rash. I love it.

Anchors aweigh.

Holistic Creative Circle: An Interview with Hali Karla

Recently I had the fantastic opportunity to be interviewed by the amazing Hali Karla, who is the mastermind behind the fantastic holistic creativity class, SPECTRUM (which I also am delighted to be a part of).

In our conversation, I share about a time when creativity was a catalyst for healing, and we also talk about balancing the tough stuff with the ability to soften in our day-to-day. Dance may also have come up. ;) You can watch the interview here:

Thanks for checking it out! If you're interested in learning more about SPECTRUM, you can do so HERE.

 

 

Retreat as Forward Motion

Have you noticed that it's been pretty quiet in my corner of the internet lately? At first it was because of various plagues sweeping through my house (ugh), but then health returned to myself and my family . . . but the silence remained.

I want to grow SHE OF THE WILD to reach more of the women who may need what I'm offering, to help people break out of whatever is holding them back, to empower as many people as possible to live full, wild, and creatively vibrant lives. So I've been pushing myself since the fall to expand as well as go deeper, to provide rich content and courses and words. I've even been learning about business practices, which is so not in my natural zone of talent or interest. I know -- whoa. ;)

Hell, I even hired a business coach, something I never thought I'd do. And yet, a month or so back, I put out a desperate call for help in my Facebook groups, and one particular (amazing, sensitive, intuitive) coach stood out from the rest, and I hired her, and I'm basically in love with her.

And yet . . . I find myself pulling back. Even though I hired this coach's help to propel me forward, to clarify what my next steps are with SHE OF THE WILD, to be a steady hand reached into my confusing and -- let's be honest -- somewhat manic flailings.

I'm reading more. Like, actual books, held in my hands, with covers and pages and paper and the whole deal. I've been going to bed earlier (thank goodness, says my body and my mind), and trying to slow down in my day-to-day life to get down on the floor and really look my kids in the eye. I'm clearing clutter from my home. I even cleaned the bathroom (I know).

When I first started to realize what was happening, I was pretty frustrated. I mean, I hired a coach, for crying out loud. Was I going to waste my time with her when we should be working on my Next Thing?

And then it hit me:

This pulling back? It is the work.

For now, I need to slow down, reassess, and clear the unnecessary. I need to play with my kids more, read more, live more.

I feel like I'm gestating. Like I'm a seed in the dark and cozy earth. I am quietly gathering nourishment and strength and inspiration for the day that my shoots are ready to peek at the sunlight, new and green and exquisitely mortal.

This work-that-is-not-work (but still really sort of is work) will only pay off in my future creative endeavors. As Julia Cameron puts it in The Artist's Way, I am (re)filling my well, restoring my juices, so that soon I can burst forth with poems and art and words once more.

Does this sound familiar, or frustrating? Share with us in the comments. Let's help remind each other that resting and nurturing our beautiful, creative selves is not only good, but necessary.

 

*This post contains an affiliate link. Thanks for supporting independent authors + artists!