Thursday, September 27, 2012

Campaign Notes

I just completed an IndieGoGo campaign, raising funds for my small business. I want to let people know how it went and thank the wonderful folks who donated to it. 

It was great fun putting together a video but a little more difficult writing out an explanation of my objective. First, I struggled with whether to tell people that I’m unemployed and having problems getting enough funds together to cover the basic costs. In the end, I didn’t reveal that fact.

Secondly, besides my dream to be able to support myself on writing and creating things for the Etsy shop I just started, I have a true desire to support and inspire people who are struggling with their dreams. Additionally, I think it’s terribly important to safeguard and encourage the aspirations of children. Anything adults can do to help them believe in themselves is sacrosanct, in my opinion. But communicating that belief in a compelling way isn’t easy. I could almost hear readers saying, “Yeah, yeah, another treehugger wanting to keep the kids dreaming. What’s new?”

But I did the best I could and launched the campaign. The first day, I was blown away by very generous donations from Rob Guthrie and Cinta Garcia, fellow writers.  Over the fifteen days of the campaign, other writers followed: Emma Calin, Elise Stokes, Cathy Carson and Ronald Dahle.  Then came donations from Twitter friends, Melissa Tackett and Frankie Engelbert. Two very close personal friends, Valentine and Sandy, helped me out in a big way.  These wonderful people all contributed within the bounds of the campaign.  Thank you is not enough, but still thanks to you all with all my heart.

Outside of the campaign, a follower of my Twitter entity Red Mojo Mama, @Uberbookworm sent me a Amazon gift card to begin with and followed that up with an offer to pay for 6 dolls to be made and given to Sacramento Children’s Home. This was the crème de la crème of the whole experience. Besides the great financial help it was, it truly made my closely-held dream come true. I want my Etsy shop and the blog that goes with it to benefit others. Here I’ve been given the opportunity to make something that will hopefully will give a little happiness to six children.  I cannot express my gratitude adequately for this particular gift. In fact, I have trouble holding the emotions back as I write about this. 

I started with a goal of $950, which would encompass beginning a trademark process and chose the flexible funding option (which allows you to receive whatever’s raised, with the percentage being larger if you do meet your goal).  In the end, I received $415 through the campaign and $100 outside it, plus a large commission for the dolls. I was able to buy a printer, order labels, buy materials for the products, shipping supplies, organizational tools, packaging. The commission has allowed me to order a camera as well, which I really, really need.

So, at the end of the day, I would recommend giving IndieGoGo a try if you have no other means of raising desperately needed funds.  It’s been a fabulous experience for me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Grief Bites

Just about the time you think you’re fine and you can move on, another wave of grief washes over you and you must try to stand up again. I think of it exactly like that – picturing in my mind a small child that has no idea that the wave approaching on the beach is going to knock her down, tumbling her until it deposits her on the sand above, hopefully. There’s always the chance that the defenseless toddler will be swept out to sea. The same possibility exists for grownups when faced with the sorrow of losing someone or something.

I lost my father in July, which I’ve talked about a couple of times since and some may be getting a little tired of hearing about it. However, my reason for writing this is to help others who find themselves on the wrong side of loss. You see, my most painful periods of anguish have come to me in the loss of my husband, my father and my business. I’m sure some of you are shocked that my business would rate up there with two of the most important people in my life, but loss is loss. The process is the same. And sometimes it has a cumulative effect.

For instance, when I fell apart after losing my small business, a great deal of that reaction was because it happened just a few years after the love of my life passed away.  All the pain of the first bereavement came back full force as my business had been intended for me to move on; to have a new passion in my life.

Here’s what a very close friend told me at the time of my husband’s death – “Give yourself time to heal.” Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But I resisted the advice thinking to myself, “Get over it already.” Now I sense the disturbance in members of my family that they are having a tough time recovering and for years have been listening to others beat themselves up over their paralysis in the face of misfortune. 

I think we live in a society that so dislikes pain that we will avoid facing it at all costs; but in reality, wouldn’t it be absolutely awful if we DID just get over it? I mean, 16 years of marriage (in my case) and 62 years (in my mother’s case) to be forgotten in a month? Hmmm… Or all the hopes, dreams, financial and time investment in a new venture to simply become history in the snap of a finger? No, no… that’s not the right way, not the sensible way and definitely not the human way.

I think my friend was absolutely right. Give yourself enough time to heal. I’m not saying we should wallow in our grief, because it truly does bite if nothing else, but instead be kind to yourself.  Let the process be natural. Don’t force moving on. Give the past and loved ones their due. And when you are truly ready, step into the future, carrying wonderful memories in your heart. 

Thank you, Geri, for those kind words all those years ago.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My IndieGoGo "Dream" Campaign

I have been following my writing dream full-steam-ahead for the past year and recently decided I needed to expand my creativity – both for my artistic being and my need to pursue something that I felt would benefit the world, too.  I started an Etsy shop and began making items aimed at preserving dreams. 
It’s an all-out battle sometimes against those who would steal our dreams through negativity and life circumstances. Dreamers need all the help they can get.  My most closely held dream for this project is to be able to begin offering Twins – a set of two dolls, where the purchasers gets one and an under-privileged child gets the other. I’m already contacting agencies about these dolls. 
My needs are not that great. I need a new inkjet printer, a better camera, materials for the dolls (some for experimenting on the next best product), professional looking labels and packaging for the dream products I make. So, I’m launching an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign today. If you do nothing else, please watch my video – I’m exceedingly proud of it.
The perks I’m offering range from eBooks from my writing career – Red Mojo Mama, Red is an Attitude, The Great Twitter Adventure, etc. – to dream pillows, kindle covers and best of all – the dolls. If I’m not able to reach my entire goal, whatever I do receive will go first towards making some of the Twin Dolls and then towards a printer and labels. 
Your contribution will help me personally, but more importantly; this isn’t just a fly-by-night endeavor. I’m hoping to extend this dream awareness and preservation beyond this simple project and on to other avenues. I plan to devote a part of my life to helping others seeing their dreams come true. I’m not sure what forms this will take at present because I’m “sleeping” on it.
If you can’t contribute, I completely understand. If you’d still like to help, please tweet or email those you think might like to make a contribution. I thank you for taking the time to read this and watch the video.

Dream on!

Friday, September 7, 2012

When Twitter was Titillating

Six months ago I was still “working for the Man” and my weekday Twittering was restricted to before and after work, morning and afternoon breaks, and my lunch hour.  Oh, what sweet deviation when I could sneak a quick peek while the money-makers were deeply involved in strategizing the doom of competitors or some such thing. Red was there looking over my shoulder the whole time, and it gave us good reason to remember over a couple of Bloody Marys.

Red: Don’t get me wrong. I still love Twitter, but back then it was so naughty. 

Kathy: What do you mean naughty? 

Red: Well, everyone around you thought you were a bit crazy to love Twitter so much…and then there was Russell Blake and his crazy rants!

Kathy: Ah, those were the good old days. Yes, I remember. I’d log on to Twitter for my fifteen-minute “coffee” break and there’d be Russell tweeting silly nonsensical stuff, always hilarious and verging on obscene half the time then BING! My time would be up, but I’d manage to slip in what I thought was a hilarious retort if I could before returning to work.

Red: (chuckling) I remember. I had a little crush on that pirate! Hey, remember that time that little snot-nosed frat boy called you rude?!

Kathy: (full-bodied belly-laughing now) Yeah! That was at work too. I spent my whole lunch break telling him off and then unfollowed the little twerp!

Red: So, now you can tweet any time you want. What’s changed?

Kathy: Exactly that! I can do it anytime I want – so it’s not forbidden fruit anymore. Also, most of my friends, family and acquaintances have gotten used to me being the renegade girl, the one who Twitters (and at my age, too!). So, there’s no bad girl quality to it anymore. Twitter is now so respectable. I mean everyone does it.

Red: I suppose but not everyone does it like you do.

Kathy: Huh? What do you mean?

Red: You know! You really like your tweeps and it’s more than just promoting your books and stuff.

Kathy: Well, honestly, I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever known on Twitter. Some of them will do anything they can to help and actually ask if I’m okay when I’m gone for a while or feeling a little down. I’ve had co-workers that didn’t notice when I was woozy from a 104 degree temperature!

Red: I agree. You’ve got some great pals on Twitter. Both of us do! That Dannie Hill! And what about Elise Stokes? And Leti? Then there’s Melissa Tackett. Bert and Christina. Too many to list here.

Kathy: Yep, but we can send them all a virtual Bloody Mary (lifting my glass)! Here’s to the best of the best – you know who you are!

Red: (drinking her salute) To Twitter - fun, friends and frivolity!

We both swigged our drinks, laughed a little too much then started in on our second one and a conversation about men that is completely unprintable here.