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Boot Camp Begins!

Boot camp.  It’s a concept we’re likely all familiar with…  but what do you think of when you hear it?  Probably the army or even fitness nuts, neither of which you’d find me anywhere near.  But Shauntelle’s sleaze-free self-promotion boot camps for creative types?  Yep.  That’s right up my alley.

Okay, so the timing could be better.  Between puppies, moving house, Halloween costumes, and my photography, I’ve got a lot on my plate.  As an involved parent I’ve always got a lot on the go.  It’s just (as my 18 year old sister would say) how I roll.  After all, when it comes to putting ourselves first, let’s admit it, there’ll always be reasons why we don’t have time.  So, I figure, it’s high time I MAKE time.

My photography is my work, my “day job”, and I’m very lucky that my business is something I’m so passionate about.  There are a lot of things I do (as you are all well aware), but I really do need to get better at this whole self-promotion thing.  Let’s face it.  It’s not fun.  And while I’m totally awesome – I really am.  LOL  I really am a fabulous photographer…  my work is unique, the experience I give my clients is superb, and I have a vision that is unparallelled in the market today.  I know it, and people who have worked with me know it, but I need to get over the sleazy feeling involved with self-promoting if others are going to realize it too.  That’s where Shauntelle’s boot camp comes in.

I need to learn how to better promote my work and my professional identity.  Her boot camp is designed to help me do just that.  To get over that near-prostitution feel of writing an “all about me” blurb, to know where to put my efforts, and how to get the most out of said efforts.  It’s not easy making your way through life as a professional creative – of any type.  What we really are selling is ourselves, and that doesn’t always feel great.  Seriously, if I could take the promotional end out of the photography, I’d be a happy camper.  But I can’t.  You can’t run a business without promoting it.  So that’s what led me up to today.

Wish me luck.  My first assignment is part way done, and due tomorrow afternoon.  Here’s to feeling sleaze-free while learning to promote myself and my photography!

 

 

Check out Shauntelle’s “Sleaze-Free” boot camps at:  http://sleazefreepromotions.com/you-me-4-weeks-action/

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A2Z – Expression

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Expression

 

Okay…  today I’m going to again share my gingerbread cookie drawing.  The one I did to accompany my session at Breaking the Silence.  I think it explains the basics of Expression, Gender, Assigned Sex, Sex, Sexual Desire, and Affection rather well.  After all, that’s the entire reason I created it.

the ginderbread illustration by Tobi-Dawne Smith

So…  at it’s most basic?  Expression is “all this” – and if you could see me you’d see me waving my hands and fingers over my entire body from my head to my toes and everywhere in between.  It doesn’t exactly translate the same way to a blog post as it does when I do it in person.  😉  Your outward expression of gender doesn’t have to match your assigned sex, your actual sex, or any particular gender.  It just just how you feel like presenting yourself at any given time – and there is no wrong way to express yourself.

I have to be honest.  I’m kinda glad we’re on “E” with this challenge.  Sure, my blog posts have been really fast and easy to write since the challenge started.  I find this type of thing really easy to talk about.  It helps that I talk about it with such a range of people on a day to day basis.  From toddlers to teachers, I talk about orientation a lot and in a lot of different ways.  So writing about it comes fast and easy.  But I miss the challenge that comes from writing about myself and following the whim of my muse.

It really is a far greater challenge to share about important parts of my day, and how those things led to moments of self discovery or laughter.  Sure, it means I end up with the occasional “sorry for being so boring today” post.  But generally, it’s a very satisfying part of my day.  It allows me time to put everything into perspective.  It is time for me to reflect on the days joy or frustrations.

Expression.

That’s really what this blog is all about.  It’s about my expression of self.  What I feel, who I am, what’s important to me on any given day.  And this challenge, to a degree, has robbed me of that.  It’s a good thing this is such an important topic or I’d be likely to scrap the whole darn thing at this point.  😉

Expression.

It is an exceedingly important part of who we are.  Without it?  (get ready for the exceptionally geeky reference dead ahead)  We might as well be assimilated by the Borg.  Taken into the collective, sharing a mind…

Expression.

It’s easy to think of it as the least of the parts that makes up our orientation, but when it is robbed from you?  It’s easy to see it as potentially the most important.  Without it, we are but shades of ourselves…  lost, and without the will to communicate.

So value your ability to express yourself, through the way you look, the things you do, how you interact with others…  Express yourself freely and without regret.  BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE!  Be the very best you, you know how to be, and inspire others to do the same.

 

banner for the a to z challenge

Photograph, Design, Organize.

Today my head has been filled with design.  I’m preparing to open my shop, and I’m frantically working to get everything ready.  Yesterday I finished up a Spring themed mini-kit.  Today I started a full sized kit all about the chicken pox…  I really do enjoy designing.  Well…  the designing part of it anyway.

I’m sure it’s a sentiment felt by many creative types who also run a business.  The creative side of things fuels us, keeps us going in so many ways.  The business side of things is simply a necessary evil.  That’s how I feel about the organizational side of design.

Creating elements, creating papers, designing overlays, and custom products…  it’s all a fabulously zen thing for me.  Photography gets me revved up, designing relaxes me – two sides of the creative coin.  But organizing my product so it’s ready to sell?  Ugh.  I wish I could hand that end of it over to someone else.  It takes me far longer than it should simply because I don’t enjoy it – and I end up putting it off and then have several products that all need work at the same time.  LOL  I won’t complain too loudly though.  I’m pretty blessed to be able to do what I do.

Strawberry Scraps - my design business

So watch for me soon.  I’ll be setting up shop at the Plum.  Opening day will soon be upon us.  🙂

Today’s Joy

Wanna know where I found today’s joy?  It was in something unexpected, that I’ll admit started out as a chore.

I host scrapbooking challenges at both PDP and ESS, and I normally love creating things for them.  But the date kinda snuck up on me, and this afternoon I suddenly realized that I needed to have a wordart piece finished, uploaded, a layout built around it, and all of it posted by tomorrow.  ACK!  That’s more stress than fun.  And seeing how my focus is “personal joy”, stress is rather contrary to that in most every possible way.

With this stress hanging over my head I began looking through my photographs hoping for some inspiration to strike.  I find it nearly impossible to create anything worthwhile when it’s forced.  Muse is essential for me in the creative process.

Stumbling upon a series of images I took at the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo back in September, everything started rolling.  And soon I had created, not only a wordart, but an ENTIRE mini-kit.  Even better?  This mini-kit (unlike my first kit) is almost completely created using original elements.  Items created from scratch, by me.  Only a button and a bow were designed using CU products from other designers.  Not too shabby for my second kit.

I have to admit, I’m super excited about this one.  I really do think it’s beautiful.

With my first kit I had a lot of trepidation, and I was concerned about whether anyone would like it, download it, or use it.  This time?  I KNOW it’s a good kit.  I’m very proud of it…  and it all centers around my photography.  This kit was created with heart.  I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can share it with the world.  Until then?  We have to make due with one of the photos that inspired the kit.

Sika Deer

Quilt Making

For me, any creative endeavor is a stress release.  It’s always been that way.  And lately, I’ve really needed a release.

Had four paragraphs written here…  LOL  But you don’t REALLY need to know all the boring details, so I deleted them.

I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I need some ME time.  End of story.

So today I baked, I did laundry (which I actually don’t mind doing…  it can be a rather Zen activity), and I worked on a quilt.

I forgot about all the things that really NEED my attention, and just did things for me and for Lily-Ann.  The rest will all still be there tomorrow.  I may be a little more stressed for not having done the work that I likely SHOULD have been doing…  but I needed, more than anything, to do a little something for me and the wee girlie.  So that’s what I did.

my old Singer sewing machine, a few pins in a tomato pin cushion, a pair of scissors, and a piece of the quilt I'm working on.

Quilt Making

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