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New Website!

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I wasn’t really expecting to create a new website but I realised last week that I did sort of need one for what I am doing at the moment. Everything I had was too specific, so now I have a general website full of words and pictures. It’s titled ‘Words and Pictures‘ just like my old site. It’s snuggled on a WordPress blog (like this one) and my vclinde.co.uk domain redirects there too.

You can have a look at my poetry and see some examples of my writing as well as publications/competitions, there are examples of my playscripts, some info about my writing, a bio page that is finally a little clearer (probably saying a little something about me, no?), all of my cookbook reviews,  and lots of links. The blog link brings you back here and this will remain my real blog, the blogs over there are largely pictures and fun things I like on Tumblr/Pinterest etc. which will hopefully keep the front page interesting.

This is partly me getting organised ready to announce my next big poetry project. I have had a full year without a project since the end of the Three Random Words collection but this one should be just as much fun and I’m hoping to get lots and lots of people involved again. The announcement about the project will come at 11am on January 11th and then facebook, twitter, and both websites will be full of news, updates and ways to get involved so please do keep your eyes out for it! I am very excited about this and cannot wait to share it with everyone.

Vick.

This Week

This week I’ve been trying to get back to a more regular schedule. I’ve finally started reading again with ‘Half Blood Blues’ by Esi Edugyan which I’m really enjoying so far. I’ve been thinking about my perfect dinner guests and have far too many so need to cut it down a little to fit around one table.

At the same time I have been working on a new line on Etsy based around my poetry. I’ll be putting the updates for that up on my Etsy FB page so that’s the one to keep an eye on if you’re interested in new poetry. I’ve posted about my entry to the New York Times’ competition on Found Poetry that I wrote about the death of Walt Whitman. I spent a good portion of Saturday going through all of the poetry that I have written and sorting out which I want to work on, which I am happy with and which are too bad to save!

I’ve reviewed the wonderful ‘Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking’ by Andoni Luis Aduriz over on the Huffington Post UK Blog. I’ve got some other cookbook reviews up my sleeve as well, there are lots of great new books out at the moment and I’m working through several of them this weekend.

I’m going on holiday for a couple of days next week and am keeping my fingers crossed for good weather so I can take some photographs as well. If you want some beautiful art to look at I have posted a series of art links over on my business site.

Hope everyone is having a happy, sunny weekend.
Vick.

This Week

This week I started Kaz Mahoney’s SpringKazNo where I am going to attempt to write five poems each week. Yesterday I took the whole day off work and did very little other than write poetry and managed seven in one day so I have a total of nine for this week. It’s a good start but I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it going!

I have read the first in a different series by Kate Ellis called ‘Seeking The Dead’, it was great and I liked how different it was from the Wesley Petersen series. I read a between-the-numbers Janet Evanovich novel called ‘Plum Spooky’, which was good but I didn’t enjoy as much as the ones in her series. I read the first Nicola Upson novel in her Josephine Tey series called ‘An Expert in Murder’ – I love Tey’s books and really did like this, I’ll be getting the second one as well, the twists were a bit contorted but the characters made up for it. I finally got around to reading a Clive Cussler and read ‘Pacific Vortex’ which is the first chronologically in the Dirk Pitt series. It’s exactly what I expected, with all the best and worst parts of thriller adventure writing but it was really well paced and set up the characters for the rest of the (very extensive) series. I’m so far behind on these ones that it’s actually proving quite hard to find them!

I reviewed ‘My Kind of Cooking’ by Mark Sargeant on the Huffington Post UK blog. I also created a complete list of all of the cookbook reviews that I have written since I started and that is now a static page on here.

My cousin has very kindly managed to ruin my productivity by letting me know about Stratocam. It’s deeply addictive if you like either photography or geography. I’ve already spent an hour on there.

The rest of today will be spent catching up on work, writing lots of emails, doing some marketing and answering emails. As long as I can stay away from the pretty pictures…

Vick.

Flickr

Now that I am not actively selling my arts and crafts items there is not a lot of use for the Flickr account I have attached to this website (and email etc.) but I don’t want to delete everything just yet in case I need the pictures to show people.

I do however have another Flickr account that is attached to my business and I thought I would flag it up in case people want to have a look at the better photographs that I take. There aren’t a lot on there at the moment but a few to have a look through.

Jackdaw 19 Flickr Account

Vick.

Jackdaw 19

Having promised to write a post about my business for months now I am finally getting it done.

The business is called Jackdaw 19 and is as hard to define as I am. I recently had a mini-rant about how awful it is summarising yourself in just a few short sentences. My business works the same way. I do not have a standard day job, never actually have, and trying to explain to people that I am a PA and a social media advisor, a web services gal on top of all of things I do without ever hoping to make money for them is a headache.

I left university in 2008 and have been self-employed ever since. It seemed like the smart option as I had no idea what to do, in hindsight it was a really bad time to try doing that. Buying a house in London and trying to work for myself just before both job and housing markets went (searches for polite word…) wonky was not smart. It harmed my sanity and my bank balance.

Moving out of London gave me a slight shift which was about the time I started to think about selling my collages and handmade jewellery. Not the best time to be trying to sell handmade arty products but I enjoyed what I was doing and on top of my previous PA experience I learnt a huge amount about online marketing, sales and social media. I ran an online shop, a website, a blog and helped fellow Etsy sellers with theirs as well. After a year of trying really, very hard to make it work I decided to stop. I had promised myself a year to try and see if the crafty side of me was financially viable and it wasn’t, more importantly I had budgeted for a year.

It came to that wonderful (read: horrible) point where I knew I needed something new. A new job, something to work towards, something I was already good at but could get better at. There were a long list of things it needed to be.
I wanted to stay self-employed (the reasons are too personal to share but very real)
I wanted to work with a variety of tasks, not doing the same each day
I didn’t want to be fixed in one place
I still wanted to be in some way connected to other creative people
This all came to a head over the course of a couple of weeks last September when I spoke to several people and had almost identical conversations. I wanted to keep promoting and working with creative sales online but not for my own products.

The PA side of things comes very naturally to me. I am disgustingly organised, I enjoy filing, I colour-code. The worst part is that I’ve always done this for other people too, it’s really amazing my friends haven’t hurt me. The website design (if we can call it that) came as a side effect of looking at a lot of crafting websites, these tend to fall into two categories – excellent but expensive and maintained by an individual/company that need to be kept on the books or alternatively less-excellent and cheap to run.

What I really wanted to do was to help people set up easily manageable websites that they could maintain themselves. I am pretty familiar with basic web design and for the business I am using WordPress and DreamHost which makes it possible for me to get really good at using those whilst still giving clients a huge range of options to choose from in terms of design and layout. I also wanted to make it very clear that I am not offering full website creation or design from scratch. I have many, many talented friends who do this and I would never suggest that I am doing that level of design. What I am doing is creating another option for people who don’t yet have the money to pay for a full website creation.

The dilemma is always that you need to make money so you can afford to promote your business but you need to promote your business to be able to make that money. Jackdaw 19 offers a professional looking website, sets up the hosting, does all of the design and inputs content and then hands the reigns back to the client. It is a one off fee for a personal design to get people started without worrying about maintenance fees building up. I am looking to fill a very particular niche in the market.

The social media aspect fits perfectly into this. There are now a large majority of artists, writers, crafters and other creative individuals who are being told they need a good website, a blog, Facebook page and Twitter to keep up with their competition when they have never done any of these before. Both the social media advice and the website design are aimed to be easy enough to suit people who have no experience at all. I hope she won’t mind me saying but my test-point is my mother; if I explain it to her and she understands then I know it’s okay! With a few basic lessons, some ground-rules and pointers to start off with everyone should be able to promote their business online.

So that is what I am doing work wise at the moment. I am working on a rather extensive marketing plan at the moment, which is something I’ve done before and actually enjoy – you learn a lot each time you do it. I’m also continuing to read everything new on social media and playing with a new design every couple of days to make sure I have as many options as possible to show people. (Also I’ve been building up a stock of images for banners etc. hence all of the pictures in here!)

A little late in posting about it over here but I have been busy…

Vick.

p.s. I swore I would write and post this today as I have been meaning to do it for months but I have headache threatening to turn into a migraine and even though I have read through many times there may be a few silly errors. Forgive me, and please send chocolate and painkillers!