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What’s up with NJFM?

I’m changing things around here again. I’m going for the simple, no frills version of NJFM. I don’t think the change will make much of a difference for my flow of traffic because traffic to NJFM is a mere trickle.

Why the Blog Change?

I’ve changed. While I still write often (off line), I don’t do much writing for money. 99% of my writing is for personal enjoyment and 1% for money. As such, my monthly residual income could barely pay for a nice dinner out with the family.

When the online writing arena changed I realized I didn’t want to change with it. Google is too unpredictable and I’m not a social networker. Not only that, I was getting tired of spending so much time in front of a computer screen.

What Should I Do?

When my income plummeted I had to figure out what to do to earn money. As usual, I applied for a part-time job. The job, while enjoyable, wasn’t for me. I liked what I was doing but I wanted to do it when I wanted to do it, not when they scheduled me to do it.

I’m an exemplary employee. I make sure to do my job well and provide the best customer service I know how to provide. Chatting with customers all day was lots of fun, but the pay was low and the hours, well, let’s say I don’t like folks scheduling my time.

Soul Searching

It’s amazing how a dead-end job does much to get the creative juices flowing. I did a lot of self evaluating. I took stock of my life, my hobbies, my gifts, talents and abilities. I couldn’t help but think of Socrates, “Know thyself,” and “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Next, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote a list of requirements for my perfect job/career. On that sheet of paper were 17 attributes, After reviewing the paper I had a better idea of what I wanted. Once I knew what I wanted, the only thing left was the task of making it happen.

What Am I Doing Now?

I’m upcycling furniture. I find old treasures and give them a second life. Being the tree hugger that I am I make sure to use non-toxic milk paint on all of my furniture. If not milk paint I use substances like environmentally friendly pure tung oil and burnishing paste. I use non-toxic Soy Gel for stripping paint.

Armed with my environmentally friendly arsenal, I go around looking for quality furniture (usually very old furniture) that needs a second chance. Sometimes I’ve got to rebuild portions of it (I love power tools) and other times not. Some pieces are painted while others are stained and oiled. When I’m done I either sell or keep the pieces.

A Different Turn

NJFM is taking a different turn. My posts will have little to do with writing and more to do with earning a living as a person who upcycles furniture. The one thing the old NJFM and the new NJFM have in common is the realization that I was not created to work a traditional job. So, the blog title No Job for Mom is still relevant.

I don’t expect to write here as frequently as I had in the past, but I believe I’ll write more frequently than once every 6 or 7 months. All old posts remain on the blog under the Writing Stuff tab. Much of the information is outdated, but there are some things that never change, so I left it all on the site.

I changed the interface because the old one was giving me a headache. It was way too busy and confusing. I’m finding that simple is better, so here’s a simple blog interface. I might spruce it up a bit as I go along, but for now this works for me.

In a nutshell, that’s what’s happening with me. What are you guys up to?

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Sakura August 8, 2014, 4:06 am

    Hello! So good to hear from you again. I am glad that you found something to do that taps into your creative side. Your writing was all about providing value creatively, and it sounds like upcycling furniture is much the same. Only with power tools. Gotta have power tools!

    It’ll be interesting to learn about upcycling furniture. However, if you’re going to blog about your experiences with it, I do recommend creating a new website for it that’s appropriately named and posting your stuff there. Then, share your posts on Pinterest. Pinterest is THE place to share eco-friendly crafty furniture projects. 😀

    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 7:07 am

      Hi Sakura,

      It’s funny you should mention a separate blog. Actually I do have a separate blog for my furniture upcycling activities. I created it a couple of years ago when I first started dabbling in furniture transformations. The blog is called Elegantly Transformed.

      I have a tendency to compartmentalize my life in blogs. Then, as I started transforming more and more furniture, I realized why compartmentalize it? It’s all about the same thing just a different venue. Not only that, by creating another blog, I’ve added yet another responsibility/decision to my life. “Do I put this post on blog number 1 or blog number 2?”

      The way I see it, motivation is motivation whether it’s encouraging wanna be furniture restorers or encouraging newbie writers. I do realize in our online world we like to follow blogs of a certain subject and I get that, but this really comes down to, what do I want?

      I understand Pinterest is the place for the decorating/furniture transforming/eco friendly types, but do I really want to fall into the social networking trap? I love what I do and have found a few folks who are willing to pay for what I do. Heck, I’m even getting custom orders (imagine that). I can’t help but think of the Geico commercial where the cowboy rides off into the sunset right after the line, “I’m a loner…and loners got to be alone.” He promptly rides into the “THE END” sign and is knocked off his horse. But you get my drift.

      It’s not that I’m totally a loner, but if I’m going to truly enjoy what I’m doing, I can’t get pulled into the distraction of the social networking. This sounds harsh and I don’t mean it that way. It’s just a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.

      I know that is not what most folks would do, but I’m aiming for simplifying my daily life. If I only have one place to put my ideas, it I don’t have to worry about making unnecessary decisions.

      Sakura, I do appreciate your suggestion. By the mere fact that I have a separate blog on the topic I originally thought as you suggested. Heck, I even have little “Pin it” icons on the photos. But now, after sitting back and reflecting, I’ll probably roll that blog into this one under a Furniture or Upcycling tab. It will be like have dual blogs under one domain name. I’ll have one less blog to maintain and update. 🙂

  • Marcel August 8, 2014, 4:50 am

    Loaded question! I have “permanent / temporary” writer’s block, so I’ve hung up the pen because it just can’t be forced. Although my writer’s block is not my main motivator, its existence certainly is contributing to a major life change I am making. After realizing I have never made any true major commitments in my life, that I have run like hell from responsibility all my life, I saw that I never truly pursued what I wanted and if I did, I would step back from it and destroy it. To that end, I am refocusing my energy on myself and starting to understand that only when we make ourselves the most important thing in our lives, that then we can truly help and love others. My biggest decision this year is to finally move to the PNW where there is lots of rain (LOVE rain and clouds and cold). Next month I will be in Portland! I am sure that eventually, because of this, I will be able to resume writing in a few years or maybe sooner. I am getting my life together! Thanks for asking. The biggest lesson from all this is to follow your heart. And sometimes you need to sacrifice your deepest loves to find out who you really are and move forward. The start of all this was to lay the pen down and pay attention to what my subconscious was trying to tell me – the reason I can’t write. When I get my life together – as in take care of some huge holes in my life – I will be able to write again. Hope this is helpful or useful in some way. I love that you continue to prioritize your needs as it pertains to this website and your writing. It is OKAY if you don’t write!

    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 7:13 am

      Hi Marcel,

      You’ve got it…follow your heart. One of the things I love about getting older is there is a sprinkling of wisdom that comes along with it. In my case I’m finally learning to follow the heart/gut.

      Yesterday I was having a conversation with my father and I told him that I finally get what he’s been teaching me all my life. In a nutshell, there are tons of people out there that will tell you “No.” Don’t you join the crowd and be one of them.

      Follow your heart/passion even if it’s not what everyone else does. Don’t say no to yourself and stop yourself. There are enough people out there to discourage you, don’t discourage yourself.

      Once you follow your heart, your writing will over flow. It’s easier said than done, but those things worth having aren’t always easy to come by.

      BTW, you’re like my daughter’s boyfriend. He loves the rain. The minute it starts raining, he puts on his running shoes to go out for a run. The harder it rains, the longer his run. Go figure.

      • Marcel August 8, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Oh man, you said it way better than I could. Is following your heart / gut the biggest lesson humans need to learn to grow up? I am no longer so certain about life that I think that my biggest learning experience is everyone else’s, but it seems like those who get it are graduating or graduated to a higher plane of understanding (I know that sounds new agie and conceited but what the hell). I think your father is a wise man for sure.

        Ha ha! If I was a runner, I would run in the rain too! That is awesome.

  • Loretta August 8, 2014, 8:48 am

    Hi Felicia. I am so glad to see that you have decided to get back to writing more frequently on NJFM. I share your feeling about working on a schedule set by someone else. Although, I didn’t think so at the time, getting downsized from my corporate job five years ago was the best thing that happened to me. It set me free!!! Now, I have more time to do what I enjoy — writing — when I want to do it. And while I occasionally get a few crumbs for something that I wrote, writing is my first love and I do it even when I don’t get paid. I like your ET website. Aside from being an excellent writer, you have so many other God-given skills and are smart enough to use them. Have you considered putting a link to your ET site on NJFM? God bless.

    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 9:43 am

      Hey Loretta,

      Don’t you just love it when bad situations work out for your good? We spend so much time afraid that something bad is going to happen and when it does, it sets us free. At least most of the time it does.

      As far as ET, I’m toying with moving everything over here under a separate tab. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to put a link to it from here while I’m mulling it over.

  • Crystal August 8, 2014, 9:09 am

    Love the simpler look, Felicia – it really suits where you are now and where you’re going in life. And when all that changes, you can gussy it up a bit if you want, right?

    Also love your dad’s wisdom so I’ll repeat it here: “…there are tons of people out there that will tell you “No.” Don’t you join the crowd and be one of them.” Wow! Way to go, dad! Good advice for every age and every stage.

    I applaud your decision to consolidate blogs. I think the furniture venture will fit well here. And if you move onto something else, well, that’s what tabs are for!

    As for Pinterest – it took me quite a while to try it and now I use it periodically, but for my own rather than social purposes. I’m also not into the whole social thing (as you know) but realized Pinterest is a super easy, highly visual way to keep track of things I find online. For instance, when planning my bathroom update, I created a board and pinned ideas for decor, storage, accessories, etc. And you can also have up to three private boards so I have one for gift ideas and another for pricing research I do for my SIL’s Rough and Rustic Etsy shop. I can see Pinterest might be similarly useful to you with your furniture upcycling. My main initial boycott of Pinterest was because it required sign in with a Facebook account but now you have the option of signing up with just an email address.

    Best to you, Felicia, as you move forward. It’s always fun to hear what’s up in your world and follow along as you follow your dreams. You continue to be an inspiration. And thanks for leaving up the previous content – although some may be dated, much of it is timeless and all of it is interesting and helpful.

    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 10:04 am

      Hi ya Crystal!

      I did sign up with Pinterest recently. I see what you mean about collecting ideas. That part has worked out very well for me. Haven’t done any of the social stuff (and probably never will).

      I’ll have to check out your SIL’s Etsy shop. I opened mine recently and have been very pleased with the response. I truly didn’t expect too much from Etsy because furniture is so big and bulky, but that was a mistake on my part. When people want to buy something, they aren’t deterred by having to ship it across the country.

      This is a whole new experience for me and I’m having a blast. As a matter of fact, I’ve got my whole family into the act. When my husband saw how much fun I was having and that people were willing to pay for my stuff, it became legit in his eyes. Now we go on weekend “furniture runs.”

      Upcycling furniture is the right thing for me at this point in my life. It’s a hand in glove fit so I’m going with the flow.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

      • Crystal August 8, 2014, 11:26 am

        So…what’s the name of your Etsy shop? Are you going to add a link from here to there?

        • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 12:56 pm

          The shop is Elegantly Transformed. I’ll be adding links pretty soon.

  • Joni August 8, 2014, 12:24 pm

    It was sooo great to see your post in my email! I believe you should put all your interests under this blog because as you said any interest you have is all different from a “normal job”. I think it’s wonderful. I’ve been planning on getting my house (physically and emotionally) in order and part of that is doing it with the least amount of money possible because I don’t have it. I have been pouring over mags like Do It Yourself and I found a TV show called Knock It Off where 2 ladies redo rooms, etc. on a shoestring budget. It is so exciting to hear from you.

    I also have put my pen away for now except to journal. I am finally beginning to dig myself out of this depression hole I’ve been in and it is slow going. That is what is great about getting older…we can have an idea and go with it. I am working on not letting negativity from others bother me. I would love to see you work. Are you going to put pictures of your work on the blog? I so hope you do. It would love to see it. When I see others being productive it helps me.

    It doesn’t matter if we write as long as we stay true to ourselves and create. I am excited for you and this new direction. Please keep us informed on your new interest and show us your “creations”. I was just thinking about you the other day. I’m so glad you are still going to be around. Looking forward to seeing your work.
    Take care,

    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 1:08 pm

      So good to hear from you Joni. It’s amazing how much can do on a shoestring budget.

      Like you, most of my writing has been in my journal and the few posts I’ve written on some of my blogs. As I begin to write more about my furniture transformation journey, I’ll probably pick up the pace. Right now I’m too busy making all the mistakes in the world. I never realized how much fun it is to make lots of mistakes. 😉

      I’m glad you’re depression is lifting. Not letting others’ negativity bother you is key. It’s tough to do, but for peace of mind, it’s essential.

      Keep in touch!

  • Angela W. August 8, 2014, 12:41 pm

    I was overjoyed to find a post from you in my inbox this morning but am sorry that you’ve decided to no longer pursue online writing as your primary revenue stream any more. You were my first major inspiration to get into the game and to make it work. I was laid off from my job about a year ago, but because of the wonderful tips that you’d been posting on NJFM I was able to hit the ground running and start bringing in replacement income with my writing skills.

    I wish you all of the best in your new furniture business. Looking forward to updates on how you fare with that.

    Be blessed!


    • F.A. Williams August 8, 2014, 1:15 pm

      Well hello Angela (my sister-in-law look alike)! Good to hear from you.

      I’m sorry about your down sizing, but as Loretta said earlier, such situations have a way of working out for the best. I’m glad my posts helped you hit the ground running. Actually, my experience as an online freelance writer has helped me tremendously with my furniture transformation journey. I’m applying the same mindset here as I did with writing.

      I’m glad writing is working for you. Who knows, maybe you can do a guest post on the writing section of NJFM offering current advice for new and not so new writers looking to earn money through their craft (only if you have time…this is not a pressured request).

      It’s good to be able to bounce back when corporate America kicks you to the curb. Keep up the good work!

  • Ignatius August 8, 2014, 7:04 pm

    I’m happy that you have found something you enjoy doing. Keeping up with all the changes on the Internet has definitely taken a lot of the fun out of online writing. I have always been more interested in the technical side of things than the writing. So, I’m moving in that direction. I’m taking courses that will increase my range of technical skills while also learning more about entrepreneurship. I’ll be interested in hearing more about your projects. Best of luck to you.

    • Felicia August 9, 2014, 6:33 am

      Nice to hear from you, Ignatius.

      It’s good that you’re retooling to make yourself more marketable. Education and entrepreneurship are the way to go. There are so many holes in society that need filling and the entrepreneur is constantly looking to fill those voids.

      Best of luck to you in your new adventures.

  • Vidya Sury August 10, 2014, 8:33 am

    Dear Felicia, I was so happy to see an email update from you! Furniture restoration – what absolutely fulfilling work! I’d love to see photos of your work!

    What am I up to? Blogging, being Mommy, traveling, writing – the same, yet different, since we evolve over the years and hopefully find more meaning in what we do.

    Sending you hugs!

    • F.A. Williams August 10, 2014, 9:29 am

      Hi Vidya!

      So good to hear from you too! Photos will be forthcoming.

      Being a Mommy, writing, traveling…it sounds great! I have the feeling that you’re living your best life and not taking anything for granted.

      Hugs back to you. 🙂

  • Sharon August 21, 2014, 4:11 am

    Felicia, I used to stroll by your blog now and then and always found it inspiring, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been here. Recently Squidoo has up and sold to Hubpages and that got me thinking of you and No Job For Mom and I wondered what has been happening here.
    Wow! I am so excited for your new path. I love old things, and re-furbished furniture and the like. So the new direction you’re going in is my cup of tea. I wish you luck with it.
    I myself have often in the past bought and sold vintage things I found at yard sales, thrift stores and the like at consignment stores and sometimes online. I’ve been longing to do that again, but I find myself in a rural area without a car so it’s hard to get back into that again…but I will prevail.
    I am also trying to do more digital art/design stuff and sell it online…and that I can do despite not having a car.
    I’ll try to come by now again for inspiration from you once again, even if this time it is not for writing as a way of earning inspiration, but still inspiration from someone who takes a different path than the traditional job.
    Thank you.

    • F.A. Williams August 21, 2014, 3:57 pm

      Transforming old furniture is lots of fun, but I can see your challenge of not having a set of wheels.

      There are several people selling digital art on Etsy. Have you thought of selling your artwork there? You seem determined to move forward no matter the obstacle. That’s an admirable quality. I can’t help but think of the quote, “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” You definitely have the right attitude.

      I wish you all the best. Check in from time to time to let us know how things are going.

      • Sharon August 21, 2014, 8:26 pm

        Yes, thank you, I have thought about selling on etsy and it is on my to do list, as well as similar sites. I’ve also had designs on Print On Demand sites like Zazzle.com and CafePress.com for a long time and earn a bit from those and plan to put more up there. And also maybe do things like gig’s on Fiverr, even though there is a lot of competition from people with more experience than me. So lots of things to try/look into.

        Thankfully, and ironically, one of my articles at Squidoo regained great rankings on Google last month and this has been one of my best earnings from Amazon as a result ever. I wish it could have continued through Christmas, but I am grateful for it nevertheless. And maybe it being moved to Hubpages will surprise me and it might still do well there. I’m slowly getting money saved to get a vehicle and it will help.

        My determination that you noticed, unfortunately comes and goes…but because it keeps coming back that has kept me going forward and overcoming things…just maybe a bit more slowly than I would like. But at least I am always going forward, even if I stop now and then and progress is slow.

        • F.A. Williams August 22, 2014, 7:51 am

          Sharon, you sound like you’ve got your bases covered. Don’t let those people with more experience than you shake your resolve. Just keep focused on what you want to accomplish.

          Hopefully with the HubPages purchase, your articles will pick up in popularity. My few HubPages articles still bring in a trickle of income.

          I fully understand what you mean about the ebb and flow of determination. That’s why I constantly read/watch motivational material. It’s painfully obvious when I stop reading/watching because I begin to falter and start looking at the glass as half empty rather than half full.

          Many of the books I read are freely available on YouTube. When I need a shot in the arm and can’t quite figure out what book to read, I go to YouTube and listen to one I’ve read before.

          The key is, you’re always moving forward. Heading in the right direction is half the battle.

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