Save The Letter: 30 Prompts for Handwritten Notes

In celebration of National Letter-Writing Month, the teams behind Egg Press and Hello!Lucky cards launched a campaign encouraging others to write 30 letters during the month of April. Over the last 3 years, the write_on movement has grown to include thousands of participants and I am excited to finally become one of them. I hope that you will join me in writing 30 letters this month and in an effort to motivate us both, I created a list of 30 fun prompts to help us get started. If you're feeling up to the challenge, please be sure to tag your posts with #write_on. Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a set of some of my greeting cards. 

30 Letter-Writing Prompts via Evermore Paper Co.

30 PROMPTS FOR HANDWRITTEN NOTES:

1. Share a memory
2. Describe your perfect day
3. Draw a picture of your surroundings
4. Give a compliment
5. Tell a story
6. Share your favorite recipe
7. Tell a joke
8. List 3 good things that have happened lately
9. Share a secret
10. Explain why you're happy they're in your life
11. Recap what you did this past weekend
12. Describe a recent dream
13. Give or seek advice
14. Describe what you're most thankful for
15. Share your favorite quote
16. Apologize for a past mistake
17. Make plans for your next outing together
18. Give thanks for something they did for you
19. List an adjective for each letter of their name
20. Describe your daily routine
21. Share your current goals
22. Encourage them to overcome an obstacle
23. Describe something that reminds you of them
24. Show your support for them
25. Share an interesting fact you recently learned
26. Describe something new you recently tried
27. List 5 of your current favorite things
28. Share something you're afraid of
29. Tell them about your role model
30. Describe your favorite place

Give Yourself A Break

How to beat creative ruts via Evermore Paper Co.

Let's face it . . . creative ruts happen. Whether you're up against a deadline or working on new products, posts, you name it, suffering from a lack of ideas or feeling generally uninspired can be really frustrating (or at least for me it is). Or perhaps, you're working too hard and nearing burnout. Whatever the case is, I've often found that the best medicine is to take a step back from the work itself and give yourself and your mind a little break. Here are some of my go-to methods for helping to get those creative juices flowing again: 
 

1. Go on a walk. Fresh air. Enough said.

2. Create for the fun of it. Take time to do something that feels less like work and more like fun. Lately, I've been dabbling in some macrame because tying tons of little knots is wildly therapeutic to me. 

3. Read a book or listen to a podcast. I tend to focus a lot on biz-related books and casts (like The Lively Show) with hopes that I'll discover a lesson that I can apply to my own work. Also, I just really enjoy hearing other people's success stories. 

4. Go to a museum or exhibit. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing quite like admiring the work of the great classics. 

5. Explore somewhere new. I like to play tourist in my own city all the time. Letting your eyes see new things can do wonders for the mind. 

6. Take a class. I think its so important that you always keep learning. I've recently become hooked on Skillshare

7. Experiment with a new medium. There's no pressure because you're just a beginner and perhaps you'll even stumble into an idea that you can incorporate into your work.

8. Get a good night's rest. Chances are your brain is just zapped and needs time to digest everything you've been feeding it lately. 

9. Document your surroundings or create a mood board. Looking more closely at the things around me often helps me discover new themes to work with. 

10. Drink some wine. Let's be honest . . . sometimes you just need a nice tall glass of red to ease the process. 
 

Please share if you have any tips or tricks that you use to help avoid a creative rut. I'd love to hear them!

Happy Birthday Evermore!

Evermore Hooray Confetti Card

Today marks the two year anniversary of when I first opened my shop on Etsy. I am surprised by how quickly it snuck up on me. Often times I am so focused on what's next that I fail to celebrate important milestones as they happen. But since this one is just too big to let it pass by unacknowledged, I will try to give it a proper moment in the spotlight.

Thankful, grateful, happy, excited, and lucky are just a few of the emotions floating through my mind right now. I feel [insert one of those words] to have done something I love for the last two years and [insert another one of those words] that I can keep doing it for another year (and hopefully many more). Whereas last year at this time I was worried about whether I had accomplished enough in my first year, this year feels quite the opposite. I am proud of where Evermore Paper Co. is today and of all the progress that has been made in this past year. I am more confident in the work I am producing than ever before and know that the best of it is still to come. 

If there's anything I've learned this year, it's that each step, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time, will always help to paint a larger, more beautiful picture. I realize that so much of the behind-the-scenes work that I put in this year is what contributed to some of my larger successes. So without further adieu, here are just a few of my favorite highlights from this past year...

1. Attending Etsy Open Call and pitching my line to Nordstrom, The Land of Nod, Lou & Grey, The Walker Art Center and Clementine. 

2. Adding 25 new stockists to the roster 

3. Being featured on Etsy here and here. Along with all this other good press here

4. Participating in 2 pop-up shops at Madewell

5. Dabbling in custom work (more to come on that)

So there you have it! It's definitely been an exciting year, but naturally I can't resist the call of Year Three.  

Resources for Working Smarter

Resources for working smarter | Evermore Paper Co.

In my last post I mentioned how I'm nearing the point where I can no longer manage all of the day-to-day tasks that come with running a creative business on my own. Over the last few weeks, I've taken a deep look at my operations trying to gain as much insight as possible into how I can make things run more efficiently. I consider myself to be a fairly organized person and, for the most part, I enjoy having a hand in every aspect of my business. However, most of my time lately has been dedicated to fulfilling orders which has left me with little time to focus on the bigger picture....Or the "top level sh*t" as Jen Gotch of Ban.do put it during her recent presentation at TSBC's Business Camp.

I am realizing more than ever that in order to really let this puppy grow, I need to start delegating some tasks. As a result, I've started weighing the pros and cons of working with a manufacturing partner vs. hiring an employee. I'm certainly not taking the decision lightly as I know that both will require a lot of investment and will take quite a few months for everything to fall into place. This is why I'm using every piece of time I can find now to study up on how other small business owners have approached the same types of issues and to make sure that my current processes are in tip-top shape. I know I'm not alone when it comes to wanting to work smarter, which is why I've shared a few resources below that have been especially helpful lately:

10 Steps to Working Smarter (Not Harder) at Your Small Creative Business by Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press is chock-full of advice from a seasoned seller.

The "Shape Up Our Businesses" series from Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia could not have come at a better time. 

"The Lively Show" podcast by Jess Lively covers plenty of topics and often puts me in the right mindset when planning for the future.

Also, here are some books that I recently added to my reading list that I hope will assist in this journey:

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Also, I'd love to hear of any other resources or tools that you're using to help you work more efficiently. 

Evermore Turns One!

Evermore Paper Co. turns one!

Today is the one year anniversary of the launch of Evermore Paper Co.!

I can hardly believe a whole year has passed already and I'm so happy to reach this milestone. I've learned so much in this past year, not only about running a business, but also about myself, that it's next to impossible to sum it all up. So instead of trying to analyze it all, I'll share that the most important thing I learned this year is that "Yes, I can do this!"

When Evermore started a year ago, I had no idea what would come of it. All I had was this dream to make things that people would want to buy combined with next to zero educational and professional experience with starting a business. And while my fears and doubts occasionally got the best of me, I persisted and became a sponge trying to soak up as much information as I could on how to build my business. Through much trial and error, Evermore continues to grow and I have learned that I have the power to achieve anything I set my mind to. I really believe that this is only the beginning and I'm so excited for all that is still to come.  

Of course none of this would have been possible without your support! I'm so thankful for everyone around me who has offered their advice, feedback, and love. It has helped propel me further ahead than I could have ever imagined.  

As my thank you to you, I am offering 40% off all purchases in my Etsy shop through the end of today with the code: EVERMORETURNSONE

Enjoy and thanks again!

xx
Ashley

 

Weekend Scenes 02

Photo by Nicole Franzen

I'm off to NYC later today and I'm looking forward to spending the whole weekend exploring little side streets and searching for inspiration. Each time I'm there, the experience is always so different from previous ones, which is why it's one of my favorite places in the world. I also just love New Yorkers and how they each abide by this set of rules. And lastly, I love how these little jaunts get my creative juices flowing and I'm excited to see what comes out of this trip.

I hope you all have an adventure-filled weekend!

Image via