Nicole Annette

Nicole Annette is a journal keeper, story collector, bookbinder, and avid writer. She makes recycled customized and personalized journals that inspire women to connect with themselves on a deeper level. She makes space for Mature-Minded Women to use the power of journaling to intentionally create change in their lives.

How did you get started? This warrants a story about a hamburger. I remember, the first cross-word my husband and I had was over rather or not he could by a McDonald’s hamburger. We got married in June of that year, and my husband lost his good job one month before we tied the knot. Our wedding gift money had run out, our savings were exhausted, our job searches were dead-ends, we were counting coins, scared to max out our credit cards, and I was CONVINCED that we could not afford one floppy hamburger.

That evening, we decided that we needed a solid financial plan.  We began to budget and keep track of the little money we had. He eventually got a part-time job, but I wanted to help. We both realized that I spent my money on journals and that they were costing MORE than a hamburger!  He suggested I make my own journals. So I did.  I begin to sell them locally, and they were well received.  

I then opened an Etsy shop and business exploded.  These books have helped pay the bills ever since. Nine years later, I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to build something I love.  I’ve been able to share my story, live my dream, and meet so many amazing folks on this business journey.

Is it your full-time gig? Yes.

What is your morning practice? I wake up, drink water, and write down the first 10 thoughts in my mind, and then I write my plan for the day.

Why did you choose journaling and journal making? I’ve been writing and journaling since I could hold a pencil. I hear that firstborns have an affinity for paper and all things stationery. So perhaps my art chose me?

How long have you been doing your work? Since August 2008!

“We all have stories that make up who we are. We also have the power to change the stories that no longer serve us. One powerful way to do that is through writing and truly ‘hearing’ our truth.”

What do you most love about journal making? I truly love how my work influences another person so deeply that they are empowered to create a shift or change in their story

Biggest lesson learned so far? Listen, listen, listen! 1. Listen and follow your intuition. Do what feels right and good for you, and don’t compromise for money! It’s not worth your peace of mind. 2. Listen to your customer-to her needs, desires, and dreams. You can learn a lot about a person by just listening.

Where do you get your ideas? Literally everywhere. I am an observer of life and can find stories and inspiration in the smallest details. I once created an entire blog post about a pitiful spider in my window that let her web get dusty and ragged. When the moth flew in, the web was so unkempt that the spider didn’t have the chance to snag her dinner before it got away. That was a life lesson for me! Keep your business in order, or you will lose juicy opportunities.

What is your daily routine? Right now, my daily routine revolves around my children (1 and 6 years old.) It kind of goes like this: Wake up. Drink water, Write. Wake 6 year old. Prepare for school. Wake 1 year old. Drive to school. Return home. Load the dishwasher. Brew a cup of tea. Add to Instagram stories. Make a veggie juice. Schedule my day. Check emails and social media. Feed baby. Do morning chores. Reading time. Nap time (for baby,) work time, (for me.) Prep next day orders (depending on the day.) Send customer emails. Package out-going orders. Snack. Workout. Pick-up son from school. After-school routine.

What do you want to say to the world with your art? We all have stories that make up who we are. We also have the power to change the stories that no longer serve us. One powerful way to do that is through writing and truly “hearing” our truth.

How do you stay focused in a world of the internet, social media, and other distractions? I have certain times that I engage on social media. I strongly keep to these specific times.

How do you deal with the ebbs and flows of creativity? Truly, I just let the creative tides come and go. But I find that where I may be in a “creative slump,” regarding designing and making, I am feeling super inspired in my writing, so I guess it all balances out.

How do you share your work? I share my work in conversation with a stranger, in social media, through my website, through groups and workshops in the community, and at art shows.

What’s hardest for you about sharing your work? I am a classic introvert. Speaking about myself, my journey, and what I love has been my greatest challenge.

What makes it easier? I attended a public speaking workshop last year and was reminded to treat each conversation as a coffee date with a friend. I also began to think of conversations as “sharing stories,” which made them less daunting. When others resonate with and are inspired by my story, that increases my determination to not keep silent. These three concepts have really helped me in my journey.

How do you get creatively unstuck? I usually take a walk in nature, take a long drive, talk it out with my husband, or do a writing exercise.

I truly love how my work influences another person so deeply that they are empowered to create a shift or change in their story.

I truly love how my work influences another person so deeply that they are empowered to create a shift or change in their story.

“Do what feels right and good for you, and don’t compromise for money! It’s not worth your peace of mind.”

Best advice received? 1. Stay humble. 2. Don’t compare yourself to others 3. Be confident. 4. You deserve “to be here.” Many times we feel like intruders or that we don’t belong on the same path as success, but the truth is if you put in the passion, hard work, and energy, then you truly have as much right as anyone else to teach, share your story, and reap the benefits of helping others.

What do you hold as true? My heart.

 

What do you do when life gets hard (to make it less hard)? Pray, write, and talk to my husband.

What do you turn for inspiration? I follow a lot of women in my field. Truthfully, I am an Instagram groupie of all things journaling. There are so many phenomenally creative women out there. I always leave their feeds feeling motivated and inspired to create. I read a lot of books, learn from my sons, and I also read my customers’ reviews often. This really helps me to stay motivated when I begin to feel doubt, fear, or all of those other insecurities. The reviews serve as a reminder that I truly am helping others and creating good, and that is my goal.

 

 

What makes you laugh out loud? I know this is cheesy to say, but my husband cracks me up! He is so witty and we laugh out loud together every day. He definitely has helped me embrace the silly side of myself.

Do you wait for inspiration or start regardless? It depends. Regarding writing, I usually just jot down a few lines and hope for a connection. Regarding designing new products, I usually wait for inspiration.

Five interesting facts about you? 

  • 1. I’ve been an entrepreneur since 5-years old.
  • 2. I can write with both hands.
  • 3. Living with Grave’s Disease has ironically been the catalyst to the success of my business.
  • 4. I am an INFJ.
  • 5. My favorite food is the sweet potato. I literally eat one every day.

What’s the next step/level/leap for you in your work? I am currently in transition from just making journals, to writing and authoring journals. I have written a line of journals, and I work with other entrepreneurs to create customized journals for their small businesses as well. This has been greatly rewarding. I look to get my journals published and also begin offering online workshops in 2018!

Evening ritual? We always have dinner as a family. We discuss our day and reflect on the lessons we have learned in the day. Everyone gets a turn to share. Even baby!

Your advice? Listen to your own divine self. Mostly I would say, “keep making work” but there is also a time to step away from your work and only you know when that time is. Stay connected with yourself through whatever means work best for you – hiking, meditating, journaling, dream-journaling, prayer.

 

“You deserve to be here. Many times we feel like intruders or that we don’t belong on the same path as success, but the truth is if you put in the passion, hard work, and energy, then you truly have as much right as anyone else to teach, share your story, and reap the benefits of helping others.