The need to create runs deep for many of us. Know the feeling? It's the drive that feeds our very souls. Simply put, creating makes us feel good. Yet there is rarely time to indulge when family and work take priority.  And when we do, there is always that nagging guilty feeling.  So how to balance it all?

Robin Fator, owner of the handmade classic glamour fashion Etsy store, Dark Pony Designs (based in California) struggled with that same question for years.  Her quest to find balance between her creative and family lives eventually led her to share her experience and findings in her book,  Get It Together: Etsy Success, Creativity, And a Guilt-Free Family Life book.  I received a copy for review.  It's available in Kindle and in paperback form from Amazon or as a PDF from her own site.

The beginning of the 77 page book is devoted to her own story. It made for an absorbing read. Robin, who had her children young, tells of the years when she slowly began to realize she needed something else in her life to make her whole. It was rather like a voyage of self discovery. She puts it differently but essentially happy parents have a profoundly positive effect on their families. It seems obvious but some parents view their role as one of self sacrifice. And when their kids grow up and leave, what then?

Robin succinctly summed up her approach with this:

Mom Life + Art Life + Organization = Balance

Part of the book includes helpful tips and some probing questions to overcome conflicted feelings, self doubt and to raise self-respect. Organizing your life is also key to fitting in time. She shares her current daily schedule where she carves out blocks of time for herself.  Her prioritizing tip of "taking cleaning off the top of your to do list" followed swiftly by making sure everyone in the family contributes to the upkeep of the house, struck a chord.

The author also helps the reader decide on the choice of creative area.  It took Robin herself some time to figure out what she loved most (fashion) but others may already be there with an existing hobby. She did have a short section on how to come up with some seed money to start a home business - useful for those with limited funds.

But she only touched on researching what other designers do whereas it might be more advantageous to consider what others are not doing. Filling a unique niche -  an unmet need - cuts the competition from the get go. Robin is right - you do need to know what you like and why.  You also have to enjoy what you do.

The section which resonated most with me was the one on failure. People are so afraid of failure. Yet failure, learning from mistakes and being open to constructive criticism do lead to better things. Robin shared a couple of her failures.  One was her Greek Goddess Feathered Headband! It got picked up by Regretsy and led to over 50 sales! The trolls were unkind. But she did not take it personally and said, " I chalked it up to - "there's no such thing as bad press!""

A large part of the book was all about how to get an Etsy store up and running.  While the information is available elsewhere online and sometimes in greater depth, her succinct collection of topics and numerous web links makes her book a handy guide for those just starting out. It is because of those links that the book is better read as an ebook as it required tedious typing to access the web from a physical book.

The overall tone of the book was one of "just do it".  So often people talk themselves out of doing. The author lays out what needs to be done without being too bogged down with details.

The topics are universal like shipping, payments, shop policies, customer service, social media promotion, etc. There was one exception - taxes- which was specific to US store owners. SEO (search engine optimization) is important for buyers finding items, so her section on listing and using the right keywords explains the basics in a simple fashion. Perhaps a little more about branding could have been covered but Robin does touch on using consistent names for social media platforms.

If you're overwhelmed and unable to "get it together" then this easy to read book might well get you started on the road to a more fulfilling life.

If you'd like to win a copy of Get It Together: Etsy Success, Creativity, And a Guilt-Free Family Life, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international. eBook only for outside the USA.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, March 3, 2016 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

I receive books and products for review. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link where I receive a small compensation for anything bought through this blog.  My opinions are the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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