First of all, what on earth is a creative editor? And second of all, what are you saying? That I am going to do the inconceivable? Quit my job as a middle school teacher?
Cath, the teacherLittle did I know that a year-and-a-half later, I really did quit my job as a middle school teacher. As an English and creative writing teacher who also dabbled in math, Utah history, and French, I burned out after ten years on the job. Low pay, high class sizes, and all the preparation and grading on my own time eventually took its toll.
Besides, my own two daughters were junior high-aged at the time and I wanted to spend some extra time with them.
I signed up for a stamping class that very day. Later, I took a class on dry embossing and before I knew it I was making cards, party invitations, and announcements by the dozens.
Before we go any further with this story, however, I've got to stop to let you know this about myself: when I find something I enjoy doing, I go all out. I become obsessed with it--I eat it, breathe it, sleep it. With me, it's all or nothing.
That being said, you'll understand that when I started making all these cards, invitations, and announcements, there had to be more. It just wasn't enough to make one card from the new stamp or the brass template I had just purchased, there had to be 6 or 12 or 24.
Then came the questions from the people to whom I gave my cards: Have you ever thought about opening a business, Cath? Have you ever considered selling your work?
Well, my goodness. If I sold my cards I could make lots and lots of them, even more designs for all seasons, occasions, and holidays—maybe even make a little money on the side—and wouldn't that just be a ton of fun?
And just like that, Cards by Cath was born. I got a business license, a state tax number, ramped up a website with a shopping cart, went to wholesale markets, approached local vendors, and employed over a dozen artisans to help me with production.
Some Cards by Cath best-sellers
It was quite the operation. I was being creative. I was working very hard. I was making my own way. I involved my daughters in my business. They learned a lot about the world of work. We learned a lot about one another. People were buying my cards and giving them to their loved ones. It was a dream come true.
It was not without its pitfalls, however. I was working 24/7. I had to wear all the different hats of the business, some of which didn’t fit very well. Everything I earned went straight back into the business. I was creatively inspired but physically and mentally exhausted.
Somewhere along the way, the editors from Paper Crafts magazine went to lunch at a little neighborhood restaurant on my street in which there was a rack of cards from Cards by Cath. They took notice and soon Jennafer Martin had sent me an e-mail inviting me to submit.
More best-sellers from Cards by Cath
I regret to say that I never did submit anything, but I was intent on sticking with my business plan and unfortunately, getting published wasn’t part of that. No matter, I have been published since. :)
When I got an e-mail several months later announcing that Paper Crafts was looking for a creative editor, I dismissed it immediately. I was happy growing my business and I enjoyed working for myself. I deleted it on the spot.
But as the deadlines for resumes approached, a little voice inside my head was saying, “Hey, you! You didn’t really look at that e-mail—I think you ought to take a look at that again.” Hoping that it hadn’t been automatically “emptied” from my desktop trash can, I opened the e-mail again, this time reading much more attentively.
As I read down the list of qualifications, one after the other clicked as something I knew that I could do—and that it would be FUN!
I looked up the location of the offices. They were only four miles away from my home.
This was clearly something I could no longer ignore.
Resumes were due the next day. Not only did I not have one but I had never needed to create one. I was starting from scratch. I pulled a near-all-nighter and got my resume in on time.
And the rest, they say, is history. After a rigorous examination process—first a writing sample, then an interview, then a presentation on trends and the teaching of a paper crafting technique, then a group lunch to see how I interacted with the team, on May 31, 2005, I became the creative editor of Paper Crafts magazine.
It is a job that I absolutely love.
I feel like I am one of the luckiest women in the world. I get to work with amazing designers who have become very close friends, I work with a fabulously dynamic team that makes me laugh, I get to write most of every day, and hey, I get to work on a magazine! I mean, that by itself is super cool. But most importantly, I am keenly aware that more than a job, this is a rich opportunity for me to connect with others through a hobby that is rooted in the art of giving.
If you are the type that believes that things happen for a reason, then I guess I’m right where I belong. The proof of that is when I get up every morning excited for the tasks that lay ahead. I am supremely grateful for that, on today of all days, Thanksgiving.
What are you grateful for today? I’d love to hear about them and the blessings that they bring to your life.