Category Archives: things I like

the story of my perfect tote bag

So, I have this tote bag. I’m not going to post a picture, because it’s not much to look at: it’s navy blue, with navy blue straps. It’s big, it holds lots of stuff, and it is one of the first things I ever made for myself…therefore I carried it whenever I needed the space. Lately, that meant anytime I went to the studio to teach.

But it was making me sad. It was so plain.

plain black tote bags


My dissatisfaction with this bag made me think: why should something be plain just because I plan on using it every day?

(I know that was my thinking when I picked out that plain fabric way back in 2003…I was afraid of prints back then, if you can believe it.)

I decided I would make myself a new tote bag, one that was perfect for me. It would embody all the things I love, and therefore I would love using it every day, not like the sad navy blue thing I had been suffering lately.

chevron patchwork from the wrong side


The front is a chevron patchwork of bold prints, and the back is purple velveteen (one of my recent acquisitions). The straps are dark blue denim with gold sparkly leather, and the lining is bright red. There are four massive pockets, all lined in contrasting fabrics.

As you well know (unless you’re new here), those are pretty much all of my favorite things! I’ve been working on it for a while, but I finished it this week, and I couldn’t be more in love!

Valerie's custom chevron patchwork tote bag


Now clearly, this bag is not for everyone. But it is perfect for me, and that’s what matters.

(the best part is that each fabric in the patchwork reminds me of a specific time or place…better than a scrapbook or a photo album!)

It occurred to me, while I was walking down the street, smugly toting my perfect tote, that this is exactly how you pinpoint your personal style. What makes you happy? What do you feel good in? What do you reach for without thinking about it?

Or conversely: what is wrong with that thing you have that doesn’t make you happy?

zip pouch in progress

I’ve known that I don’t like to wear plain things for a while now, ever since the end of my office job meant the end of “business casual.” Over the years I’ve changed out the stuff I use for more interesting versions, as well: my wallet is purple (surprise!), my makeup bag is gold leather, my keychain is an art deco print, my luggage is bright orange, and my rain boots are leopard print…you get the idea.

Why should your everyday items (like the gold and red zip pouch in progress above) be plain just because you plan on using them everyday?

Since when does versatile or practical have to mean plain?


zip pouch with hand drawn details and velveteen


I think those words mean something different: whatever it is that makes you the happiest. That’s what you’ll use the most often, and what you’ll turn to time after time. Why would I ever use the plain navy bag again, when I have my perfect tote? I wouldn’t – that plain navy thing is now completely impractical.

The things you use the most and surround yourself with should be the things you love the most. If plain navy thrills you, then by all means, go for it. But if you require a bit more stimulation, figure out what makes you smile, and then seek it out!




shop indie!

Honestly it doesn’t take much to convince me to go shopping. Lately my shopping urge is usually immediately followed by a “just say no” mantra (I’m trying to be less spendy in general), but this past weekend that wasn’t the case. I suppose I was feeling sort of entitled, having been so good for so long, and it being my birthday. And what better place to let go than at an awesome indie craft show like Pile of Craft? I was honestly planning my purchases before the show even started.

My first purchase was one I’ve been eyeing for a while. Juliet over at The Broken Plate Pendant Co. makes these lovely pendants out of solid color Fiestaware plates, and I’ve been wanting the a green one forever, or at least since she started making them earlier this year.

I love green so much, so I have a lot of green stuff and I wear green all the time. That day I was wearing a green flower in my hair and green platform sandals. So, I decided at the last minute to go for contrast instead of matchy-matchy, and got an orange one instead. She only had one orange pendant, so I feel like it was meant to be. 🙂

Well, that opened the floodgates. Right next to Juliet’s table was Giant Dwarf, maker of beautiful felt things, especially these lovely flower headbands, that I see on everyone every time I go to Philadelphia. Guess what? She sells bundles of the beautiful felt she uses! I tell myself this was totally NOT an impulse buy, because I was legitimately thinking about my fall collection and how I wanted to use some felt on one of the wristlets maybe. Anyway, I bought two bundles. 🙂

Speaking of meant to be, my table was right by Fisticuffs. I see him everywhere and have somehow escaped every craft show we’ve both been at without a leather cuff. I knew this had to change ASAP. I’ve always wanted a leather cuff, and I never see any small enough to fit my wrists (except for at Fisticuffs!).

I debated with my neighbor (Tasha McKelvey) for a while on black vs. brown leather…or perhaps something metallic? There were some pretty cool silver ones in the mix, too. But then would that defeat the purpose of a leather cuff? I went back and forth with Tasha for some time, in-between serving our customers. Finally I spied this itty bitty red cuff, and I knew it was the one for me. Red! Only one of my favorite colors! Of course!

I confess this was my only impulse buy. I had in no way been contemplating buying art, but I saw this on the table at Found Studio’s booth and it called to me. It’s green! It says CRAFTY on it! It has eyelet lace on it! And as you know, my sewing room (okay, it’s more of an “area”) is all green. In an effort not to be too reckless, I waited until the end of the show, and I decided if nobody else bought it, then it was obviously meant for me. Guess what?

This last one is a bonus, but totally related because Elisa Shere is also from Baltimore. I actually bought these earrings from her at the Art Star Craft Bazaar in Philadelphia, and I have literally been wearing them every day since!

I have dozens and dozens of pairs of earrings…they are my favorite type of jewelry. But I usually end up wearing silver hoops every day. I am ashamed to admit that before now, I was wearing an icky cheap pair that I got at the mall. They had started to turn a gross non-silver color. How on earth could I preach to gospel of buying handmade if I was subjecting my own earlobes to this nonsense!?

Anyway I lost one of the icky hoops just in time for Art Star, and I had already bought a stack of rings from Elisa at the Spring Bada Bing in Richmond, so I knew exactly where to go for some handmade, real silver loveliness.

I love all of my new, indie goodness! While I try not to shop too much anymore, the money I do spend I want to spend with other makers. Not only because of the idea of creative tithing and supporting my indie craft/design/art community, but because that’s where all the best stuff is. Seriously, why would I shop anywhere else?


now playing: parliament funkadelic

Over at one of my favorite blogs, scoutie girl, Tara writes a weekly column called “we scout Wednesday,” where she encourages the internet at large to participate in a discussion on a particular topic or theme. This week I couldn’t resist, as the topic is what music we creative types like to work to.

I have lots of answers, of course, depending on my mood. CDs stacked up near my stereo right now include Mozart’s the Marriage of Figaro, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and a party mix my then-roommate and I made for her birthday party in 2001. Also, my #1 favorite band of all time is XTC, a trio of crazy Brits who have been making genius albums since they were wee lads in 1977. I listen to a LOT of XTC. (Below: four of their best albums, just FYI.)

But, in answer to Tara’s question, my #1 favorite music to work to is 1970s funk, specifically, any of the genius that comes from Parliament and their contemporaries. I almost always have my Parliament Pandora station on when I have a ton of sewing to do and I need to focus and stay energized. There may be some chair dancing involved as well…and loud singing…good thing I have understanding neighbors! Or perhaps they are also fans. 🙂


the good, the bad, and the ugly

This year I have an incredibly busy retail show season, that is completely unprecedented in my previous five years in business. It’s not even the end of May, and I have four major shows under my belt, plus other, smaller events earlier in the year. It’s crazy! Last week I was seriously doubting my sanity, because of course, I did this to myself. Nobody told me to apply for shows that were back-to-back.

my table at the Femme Fete, 2006

And I’m not even half-way through the madness. There are still eight more events to come, spread out through the rest of the summer! Anyway, this is all about the good, the bad, and the ugly of my show season so far.

the good
*No rain at my outdoor shows so far!

*The two absolute hippest and cutest girls in attendance at the Squidfire show visted my booth twice and bought two of my flower hair clips each…so nice to know that my goodies are going to good (a.k.a. stylish) homes.

*Lots of repeat customers at all of my shows so far!

*People bought my favorite things! Including but not limited to: the chinese new year envelope clutch, and the cherry blossom pocketbook. Somehow I get an extra little thrill when someone else likes the ones I like the most. 🙂

*20 item purchase! Nothing like hearing “If I buy twenty of something, can I get a discount?” Um, yes you may.

Art on the Avenue, 2007

the bad
*No rain, but unbelievably forceful winds in Baltimore two weeks ago…seriously, I was chasing my (very light) handbags all over that town square.

*Thus, everything got really, really dirty and had to be cleaned before my next show 🙁

*Lots of sunshine + sleep deprivation = forgotten sunscreen and major sunburn in both Baltimore and Philly. Oops!

*Dontcha hate it when you work extra hard to finish something for a particular show, and then NOBODY even looks at it? (mini clutches in Baltimore, pouch sets in Philly. Alas.)

The Spring Bada Bing, 2008

the ugly
*Got my cash box stolen in Baltimore by a drunk, homeless guy who I was very nice to earlier in the day. 🙁

*Although my tent was secure in the 45mph winds, I cut my foot on one of the cinder blocks holding it down. Ouch! Also, bleeding foot = not a good look.

*One customer came into my booth, looked around a bit, fingered my flag banner (which is not for sale, just decoration) and said: “you clearly have too much time on your hands.”

…I’m sorry, WHAT? Not sure what that’s about, but I chose to be offended.

Art Star Craft Bazaar, 2009

Despite the drama of the bad and the ugly, I’m happy to say there was much more good than anything else. The bottom line is that I really do love to do craft shows, even if they are sometimes a helluva lot of trouble. There’s really nothing like meeting my customers in person, and seeing how they react to my creations (even if its not how I predicted they would).

The Handmade Market, 2010

Next up, is the Rockville Art & Craft Festival. Looking forward to adding to the “good” list!


consumption, inspiration & appreciation

I spent this past Sunday at Eastern Market taking pictures.

My upcoming article for Try Handmade is all about the market, and it’s history and role in the Capitol Hill community (oops, was that a spoiler alert? does anybody care?!). There was a time when I used to go to Eastern Market pretty much every weekend…my roommates and I would get fresh flowers, eat the amazing and legendary Market Lunch, and browse the handmade goodies and flea market finds. (All these photos are from this weekend’s visit.)

It was great fun back then, but I think more than half of my enjoyment was due to my extreme love of “retail therapy.” I wasn’t a shopaholic by any means, but I sure was reckless (and sometimes indiscriminate) with a credit card. I don’t think I ever visited Eastern Market in the past without buying something.

I was gleeful about buying things just in general, but acquiring the interesting and unique things only available from places like Eastern Market was particularly satisfying for me. I have the vintage glassware collection to prove it! This time was a little different. Not that I didn’t see (literally) dozens of things I wanted to buy, but the visit was fulfilling for a different reason.

First of all, since I’ve been working on Holland Cox full time, my urge to randomly buy things has waned significantly. I don’t have that need for “retail therapy” like I used to (these days, fabric is really the only thing I truly pine for). I definitely saw a ton of jewelry and hats and clothing and yes, vintage glassware that I really wanted on Sunday, but not being able to buy them didn’t pain me the way it would have back then.

I think it’s because this time around, since I’m not so focused on acquiring things, and I don’t have the disposable income to just spend without thinking the way I used to, it’s a lot easier for me to really think about why a certain thing appeals to me. Being more thoughtful about my attraction to something makes me appreciate it even more, and the end result is that I enjoy just looking at them. So much more than I used to. More than I would have, had I just whipped out my credit card and dropped it in a shopping bag.

I can’t tell you how often I used to go on a shopping spree, and then just let the stuff I bought sit in its bag in my bedroom, sometimes for weeks. So wrong, I know!!! Ugh, it sort of makes me sick to think about it, now. Anyway, this past Sunday, there was none of that going on. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to be buying anything (first of all, I was there to take pictures and chat with artists for the blog; secondly, I’m in the middle of dealing with a pricey car emergency, so no random purchases for me). But I swear, I had the best time at Eastern Market I ever have!

It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve been there when the weather was perfect. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve been there that I saw dozens of handmade and antique things that I fell in love with. But this time, I actually talked with the artists and the antique dealers. I asked questions about how something was made, where photographs were taken, how certain treasures were found. I took time to study the things that caught my eye, really look at them, and identify what it was that drew me to it. It was really nice to connect with the artists and vendors that way, and I feel like I learned a little bit about myself, too.


sewing olympics 2010: training

Thanks to my friend Dawn over at Lark Studio, we now have a nifty logo/badge/thingy for our 2010 Sewing Olympics! Check it:

Please feel free to snag and post on your blog/Facebook/whatever to show your friends you are participating! The Sewing Olympics is all about accountability, after all. Since the Sewing Olympics is *also* about community and teamwork and all that, I’ve also created a Flickr group for us. Anyone who wants to participate, please post pictures of your pattern, your fabric, your progress photos, and of course the final product!

Thanks for joining in, and spread the word! Friday, February 12 is the big day!


the vagina monologues in washington, dc

A few months ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine, and she had a proposition for me. At the time, she had been unemployed for a few months, and really wanted to use the time wisely. There were certain things that she’d always wanted to do, but couldn’t for lack of time (being chained to a desk in an office and all that). One of those things was to put on a production of The Vagina Monologues. She asked me to help, and without really knowing how I would be helping (I’ve never “produced” anything that didn’t involve fabric and a sewing machine), I said yes.

I had seen the Vagina Monologues many years before, and I’ve always thought the goals of the V-Day Organization are critical and beyond reproach: to end violence against women and girls. Of all the important issues and worthy charities out there, the ones that focus on improving the mental and physical health of women and girls have always been closest to my heart. It was really a no-brainer for me.

So, we’re doing it. We and the friends we’ve recruited so far are collectively calling ourselves “The Firm,” and this production of The Vagina Monologues might be just the beginning of the creative projects that we decide to tackle! I am writing about this here because I would really, really love it if everyone who read this got involved in some way. Audition for the show, volunteer to help plan or on the day of the performance, become a sponsor, and of course, buy tickets to see the show! Here’s all the details:

Auditions: Saturday, January 30, Cleveland Park Public Library (second floor), 2:00pm.

Ticket sales: Three different ticket packages available here. VIP ticket holders will receive a gift bag including limited edition, handmade Holland Cox goodies!

Beneficiary: Proceeds from our production of The Vagina Monologues benefit Washington DC’s House of Ruth.

The Performance: Friday, March 5 at Theater J at the DCJCC in Dupont Circle. Doors open at 7:30 pm and the show starts at 8:00 pm.

You can also find us on Facebook (the Facebook event page; you’ll have to login to see it), and on Twitter.

If you can’t attend our production, I really encourage you to attend a production in your local community, or otherwise support the work of the V-Day Organization.


artist trading cards

I’ve been wanting to make ATCs (artist trading cards) for a long time, now. I first heard about them years ago on a crafty message board that I used to frequent. The girls there had organized an ATC swap, and I saw the thread regarding the swap, but had no idea what ATCs were.

Artist trading cards are simply tiny, playing card-size art. The idea was originated by a Swiss artist in 1997 who wanted a way to share what he made with other artists. The idea was to make ATCs representing your work (any medium, any style, any subject…just all made by you and all 2.5″ x 3.5″), and get together with other artists to trade your cards like kids used to trade baseball cards back in the day.

Like most crafters, I find the ATC concept incredibly seductive. The idea of one restriction (the size) combined with limitless other possibilities (style, subject, medium…) is quite simply, delightful. I love it for the same reason I love NaNoWriMo and any other craft-related challenge with minimal (but ironclad) rules. I find the idea of total free reign, but within a set of parameters, to be very exciting, and a good way to exercise creativity. The fact that you are also supposed to share what you make, is wonderful too. Why wouldn’t you want to release more beauty into the world?

Sadly, the urge to make ATCs remained just that…a distant desire…until very recently. My goal to make something everyday in 2010 lends itself very nicely to getting around to things I’ve never made time for before, and ATCs are no different.

Last week I participated in the first craftsocial Twitter chat (hosted by @SisterDiane and @penguintrax), where I thought to ask the participating crafty tweeps if ATCs were still something that people did/traded, or whether I had missed the boat (1997 is a long time ago, friends). I was assured that ATCs are totally not passe, and I was inspired to make my very first one the next day! It ended up being my Day 14 project. Then I got totally hooked, and made three more. Check it:

Inspiration came in the form of tiny reproductions of Italian travel posters that I saved from 2008 and 2009 calendars. I had absolutely no plan for any of these, I just got out my craft supplies and started cutting up things and gluing things and sewing things. Which is why some of them look wonky (can you tell I have never sewed beads on anything before?), but I felt strongly that I shouldn’t think too hard about these or fret too much about them. They are by no means perfect, and I am perfectly okay with that. The idea was to make something, and I did it. It was enormous fun, and I think I will probably continue with this “Italy” series until I run out of the tiny poster reproduction, or I get bored with the theme.

Making ATCs is the perfect craft night craft. They are small and easy to finish, so you get to enjoy that sense of accomplishment when you’re done. There aren’t any rules, and you don’t even have to show anybody what you made if you don’t want to, so it’s totally stress-free. Stress busting if you ask me. I found the gluing and sewing and assembling incredibly relaxing.

Anyway, I’m also hosting an ATC swap for craftsocial participants, but you can join in too! You have until January 21 to join the swap, and then until February 4 to make your ATC and send it off to your partner. When was the last time you got something handmade just for you in the mail? Do it, it’ll be fun. Here’s how to join up.


how to wear your obi belt

The obi belts have been getting lots of love lately, especially at the Squidfire Philly show and the Art on Belmont show. I made a whole bunch of new ones and put them up in the Etsy shop, if you haven’t seen them yet. A question I have gotten from some customers at the shows is: how to wear the obi belt? They would be intrigued by its shape and seduced by the fabric, but weren’t sure how to integrate it into their wardrobe, or were concerned they couldn’t “pull off” such a bold accessory.

Luckily at Squidfire I was wearing mine, so I could easily demonstrate how I would wear it…which is in no way the last word on the subject, but since this is my blog, let’s do it my way (cue Frank Sinatra), and talk about how I would wear it!

The Holland Cox obi is a solid color canvas or denim on one side, and a lightweight cotton print on the reverse, reinforced with lightweight interfacing on both sides. This means it will be stiff enough to hold it’s shape and cinch in the waist, but still flexible enough to be comfortable. The belt is designed to be worn at the natural waist – it will not bend around your natural curves properly if you don’t position it where you waist naturally dips. The widest part of the belt is only 5 inches wide – and as a petite, short-waisted person, I can personally guarantee that 5″ is not too wide for anyone! Don’t be scared of the wide belt!

The other important design point is the extremely long ties. They are 36″ to 41″ long, long enough to wrap around your waist and tie in the front, the side, or in the back if you really, really want to (but I love the look of the front or side knot). My obi belts feature ties in a print that either matches or coordinates with the printed side of the belt.

Holland Cox obi belt with contrasting ties

This belt is a dark eggplant canvas on one side, and reverses to this lovely polynesian floral. Instead of using the same floral for the ties, I chose this coordinating hexagram print. You could wear the solid side of this belt with a more conservative outfit, like a dress in solid brown or cream, and then wear it on this side when you were feeling more playful.

Holland Cox obi belt with a side knot

This belt is olive green canvas on the reverse, and I used the same fabric for the belt and the ties, although the belt is cut on the bias – I can’t resist cutting on the bias with stripes or checks! The effect is especially cool with this wild pattern, I think, plus the diagonal lines make you look skinnier! I love wearing my belt with the knot on the side, the way it is shown here.

Like all Holland Cox accessories, the obi belts come in very bold patterns and color combinations. This actually makes them easier to wear than plain black or other neutral-colored belts, and here’s why: I don’t have to know any of you personally to know that most of you have wardrobes that are 80 to 90% solid colored. (Go on, go and look.) A single, eye-catching accessory can therefore inject quite a bit of excitement into several different outfits, especially if you choose one that either has a lot of different colors in it, or includes a color that you wear all the time.

You can wear the obi belt with just about anything – dresses, skirts, tailored pants…the only thing it won’t work with is something that has it’s own bulky belt built-in. At the Squidfire show, I wore mine with jeans. I didn’t take a picture of myself, but this little collage shows the basic ingredients I used: my belt on the printed side, dark blue jeans, a long scoop neck shirt in a bright color (mine was purple – not tucked in), a coordinating shrug (mine was brown), and interesting accessories.


black & white & blue


I think the obi would look especially cool on any outfit that accentuates the waist – like a fitted dress with clean lines, or a top combined with a wide, circular skirt. Adorable! Do you have an outfit that would look stunning with an obi belt? I would love to see the way you wear your obi belts!



nanowrimo ’09, or top 5 reasons you should sign up

Well friends, you may recall how excited I was for nanowrimo last year, and this year is no different. I had such a good time in ’08 that I knew I would try again. Plus, this time around I don’t have a day job, so I *really* don’t have an excuse not to do it! I signed up officially a few days ago. None of you actually have an excuse, but we’ll get to that later…

For those of you not following along at home, nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month, in which participants write a novel during the month of November [insert cries of outrage and disbelief, and dismissive scoffs that great writing cannot be timed]. There are only 2 rules to nanowrimo: you have to write from November 1 to November 30, and you have to write at least 50,000 words to “win.” There is no prize besides a PDF certificate and your personal satisfaction. You can write anything you like: fiction, non-fiction, memoir, scripts, screenplays, whatevs. Nobody expects what you write to be ready for publishing on December 1, it is *supposed* to be a rough draft. For me, it’s all about the exercise. Nobody will probably ever see my manuscripts except my Mom and any curious friends.

Last year my story was, for lack of a better definition, “literary fiction.” I had no idea what that meant really, until I started browsing the nanowrimo forums last October. My ’08 story was a collection of nine stories, each starring a different woman with various types of identity issues. All nine stories connected and were related, but could also stand alone. There wasn’t any plot to speak of…each of them were simply going through their daily lives and dealing with everyday happenings at work and at home. My title was “Nine Times I Was Inappropriately Dressed.” In each of the stories my heroines had a defining moment in which they learned something critical about themselves, while also being inappropriately dressed. The clothing had nothing to do with the epiphanies, it was just a theme I came up with. I “won” last year with just over 50,000 words, but none of my 9 stories were finished, alas.

Which brings me to 2009! My original plan was to continue “Nine Times,” and really flesh out my characters and see what happens to all of them. But I really, really want to try writing fantasy, because I love reading (good) fantasy. And just the other day I had a bit of a brainstorm, and the more I think about my brainstorm, the more I think I want to try it out, even though this time I’ll have to come up with a plot, because self-exploration alone cannot carry a fantasy story! We shall see. I might not decide until 11:55 pm October 31!

Just like last year, I’ve been trying to coerce all those around me to join in the madness. I have absolutely no qualms about bullying my friends in general, and so to follow in that vein, I present to you:

the top five reasons you should do nanowrimo ’09 (or any/every year)

1. Because I’m doing it. You know I would never lead you astray when it comes to creative endeavors, don’t you? Of course you do! I had so much fun doing it last year and I *know* you will too! You can trust me on that, because I in no way consider myself “a writer,” nor have I ever wanted to be “a writer,” so this is nothing like me trying to convince you to start sewing. You know your friend the runner? Who is always trying to tell you how great running is even though you totally know it’s not? This is nothing like that. Nanowrimo really is awesome. Do it!

2. Because your inner editor needs to shut up. The point of nanowrimo is to create without restraint. The strict deadline, combined with a just-out-of-reach/seemingly impossible word count goal, is designed to force you to write without editing. If you have to write nearly 1,700 words in a day, there is no time to agonize over every single sentence and turning the “perfect” phrase every time! Being a slave to one’s “inner editor” is a pitfall for everyone, not just writers. That little voice who is always telling you not to try something new because you don’t “know how”? Or because you’re “not prepared” or “don’t have time”? That’s your inner editor. Learning how to tell her to shut the hell up will help you do a lot of things better and easier, I promise. Nanowrimo locks your inner editor in a deep, dark dungeon and doesn’t let her out until December 1. That’ll teach her who’s boss!

3. Because it’ll make you feel good. How many times a year do we get to complete a truly challenging task, and get to really enjoy a that well-earned sense of accomplishment? How many people do you know who have written a novel? Even if you’ve never ever wanted to “be a writer” (like me), you know that completing a manuscript is a pretty big deal. You think checking everything off your Saturday to-do list feels good, wait until you finish nanowrimo!

4. Because everybody’s doing it. Just FYI there are lots of professional, paid writers who participate in nanowrimo to get their first drafts done. There are lots of writing coaches and English teachers all over the country who use nanowrimo to teach their students how to turn off the urge to edit and to unleash their creativity. It’s not just crazy people like me.

5. Because Kurt Vonnegut says you should. Quoth my favorite author: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good justification for weekly craft night as well. Thanks Kurt!

There you have it folks, five excellent reasons to just do it. You don’t have to let anybody read what you write. Don’t worry about what to write about, or the fact that you’ve never done anything like this before. Just do it!