I’m back in Denver, for those of you who haven’t been informed. I just marked my year anniversary back home last month. And it’s been a good year. Currently I am sitting in a brand spanking new building on Auraria campus. The room I am in has windows for walls and I am overlooking the autumn leaves on campus with the city standing right behind all of it like skyscraper guardians in a gray granite sky. I graduated from Metro, at this campus, three years ago, and now here I am again. But this time I’m working here part time and thinking about how much things change and how much things tend to circle back around.
As with most circular things, it’s hard to find a place to begin. Let’s review a bit shall we? So there was that 13 month stint I pulled in Japan. That was something. Then for 3 or 4 months I wandered around Asia. Saw a good part of Japan, some of Thailand, a dash of Laos, a pinch of Cambodia, and a spoonful of India. I tried to write about it all, but words fail. I’m picturing myself someday as an older man with graying hair and a crystal clear memory pouring over my journals and notes of the time and recollecting something brilliant to put down on paper. Until then, it’s just until then. I’ve got a lot of present to focus on currently, so the past will have to stay that way for a bit, until it’s time to come back to it.
Now to catch up on the past year. It was a bit rough at first, no getting around that. It was fantastic and overwhelming to see all my family and friends again. It’s really interesting how a year and a half can feel like a lifetime gone by. But it’s doubly interesting how relationships can resume despite or maybe in response to all the changes that everyone has made, or not made. I spent my first few months back home finding my feet. I will admit I was a bit wobbly at first. The U.S. of A is really, truly, incredibly strange. Everywhere in the world is very strange, but when you get used to something it’s the new normal. I had a lot to readjust to when I got home, but I worked it out. I found work, dropped work, started businesses, and kept myself busy. Since I’ve been back I’ve worked 5 jobs. I’m still currently working 3 of them. I’ve started 3 small businesses. And I fell madly in love with the most beautiful woman in the world. This isn’t the place for gushing currently so I’ll stop there.
Now, to get to the title and the point of this particular blog. Branding. I’m learning a lot about the business world, marketing and entrepreneuring (real word?). The businesses that I’ve started are as follows: Radicle Botanicals (https://www.facebook.com/radiclebotanicals) a natural health and body care company. I make chapsticks, lip balms, healing balms, and things you don’t see very often like natural deodorants that actually work and tooth powders, plus bath salts, sugar scrubs, tinctures, etc. Little Lotus Yoga of Denver LLC is one of my other businesses. I teach yoga to children. Children teach me yoga. I tell them stories and they do poses to the stories and we play lots of awesome games. Best job I’ve ever had, and I made it up, out of thin air. And the third business is Coyote Tales Productions LLP. This business is a partnership with Patrick Cross, one of my oldest friends and illustrator of One Day as a Raven (https://www.facebook.com/OneDayAsARaven), our self-published young person’s picture book. We’ve been slanging this book around since May, giving readings, needling our way into a few stores and generally been pushing children’s books on anyone and everyone who will give us the time of day. It’s rough being an entrepreneur.
So now I’m at the real point. Branding. I know I said it before, but I’m serious this time. First we must define branding. I’ll give you a few definitions. Entrepreneur.com says “your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” Businessdictionary.com says “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.” And the almighty Wikipedia says this about brands and branding “People engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand is therefore one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace.”
I’ve been told that it’s time for me to “brand” myself. Another interesting thing I learned from Wikipedia is that brand comes from Old Norse “brandr” and it means to burn. As in burning your mark on your property or your product. I’m picturing all those poor cows getting a hot iron to the rump. And this is what I’m supposed to do to myself? Or is it the minds of my clients and readers that I am branding upon? I wish I knew. Marketing is a foreign language to me. But I’ve learned foreign languages before, so I have hope for myself. I’m just in the middle of the ocean drowning right now, eventually I’ll learn how to swim. But swim I must. Since I have returned home I have dubbed this period of time as the life chapter in which I put my “Big Boy” pants on. In which I renounce the job world and seek the career world. In which I deny my childish ways and relinquish myself to manhood. In which I discard wishy washy fantasies and try to manifest lifelong dreams. All the while I am trying to be serious, but not debilitatingly so, business minded, but still open minded, and burningly ambitious, but not so much so that I set myself ablaze. I think I’m doing ok.
I still haven’t gotten to the real point. I think I might be afraid, or at least intimidated to say it. So here it is. I’m just going to put it out there. I’m just going to write it on the wall. Shout it from the e-rooftops. Say it loud and proud. Ready? Ok.
I am a writer.
It’s what I’ve always been since I learned how to scribble the symbols of this weird language. It’s what I always will be. It’s the most constant nature of myself that has been with me everywhere and every when of my life. It’s not going to change and I never want it to. And now it’s time to embrace it, run with it, and see what comes. I have a publisher (https://www.facebook.com/bepublishingorg). In spring of 2014 there will be a re-release of One Day as a Raven, along with a little book on Little Lotus Yoga children’s stories. Then there will be the Grumpy Frumpalump. And then, and then, and then? I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I simultaneously try to keep my head on the ground and my feet in the clouds, and then switch it around. There is no telling what will come with my writing or with being published. All I know is that I’m giving it my everything. I’m all in. And if that means I have to brand myself, then so be it. If that means I have to start a twitter (@leviandrewnoe) then that is what I must do. If that means I must blog and blog and find a place for social media in my life, then I will. Whatever it takes.
So this is my announcement. I’m here, I’m a writer, and I want you to read my writing. So share. Tell me what you want to hear more of, less of. Help my put my “Big Boy” pants on. Don’t worry it won’t be weird. Like me, repost me, validate me. I’ve never asked for this before, and I’m not getting desperate, but I’m finally admitting to myself that a writer is nothing without readers. Help me brand myself. Let’s share and network and co-market and make things happen. You know where to find me.