Resolutions and Feminists (Or: Plans for 2016)

electricity corn

New Year’s Resolutions are like feminists: if you ask most people about intentions behind the concept, they agree it’s an excellent idea. But the name itself has gotten a bad rep. So people use the word less and less until they stand up and take ownership for it.

But it’s okay to make goals at the start of the year. Or changes. Alter your behavior. Focus on something new. State, emphatically, that you intend to go down a different path. (Wait…aren’t those Resolutions?)

I think people are against negative feelings resulting from resolutions gone wrong. It’s like feminists who speak out against someone resistant to stop doing what he’s doing. Whether or not a change has to be made, the negative feelings remain. When New Year’s Resolutions are broken, people feel like failures. Or they spark guilt or alienation within someone completely unrelated to the resolution.

But if I say my “goal” is to lose twenty pounds, I get a resounding, “Good for you!” “Way to go!” “Best of luck!”

No matter what word you put on it, changes for the better affect more than just one person. Good ripples out, inspiring others. It’s never a bad idea to make good changes.

This year began with more goals than last year. I’m optimistic, acknowledging that you don’t reach high places without climbing there yourself. If I want to sell more books and acquire a larger following I have to spread my “brand” further. I need to give people more of what I want.

So far, these changes are planned for 2016:

  1. A homesteader’s club is in the works for the Reno/Sparks area. After we designate a public meeting place and schedule, it will be open to all people (until their behavior makes them no longer welcome.) It will be a source of education, networking, and support. Eventually we hope to start sub-groups like beekeeping, gardening, a focus on breeding endangered heritage animals, etc. We also want to market our products and services to each other, publish newsletters, and hold homesteading fairs within the community. Our first meeting is in February and we are going to move slowly so we do it right.
  2. I need a YouTube channel. Followers have requested one for years. I haven’t done it because I know nothing about making videos and I believe I don’t have the best stage presence. But several years of speaking at conventions has helped me improve on stage. I’ve teamed up with a young lady who hopes to focus on computers as her career and I hope we can grow together as we both get more followers.
  3. We need a physical product. Not just a book. I write and teach about making candles, cheese, and soaps. I advocate small-scale farming and purchasing local products. Helping low-income families is important because people have done it for me. So we’re going to start an online store. I’ve chosen two amazing women who have been on my “team” for a long time as I advertise and raise seedlings. They’re going to run my online store and benefit from sales. We’ll sell homesteading products: what you need to make the projects I teach. Beeswax, yarn purchased from small family farms, rennet for cheesemaking, aprons and potholders crafted by local families in need of a sales outlet. As we start small, we’ll just be online and at craft fairs. But I’m hoping to expand as demand increases.
  4. I need to write more. Already I’m crafting dozens of articles a month for Countryside and Backyard Poultry. But I need to write more for my fans. My blogs have been dismally silent lately because I focus on other endeavors. So in order to reach out more to my fans, I need to craft one blog post a week, for either or both websites, tweet at least once a week, and post on both Facebook pages at least once a week. If other homesteading authors would like a little outreach, I would love to have them guest-blog with a blurb on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll probably have to write this on my calendar because I have a strong habit of taking care of more immediate needs and pushing the smaller stuff back. But just as I’ve stopped following authors who wait years to put out another book, followers will turn to someone else if I’m not capturing their attention.

And if these goals…resolutions, or whatever…don’t come to fruition, I’ll try again next year. It’s a lot to take on in addition to everything I intend to keep doing. I have an amazing team, a supportive family, and loyal followers. It’ll be hard work but we can get it done.

I would love input. What goals do you have this year? What would you like to learn from Ames Family Farm? What products would you like to see?

About Marissa Ames

I’m a working mom, a devoted wife, an author and a homesteader. I spend my free time eating lunch. My homesteading story began 180 years ago, with pioneering ancestors who made drastic changes to preserve faith and values. With each generation the plot repeats: A diligent father works long hours to provide for his family. An innovative mother fills in the gaps while striving to uphold her faith and values. Children follow in their parents’ footsteps, returning to proven methods when modern times fall short on promises of a better life. Now my husband and I live the lessons taught by our parents, working to support our family through conventional careers in addition to urban farming. We raise chickens and other poultry, rely on large-scale urban gardening, and get through the winter with canning and food preservation. In the spring and summer we grow food; in the fall we preserve it; in the winter we make cheese and soap and chronicle the year’s experiences. I began the Ames Family Farm blog on a whim, mostly to secure the name in case I took my talents further and started a greenhouse or an educational system. What came to fruition exceeded my own ambitions. Now I share my experiences through Ames Family Farm, Countryside and Backyard Poultry Magazines, other publications, and social media. I speak at conventions and work with school gardening projects, advocating sustainability and backyard chickens in urban settings. Mostly, I offer what I can as friends and acquaintances seek help with gardening or homesteading endeavors. My current books in progress include Huntsman, the third book in the Tir Athair medieval fantasy series, and a homesteading series to help budget-minded urbanites enhance their living spaces to save money and advocate a healthier, happier way of life. I continue to contribute to Countryside and Backyard Poultry through it all. I believe homesteading is meant to save money rather than cost more. That gardening enhances health and joy as well as cutting costs, that canning and food preservation are keys to self-reliance when bad times hit. That everyone has the ability to homestead. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment and cannot keep chickens, you can make cheese or sew clothing. Even in a food desert you can budget and preserve food to protect your health and way of life.
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One Response to Resolutions and Feminists (Or: Plans for 2016)

  1. Marissa Ames says:

    Reblogged this on Minstrels and Heroes and commented:

    Another update from the homesteading front. But parts of this apply to my other writing. I intend to keep all audiences more informed in 2016.

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