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Finding My Place
This post is about my online business journey and how the new podcast, “Creative Catholic,” is kind of a last piece of the puzzle.
From 2017 (when I left the new age and occult) onward, I played around with a lot of different creative projects. I started several blogs and podcasts on various topics. I tried my hand at nonfiction ebook writing. I created three different Etsy shops.
For a while, nothing seemed to fit but when I returned to my Catholic faith in early 2020 things finally started fall into place. I think the reason for this is that the “spiritual tools” that are available to us as Catholics really work.
For me, these “tools” include confession, hearing Mass, receiving Holy Communion, the intercession of the saints and my guardian angel, the Rosary, saying novenas, praying the Sacred Heart, learning about Ignatian discernment, the nightly Examen, reading the Bible, occasional fasts, Catholic YouTube AND ongoing kind of stream of consciousness prayer.
It’s an incredible heritage but not necessarily a quick fix. I obviously don’t do all of those things everyday or every week or even every month. But I do keep coming back to them and over time which has guided me in my online business journey.
The “Barbara Graver” Blog
Looking back, I think the turn around begin here with this blog. I had been trying a lot of different blogging angles, trying to recreate the popularity of my old metaphysical blog, the Mystic Review. Finally, in the summer of 2020, I decided to just be me – to write under my own name and talk about what I felt was important. So I started the BarbaraGraver.com blog.
I didn’t become wildly successful as a blogger using this approach but I did like doing it. And even more importantly – it gave me clarity. In writing about books and creativity and my Catholic faith, I started to get a better understanding of what these elements of my life meant to me and how they could work together.
I didn’t really see that happening at the time. But it was still an important piece.
The Catholic Book And Card Shop
A few weeks after I started the blog, I reopened my Etsy shop as Catholic Book And Card and started to make and sell printable Catholic prayer cards and prayer pamphlets. I used (and continue to use) traditional Catholic Art and prayers in my designs. I do a lot of research for my listings, so I learned a bit about different prayers and saints that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Because I had a lot to learn about copyright I put the shop on hold several times but I kept going back to it.
I’m proud of my shop now and I like making things, though I still have a ways to go before I’ll be really happy with my designs. But that’s okay. One of the things I have learned is that the people who shop on Etsy are wonderful and you don’t have to wait until you can do everything perfectly to start. You CAN improve as you go along.
I am also really excited about having the ability to sell my upcoming ebook in my shop. Until recently I thought you could only sell PDFs on Etsy (because so -relatively – few people are selling ebooks on Etsy) but you can also sell epub and mobi files.
I love the idea of being an epublished author selling my books in my own little shop!
The Fantasy Fiction Book
In my old life I read and wrote a LOT of paranormal romance and dark fantasy fiction. But once I came back to the faith I found many of the books in this genre (including my own) too dark. Because of that my fiction writing ground to a halt.
After leaving the new age, I spent a lot of time writing my personal testimony. I do think that I will probably publish it – someday. But I never really felt like nonfiction writing (outside of blogging) was a good fit for me. Then toward the end of 2020 I started playing around with a new fantasy idea. Last week, I joined the Catholic Writers Guild and began to meet other Catholic fantasy writers.
I won’t lie. I’m still struggling with the manuscript in various ways. But I’m happy to be writing again and I know that if there is a key, it’s that. From a faith perspective, I believe that our creator wants us to use the talents He gave us. So that’s what I’m doing.
The ebook is a not-really-urban fantasy or magical realism piece. It is about the Nephilim (hybrid angels). The working title is Primary Evil but I’m probably going to change that. On my good writing days I’m having fun with it.
The Creative Catholic Podcast
I am not really a podcaster. I’m a writer and I like to design things and speaking out loud is not what I do best. But I bought a year’s subscription to Podbean last summer and have tried various podcast ideas since. The last was a New Age To Catholic podcast (named after the testimony ebook I’ve put on the back burner). It wasn’t a bad idea necessarily but I didn’t really like doing it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my faith. But I don’t necessarily feel qualified to talk about it “on air.” What I do here in reviewing Catholic books is different. I decided to stop recording New Age To Catholic. But I since I didn’t want to waste the subscription I wanted to come up with a new podcast idea.
I thought a lot about what I like to talk to about. Then I looked over my old episodes from the other podcasts I had tried. I thought about which ones I liked and had enjoyed doing. And pulled out five. My two episode personal testimony – and three other episodes that talked about the intersection of creativity, life purpose and faith.
Using the God-wants-us-to-do-what-we’re-at-least-somewhat-equipped-for rule I decided that sticking to these topics made sense. So I did a little editing and posted the five episodes I’d pulled out. These are the first five episodes of the new podcast. Most include info on spiritual warfare and how that impacts our creativity because that’s relevant for me. But I’m going to cover other topics too.
Creative Catholic Podcast Topics
Topics are going to include creativity and the creative process, Catholicism, writing, design, productivity, confidence, specific creative and spiritual resources, Etsy, spiritual warfare, online marketing, useful platforms, software and more. Just like with the blog, I like the idea of presenting things I want to learn about because it helps me conceptualize. And the podcast also gives me a chance to give back. It is NOT one of those podcasts that tell you how to be wildly successful online!
I’m calling the podcast Creative Catholic. It’s not a snappy name. But the most important thing, for me, is that when people look at it they’ll know what they’re getting.
The podcast (officially Creative Catholic with Barbara Graver) airs on the first Friday of the month. I have a dedicated podcast page at CreativeCatholicPodcast.com and am really happy with the design of the show page. I have syndicated the show to all (I feel safe in saying) popular podcast apps so you can hear it anywhere. It will also post here in lieu of my weekly blog post. Like with everything I do, you can subscribe to it through my email list (which comes with a free printable prayer journal).
I also have a future guest already lined up – Tara Miller (owner of the successful etsy shop Gypsy Sky)! We haven’t decided on a topic yet but I know it will be a great episode.
Becoming a Creative Catholic
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.Jeremiah 17:7-8 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
To be honest, I’m still not sure exactly how it happened. But somehow, very gradually, the life that shattered when I stepped away from the new age and occult has turned into something that’s actually working.
In many ways, it’s all new. Nothing in my online business model is making significant income or hugely popular. And for all I know it never will be. But something better than that is happening. I’m where I’m supposed to be. And I’m putting down roots.
- You can read more about my book idea here.
- To visit my Etsy shop please drop by CatholicBookAndCard.com
- To listen to my podcast please check out the Creative Catholic Podcast dedicated podcast page at CreativeCatholicPodcast.com or search for the show on most popular podcast apps OR check out the player on the sidebar of this blog post (or the bottom of the page, if you’re on mobile).
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