|Image and text copyright Quinn's Quill 2017|
2016 was a bit of a whirlwind year for me in more than a few negative ways - the arthritis didn't really stop giving me gip and I had secondary problems because of that, while stress levels and such were fairly astronomically high as well.
Anyway, lets change the tone and make things a little lighter.
Ever since I was teensy, I have loved to chat - to anyone - family, friends or strangers. I just loved talking to people, telling them things and hearing their stories.
Then when I got a fisher price tape recorder, I imagined myself in my own version of RTE and took great pleasure in interviewing everyone in the house (the tapes are adorable and we still have one somewhere), I was only six or seven I think.
Also, as a child I was notorious for repeating things people said word for word (not great if I happened to have overheard an adult conversation or something I didn't quite understand, but still readily regurgitated), so listening was a skill I had from an early age.
Both Mam and Da are and were, very creative and arty people. Da could take to basically any instrument, he could sing, fix, make or craft anything (as kids, all of the really cool things like doll houses or elaborate castles were all made from scratch rather than bought), turn his hand to any craft or area and could paint, write and do much more besides.
Mam then is also musical, can sing, write stories and poetry and is great at things like upcycling and reusing things (nothing ever gets thrown away, though the excessive hoarding has lessened over the years) and also gardening, making baby blankets or little soft toys etc.
Then between myself and my six siblings, we all have various degrees or smatterings of that creativity or arty nature in some way.
Some of us can sing or play music (I do both of those abyssmally), others are great at anything technical or computer oriented, others office work or admin, teaching and being patient, and then I found my forte in reading, writing and chatting to people - luckily these all work seamlessly together in my work as a journalist.
So, now that for no apparent reason I have gone back to the year dot with my origins as a journalist and how made for this career I was from a young age, let's skip forward to where we are at now with the writing lark.
Since I graduated from my Masters in Journalism way back in 2010, I have been working constantly as a journalist, which I am told is rather unusual, as a lot of people cry foul that the work is not there.
It is there if you are willing to put in the hard graft and don't expect to be working regular office hours and be home every weekend and evening. It is a vocation and you have to love it to stick at it, because you just couldn't do it for a long time if you resented any aspect.
I love what I do and that old adage is certainly true, because I genuinely never feel like I'm at work, I mean yes I get tired or cranky, but that's just being a human with normal limitations and thresholds.
So, after working for almost a decade in the industry, I took a step back after the summer of 2016 and decided to leave my permanent job (not an easy or light hearted decision) and try to find another direction for my life, which may help my health and general overall life outlook improve.
For the first time in more than ten years, aside from bouts of being very ill and not being able to do anything or function to a relatively acceptable capacity, I had time off to do nothing.
At first, it was like a holiday, but without the wage coming in, so you do have to reign that in and remember that all of the funds will not last forever and that bills will still come out of your bank by Direct Debit.
Then, I just went on mad sprees of reconnecting with friends and family and visiting people, I had the life of Reilly sipping tea, having boozy lunches and going for nice walks and lush day trips. Again, you would swear my bank account was bottomless.
Because of the arthritis, I was lucky in a way because I had the luxury of taking my time to find this new direction in my career, as I had the Disability Allowance to fall back on and literally survive on.
It's not much, but it does the trick and certainly takes fighting about money out of the home situation.
So, after a little bit of initial floundering about, I started to write a novel - my first and a deviation from what I usually read, it's a crime thriller and myself and Daniel started writing it together on the way home from a mini break in Europe when the flight was delayed and cabin fever was starting to set in.
That has since been shelved-ish though I dip in and out of it when I'm in the right mood and it will get finished eventually, but sure there's no rush.
I have also always fancied myself as an ideas person, an entrepreneur if you will, but never thought of myself as having any real business acumen.
To combat this and seen as I was not working, I did a few courses with Ballyhoura Development Ltd., mostly on tax, pricing, profit and meeting other like minded people. Well worth it for anyone thinking about doing anything a little bit different or outside their comfort zone.
After that, I came up with and developed the idea of a magazine and I toyed around with a few business models, pricing plans and profit and loss structures (ooh listen to me, that's all thanks to the Ballyhoura courses).
The upshot of all of this is that on March 30, 2017, Quinn's Quill online magazine for Munster became a business and was launched into the world of internet trading and online publications.
While I was only weak for the idea of a physical magazine to have and to hold, the costs of printing, distribution and many other costs were astronomical (like €20k or so for each monthly print run and that is a very high potential revenue loss on a monthly basis) and it made more sense to build on the online brand I had spent years cultivating with this blog (my online baby now that the empire is growing, I jest).
Ok, I will concede that my degree, MA, training I did in mobile journalism with RTE a few years ago and the social media workshops I have delivered all armed me pretty well with the skillset to launch this almost unaided (thanks to my sister Nici though who has been like my website guru, giving me tips, hints and advice between running around after her two young boys and getting ready to welcome a little girl into the world pretty soon).
Other than the cost of registering the company name (€20 online) and a few bits here and there for online ads and sponsored content, and then registering as a Private Limited Company, I have spent very little money and did all of the grunt work myself, in terms of design, layout, templates, uniformity, social media platforms and secondary content.
The vision for Quinn's Quill is that it will be a one-stop shop for all things news, entertainment, competitions, local advertising for all of Munster and much more besides.
I also have to thank the writers who have all generously agreed to provide content on a regular basis for no payment and the people who will be taking on internships, work experience stints and commission based sales roles.
I am a driven, ambitious and hard working person and the beauty of working like this online is that I can work around my health, how well or ill I am feeling and my own schedule.
So for now, take a gander at www.quinnsquillmunsternews.blogspot.com (a new domain is coming, but it will take a little time to build), Quinn's Quill Munster News on Facebook, @quinnsquillnews on Twitter and Instagram and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive email updates.
Chat soon dear readers, Sandy