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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Nerds

Howdy nerdlings! It’s been so long since the last time I blogged; which, when I think about it, is kinda weird. I love writing and I feel like I have so much to say about life in general and I guess about the things I have learned in life specifically. However, if I’m being honest, I haven’t been doing much of anything that makes me happy for quite a while. Ok, let’s back up the bus a bit.

In the fall of 2018, I was struck by inspiration. I realized through some hard-learned lessons that the cost of purchasing the amazing nerdy collectibles becoming available all over the world was insanely expensive for Canadians. So, my first intention was to create a central place filled with nerdy goodness where Canadians like me would be able to purchase the products with Canadian funds which would then be shipped from within Canada with no worries of any cross-border fees or the predatory practices of the international shipping companies and their brokerage divisions. Then I started to talk to some of the amazing and nerdy creators that I was getting to know on Twitter.

I had heard so many horror stories about creators finding their artwork being duplicated and sold without their permission and no remuneration, prospective customers being abusive about the prices they were charging, or customers refusing to pay after the work was done. Not to mention the listing and selling fees being charged by the big E. I thought they deserved better; that I could create a safe place for these folks to display their work, and get paid what they deserve without having to deal with belligerent customers or nickel and dime fees. My dream was a central community of creators helping and supporting each other on a platform where consumers could be assured they were buying original works in support of the originating artist. Welp, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and nerds. Or maybe you don’t. Well, I’m here to tell you they hardly ever work out as planned.

Without going into too much detail (maybe a later post), a big reason I wanted to start what eventually became known as the Nerdychicken Shop of Curiosities, was a need to fill a huge gap in my life. I was forced to step away from an unfinished master’s degree when over 40 years of poor mental and emotional coping skills came crashing down around me. I was a wreck but I knew I had to start building something that could someday support me and my 2 children. I couldn’t imagine a better place to start than my love of D&D, fantasy artwork and all things dragon. I was sure I could do it! Then reality set in.

There was so much involved in getting the website up and running! I was in over my head so I recruited my best buddy, Doug. It took a bit of convincing but I eventually won him over. Of course, this required a bit of a change from the direction I had been going in and I had to learn that this was no longer all about me. I had a few unattractive moments of practically stamping my feet and throwing hissy fits just because I now had to share my vision and compromise. Doug was a real trooper and stuck with me through it all. Honestly, he did the lion’s share of the work. He’s a very good friend. Regardless of all of his hard work, things still kinda started to go off the rails for me.

It pretty much boiled down to biting off more than we could chew, our eyes being bigger than our stomachs and any other metaphor for taking on too big of a job for just two people. We started at the end, with as much of my vision of the final product as possible and precisely zero understanding of how much that would require of us to keep it going. We quickly pasted a massive tree together then tried to jam it into the ground with no root system, so it couldn’t possibly stand. We know now that we need to start with a seed. The right seed, healthy and well defined; one that we can nurture to grow and branch out in the best directions but only when we are ready.

We both ended up needing a break. We stepped away for our own mental health reasons for as long as we needed to feel healthy and ready to go for it again. For me, it got bad. What started as a break from social media eventually turned into a complete withdrawal from almost everything in my life. I stopped responding to friends when they called or texted and finally backed out of my D&D nights. At this point, I knew something was very wrong because my love of D&D had been what had gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life.

Alright, enough of that. Let me just say that was a very dark time for me. It felt like the pain would never stop. I was buried financially and the temptation to give into the depression and anxiety was overwhelming. Now…my financial situation is even worse and not getting any better, but by finding a medication that seems to be having a positive effect on my ADHD ( I think I might like to talk a bit more about this later too) and that, in turn, alleviating the depression and anxiety somewhat, I’m ready to give it another go. I’d say more about Doug’s journey here but that’s not really my story to tell. Sufficed to say, after some discussion and shared promises, the Nerdychicken team is back at it again.

Earlier I said we have a new understanding about the importance of starting with a seed. A solid, central tenet…ethos? Identity? Credo? One of those, I think. Something we can put words to in a mission statement; something to help keep us on track. By talking things over with Doug, and I mean pretty much a stream of consciousness kind of talk, I was able to put words to that feeling of going off the rails that I had from almost the start the first time around. Basically, too much of our attention and effort ended up being concentrated on the shop aspect of Nerdychicken. This was never supposed to be just a way to make money. It was supposed to be about our lifelong love affair with nerdiness and a celebration of a whole new level of acceptance that neither of us ever thought would happen.

That’s where we are! We have redefined our identity by simply making a list of words to keep in mind whenever we are contemplating content for Nerdychicken. Nerdychicken is nerdy, just like we are, and it’s about sharing, fairness, friends, and fun. So, that’s going to be our direction from now on. We decided our content beyond what is being sold in the shop only has to have one qualifier: it’s something that matters to us.

We are going to start working on our own creations and this means lighting a fire under Doug’s butt! He is such a talented artist! Our blog posts will be about whatever our little hearts’ desire, but some ideas we’ve floated are so much fun and I can’t wait for everybody to be in on it! Anyway, that’s probably it for now. I can’t wait to see where we go from here and I hope you’ll come along for the journey and maybe even pop in to say hi!

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4 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Nerds

  1. Now yer gettin’ it! This is where you need to be. Tell your tale, empty your brain of hopelessness, fear, and misery – you will find that all you have left is hope and joy. You are fierce and can achieve the dream if you stay true to you – by tying your tales to the art and creativity you promote you will build the community you want.
    I told a colleague just yesterday that getting all the crap I’d allowed to fill my black, wizened soul outside myself was what let me, finally, be happy in my little life.
    I want you to be happy in yours.
    Do this. Keep doing it. Then do it some more.
    I’ll be out here watching with pride.

    1. Thanks, bruh. I hope I don’t let us down.

  2. Gosh haven’t we all bitten off more than we could chew on occasion? Knowing when enough is enough, stepping back, making adjustments, evolving, it’s all a part of the process especially for us creative types. Keep on truckin’ nerds, we’re here in the trenches with you. 👍

    1. Thanks, Ferne. You’re the best

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