Guest Post by Shai Ford, author of Rock Your Shop

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When I was younger, I spent many years dreaming of becoming a writer like Mark Twain or Louisa May Alcott. I had journal after journal filled with short stories, character profiles, plot ideas, and sketches. If I didn’t have my nose in a book, I was writing, and I wrote so much that my parents bought me my first typewriter – I was typing before I even knew how to swim or could comfortably skate with my friends. Then, I discovered a love for aviation and abandoned my writing dreams for dreams of being a pilot. Never would I have guessed, during my years of journaling or my years of chasing air shows, that I would go on to write non¬fiction guides for business owners!

Writing Rock Your Shop: A Guide to Building, Branding, and Rocking Etsy wasn’t easy for me. It didn’t take a lot of time, because I had the most detailed mind map and outline I could have possibly created, but the actual writing kept leaving me stumped. After many years of not journaling and 4+ years in college, I was stuck in a ‘college paper’ voice. It took awhile to find my groove and really become comfortable sounding like anything other than a lecturing professor. Here are some tips that helped me get through to finding my voice, writing my book, and bringing it all together into an easy-to-understand guide for Etsy shop owners!

• Practice writing any chance you can get! I started using a website called, and typed 750 words every morning. Most of the time, I simply journaled everything that happened the day before or what I hoped would happen during my day. Free writing kept my creative juices flowing and helped me ease back into using my own voice in my work.

• Map it all out! I’ve used several different mind- mapping extensions online, and my favorite is probably MindMeister. I started off by brainstorming different major subjects that needed to be covered in the book, and then just went to town breaking that down into smaller and smaller subjections. Before I knew it, I had basically my entire book laid out right in a mind-map. I changed things as I went along, but the mind-map definitely helped me get started.

• Measure yourself by time, not word count! I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice, and I love the idea of having a target word count to work towards. What worked best for me, though, in reaching that large goal, was to break it down into increments of time. If I told myself ‘I want to write 500 words by dinner’, I could either slam out those words or I could get writer’s block and those 500 words take me all night. Instead, I would just sit down to type for 20 minutes, take a 5-10 minute break, and then go back to typing for 20 minutes. Sometimes I typed non-stop the entire time, and sometimes I struggled a bit, but knowing I only had 20 minutes each time made it easier to get through.

• Give yourself permission to skip around. I wrote a lot of my first draft in Google Docs, and I had unfinished sections for weeks before I would get back around to them. For instance, I started writing the section on photography but then found myself being distracted by other parts of branding. Instead of forcing myself to finish the photography section, I wrote the other parts and just came back to it. If you go where your mind and fingers want to go, you’ll have much less resistance, even if it’s not always the most logical way of finishing things.

Rock Your Shop

Rock Your Shop: A Guide to Building, Branding, and Rocking Etsy

By Shai Ford

Genre: Creative Business, How-to, Art & Design


‘Rock Your Shop: A Guide to Building, Branding, and Rocking Etsy’ is a one-stop guidebook for both newbie and veteran Etsians alike. From creating your shop all the way down to branding and SEO, Shai Ford pulls from 8.5 years of selling on Etsy and 4 years of social media marketing and branding, along with interviews, tips, and examples from successful sellers, to walk you step-by-step through creating, branding, and marketing your own shop.

Author Bio

ShaiShai Ford is a 29-year-old mom, social media campaign manager, and Etsy veteran. She currently runs her own Etsy shop as well as, and offers one-on-one business coaching for Etsians and other small business folks, targeting everything from product creation to social media marketing. As an artist, and a peace and social justice rights activist, Shai loves helping and watching ‘the little man’ succeed and reach their dreams.




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The author is offering 10 ebook copies of Rock Your Shop OR a professional critique of your Etsy shop – Winner’s Choice!

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About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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11 Responses to Guest Post by Shai Ford, author of Rock Your Shop

  1. Illuminating guest post. I might give Mindmeister a look. I haven’t tried mind-mapping yet. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Great tips. I think permission to skip around is difficult to grasp. We often want to go from scene to scene in order. But this is so easily fixed with today’s technology. Write what is inspiring today!!

  3. cleemckenzie says:

    The skipping around part was hard for me at first, but now it’s all I do. Somehow it’s very freeing and then putting all of the writing back together so the story’s there is quite exciting.

  4. Nick Wilford says:

    Very interesting! I don’t know anything about writing a non-fiction book but I can see how it can be very similar to fiction. I like the part about giving permission to write a different part and come back to a difficult bit, I need to let myself do that as I tend to write in a very linear way.

  5. Shai Ford says:

    Thank you so much for featuring me!

  6. I’ve never heard of MindMeister. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks, Shai, and congratulations!

  7. So much great advice! I especially like the part about measuring time instead of word count. Definitely seems like a less stressful goal to aim for each day!

  8. Great tips. I keep writing my draft, and later I’ll fill in bits and pieces that I skipped. I also take breaks, because that keeps me more productive. I hate sitting around staring at the screen.

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