Julie Schumacher, Well Turned Words

Founder: Julie Schumacher
Company Description: Copywriting, editing and social media studio
Company Site: http://wellturnedwords.com/; https://twitter.com/wellturnedwords; http://forthchicago.com/https://twitter.com/ForthChicago
Date of Interview: July 2015

Julie Schumacher, Well Turned Words

Julie Schumacher, Well Turned Words
Art by Francesco DiBattista

Julie Schumacher is a writer, teacher, community organizer, mother, wife, traveler. She is the owner of Well Turned Words, her own writing studio, and the co-founder of Forth Chicago, “an organization focused on creating intentional events that celebrate community and connect people.”

On going from teacher to writer and business owner:
Julie was a teacher for 10 years and fully expected that she would be a teacher for her entire career. She loved teaching; she had tenure; she loved making an impact on her students. “Still, I felt like there were other things that I could do.”

She took an extended maternity leave when she had her daughter and did some work for her husband, an independent web developer. “I was terrible at it.” However, from that, came the idea of Julie using her writing background to help with copy editing for some of her husband’s clients, creative friends, and collaborators. She ended up spending the last few months of her maternity leave creating a portfolio of her writing samples and launched her writing business, Well Turned Words.

“I learned that there are really different types of writing and that you can leverage and differentiate yourself with whatever background you have. I am a good facilitator, researcher and community builder.”

“It’s been incredible. I still can’t believe I get to be a writer. It’s a total thrill.”

On being creative:
“At Forth, we focus on creative entrepreneurs. Does that only mean people who are doing photography, writing or design? – No. It is more about a mindset and an approach to your work versus the product. You can have a creative approach to how you model your business.”

“People in all walks of life who are thoughtfully engaged in how they do their work and how they’re producing are being creative. There are more jobs now that put the word ‘creative’ in front of it – which opens people up to putting their own stamp on it, doing it in a different way, or thinking about it across disciplines and pursuits.”

On building women-centric community:
Julie is and has been active in multiple community organizations, many of which are women-centric. Her primary “side hustle” is Forth Chicago, a women-focused organization started in 2012 by three creative and entrepreneurial women.

There’s a part of Julie that feels hesitant about excluding men. “I think guys are great!” But she knows that “the challenges that women face, the work that we do, the way that we do it, and the relationships that come out of it are unique. Discussing that unique space that we occupy as independent creators and entrepreneurs was something that the three of us felt really hungry for, and we’ve learned from the response to Forth that we weren’t the only women who felt that way.”

“There is a special way that women work and interact with one another. The entrepreneur community allows that to flourish. Forth allows me to write and to engage in creative conversation with people doing all types of things. There’s also hugging at Forth. There’s not a lot of hugging in copy writing.”

On side-stepping stereotypes and cliches:
“It is so interesting to see the way in which the women of Forth collaborate and share resources. So often the public conversation is about women being horrible to each other. I’m excited that more and more I’m seeing people not just fight against those stereotypes, but just side step them completely. It is like they’re saying, ‘ I’m too busy mapping out my destiny and building other women up to have time to prove that I’m disproving the stereotype.’ I love that.”

“Throw your shoulders back, and step into the person that you are.”

Julie tries not to engage or over think the “can women have it all?” conversation, but is also mindful that she has a “great partner who is a feminist, who is thoughtful, who believes in me as a person- I’m privileged to be in that position. There is a group of women who are 5-7 years younger and will soon be moving into the space of creative entrepreneurship and parenthood; and I want to lead by example for them.”

You can find Julie and her family taking their summer working sabbatical this year in Christchurch, New Zealand. One of her fondest book experiences is Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, partly due to this resonating quote: “Perhaps the most terrible (or wonderful) thing that can happen to an imaginative youth, aside from the curse (or blessing) of imagination itself, is to be exposed without preparation to the life outside his or her own sphere – the sudden revelation that there is a there out there.”

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