Blog Like a Girl: Nik G. of Nik Star Was Here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog Like a Girl is a new feature here at The Writeous Babe Project that highlights some of my favorite babes who blog. This week we chat with Nik G. of Nik Star Was Here

What inspired you to start Nik Star Was Here?

I initially started my blog after “discovering” some fashion blogs.  I was kind of late to the game, and had no idea it was going on.  I was intrigued--so I decided to start my own blog.  Initially, I figured it would mostly be about fashion and outfit posts and that I would throw in some stuff regarding my change in lifestyle from party girl to wife/mom.  Eventually, the lifestyle aspect became more prominent as I feel like I've been busy with life more than I get the chance to focus solely on fashion and outfits. 

How did you get the word out about your blog and what advice would you give to other bloggers about keeping readers coming back once they find a blog?

As far as my following/audience--I've had an internet presence for years now.  It started out with message boards (particularly hair boards), then of course Myspace gave me a big audience during its time.  So, I think right away when I started the blog, I already had a group of people who right away were into it because they already "knew" me.  Also, I try to make sure that I comment on other blogs that I follow.  I've come to see in this blog world that "you give love--you get love."

Your posts also seem to always generate comments from your readers. What do you do to encourage that?

I actually am not sure what I do to get comments to my posts, but I'm very grateful!  I'm always pretty happy to see that people want to comment or ask me questions, etc.  I don't, however, obsess over it.  I blog as if it's my own little diary of sorts, so whether anyone reads it or not--I'm still going to post what I want to post.  I feel like you have to do it for the joy of doing it, because if you're doing it just for popularity or just to try to turn it into income that will show--not to mention, you may end up very disappointed if that doesn't happen.  

Some blogging gurus say that blogs need a niche to be successful, yet you seem to have had great success with a lifestyle blog. Why do you think this has worked for you? 

I do think blogs that cover a specific thing may do better.  I would actually encourage someone to get a little more specific when starting a blog.  I haven't necessarily done that, because from my past experience on the internet I've come to see that people seem to be interested in me in general for whatever reason. I think people like to see how other people live.  I know that I do. So that's my draw.  Hopefully, I can give some insight on how life changes once a woman gets married has kids while still trying to remain in touch with that piece of herself that will always be her.

My first Clutch article and why writers need Twitter

Sunday, October 23, 2011

If you're a lady of letters and you've been holding out on Twitter, Facebook, and the like, allow me to attempt to convince you to hop on the social media bandwagon. 

One of my favorite online publications is Clutch magazine, which has been called the little sister of Essence magazine. This webzine for young women of color really speaks to my feminist beliefs, my pride in my heritage, and even my love for pop culture. Needless to say, I've been longing to freelance for Clutch since I first stumbled upon the site long ago. 

And on Friday my first story for Clutch went live. My article addresses the lonely black woman narrative (you know, all those stories that claim black women are doomed to never, ever get married) and asks if this meme has the potential to not only be degrading, but also divisive, as single women start to view each other as competition and married women start to disparage women who aren't hitched. 

So what does this have to do with social media? I had the opportunity to write for Clutch (and I now have the chance to write for the publication regularly) because of Twitter. I began following one of Clutch's editors on Twitter a while back. She would frequently post articles and encouraging words that really resonated with me and I would let her know by replying to her tweets. She would graciously respond even though she didn't know me from Eve. 

A couple of weeks ago I decided I would ask her, through Twitter, about freelancing for Clutch. She sent me her email address (which I'd tried finding in the past to no avail) and I sent her a few story pitches. A week later my byline was on the site. 

Twitter is a great way to connect with people who not only share your interests but who could also help you achieve your writing goals. But a word of caution: you should not feign interest in a person's tweets just because you want them to help you get a gig. That's lame and it will be painfully obvious. The Clutch editor mentioned above and I have many similar interests and share similar points of view on issues pertaining to black women. That's why I chose to engage with her through Twitter and that's why I would continue to follow her tweets even if she stopped working for Clutch today. 

Now, go sign up for Twitter and be sure to follow me @writeousbabe

Blog Like a Girl: Kate Spears of Southern Belle Simple

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I believe the best bloggers are those who read other bloggers. With that in mind, today I'm launching Blog Like a Girl, a Q&A with some of my favorite babes who blog. It's only right that I kick things off with Kate Spears of Southern Belle Simple, whom I met this summer at the skirt! Creative Conference. 

What inspired you to start Southern Belle Simple?

I was feeling a little bit burned-out with my day-to-day routine and wanted an outlet for creativity. I never thought anybody would read my blog, so I was mainly just writing it for myself.  

You seem to have a huge following of loyal readers. How did you get the word out about your blog and what advice would you give about keeping readers coming back once they find your blog?

This is one of those things that sometimes feels like a fluke. We don't always know why some folks end up reading our blogs. Some of my loyal readers are my family and friends. Others are bloggers I've met along the way and connected with. I've found a great deal of support from other bloggers in this growing community. We are all in this together and I love how everybody encourages each other, as opposed to competing with each other.  

How did you choose your niche? Do you think having a niche has helped make your blog successful?

When I first started my blog (back in fall of 2009) it had a different name (Small Town, Big Dreams), but I couldn't figure out a way to weave what the name represented into each post. It finally dawned on me that so much of who I am (positive & negative) has been established because of my experiences growing up in the south. I knew that because my love for the south runs deep, I would never tire of writing about it. Plus I wouldn't have to reach very far to find topics to write about because it's just what I know best.

I think having a niche both helps and limits a blog. While I sometimes dream of being strictly a fashion blogger, that's not what SBS is all about so I keep posts on fashion at a minimum, unless they are specifically southern fashion oriented. As far as helping a blog be successful, I think a niche is good because it lets readers know what to expect. My readers can be sure that they will never arrive at my blog and find a post about a hot-button political issue or me ranting about some current event. These types of blogs definitely have a place as well, but that's not what I wanted mine to be.

Why do you love blogging?

I love blogging because it gives me the chance to create something each day and share it with others. Other than the act of blogging, my favorite thing about it is the connection it allows me to make with other people. I have met so many wonderful people, many that I consider real friends (including you, Ms. Javacia!).  

Kate and I at the skirt! Creative Conference

How would you like to see your blog grow and evolve in the future?

I have big dreams for my blog. I'd love for Southern Belle Simple to be a household name. I'd like to publish a cookbook of my anti-recipes, for folks like me who love to cook but are sometimes intimidated by lengthy ingredients lists and complicated procedures.

That being said, I don't care if I ever make a cent from SBS because I just love it so much. I want it to be a little bright spot in a person's day. I think one day blogs will serve as important historic records...letting our descendants know what we were all about and giving them a glimpse into our daily lives.

You do a lot of posts on small businesses. Is this something that you've found has helped increase your readership and foster relationships with the community?

Writing about small businesses has been a win-win for me. One of the desires I have (which I believe is God-given) is to use my blog to help other businesses succeed. If I can do a post on a fledgling restaurant and it makes people want to eat there, I feel like I'm helping that restaurant succeed. I win as well because it provides me with content for the blog and a great excuse to try out new places and shops. We're all in this together and I feel really honored if I can help someone's business grow, even a tiny bit.

Any other words of advice for bloggers hoping to one day have the success you currently enjoy?

There are all types of blogs. Some are personal journals full of family pictures, others deliver breaking news, and others just offer a bit of loveliness in that vast space we call the interweb. I would encourage anyone who wants to blog to dive in. Write what you know and don't try to speak with a voice other than your own. God put something inside each of us that is so special, so unique. I think we are doing a disservice to that if we try to be anything other than who we are. It might sound cheesy but also don't underestimate the power of helping each other. Also never judge the quality of your blog by how many followers or comments you have. Of all the posts I've ever done (a few of which I genuinely believed were thought provoking), my most-viewed post is about homemade pimento cheese. Sometimes we just can't explain these things.

Flash Mob Fun

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last weekend I crossed off the following item from my bucket list:

Dance in a flash mob

Don't believe me? Here's the proof. (I'm the extremely bouncy chick in the pink tank top in the middle of the center row.) 

Special thanks to Jamme Morginn of Crunk Fitness for organizing this (and to Brookwood Mall for not calling the cops on us)!

Monday Motivation: Running Away From Can't

Monday, October 17, 2011

For years I thought I couldn't be a runner. I had plenty of reasons: 1) I live in a society with stereotypes like "Black women don't run 2) I live with the memory of never being able to pass the 12-minute mile portion of the physical fitness test given in grade school and 3) I live with chronic pain thanks to a serious connective tissue disease that even has doctors convinced that I can't run.

But I run anyway. 

Saturday I participated in the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure. With thoughts of those failed physical fitness tests looming I set a goal for myself to complete the run in 37 minutes or less (since 3.1 - the number of miles in a 5K - times 12 would equal 37.2 minutes). I finished in 34 minutes and 58 seconds. 

Because I'm a writer to my core, I couldn't help but consider if this fitness accomplishment had any application to my artistic pursuits and I realized of course it does. 

As writers how often do we tell ourselves we can't do things: I can't be a full-time freelancer because I'm not brave enough to handle such a risky endeavor. I can't publish a book because I'm not talented or connected enough. I can't start an independent magazine or alternative weekly because the economy is too bad. 

After Saturday I decided that I am running away from can't. I'm not accepting it anymore in my fitness life nor in my writing life. Who's with me?

What goal would you pursue if you were to rid yourself of the "I can't" attitude?

Read more about my Race for the Cure at 

Fall Fitness Fun

Friday, October 14, 2011

Photo by oObsessed via Flickr Creative Commons

Fall has been here for a few weeks now and soon cold weather will be moving in and Daylight Saving Time will be moving out. So some of you may be looking for some indoor fitness options.

Check out my latest story in Birmingham Magazine for ideas. And don't worry if you don't live in the Magic City. Many of the group fitness classes mentioned in article -- such as Pure Barre, Zumba, and Body Jam -- are offered nationwide.

If you try any of the classes, please let me know what you thought of them. Stay fit and fabulous!

Black Girls Run for the Cure

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo by Jessica Latten via Weld for Birmingham
As many of you know, I'm a proud member of the Birmingham chapter of Black Girls Run. Thanks to Weld for Birmingham, I was able to share my love for my running group with the entire city with my article 'Black girls run' fast and far toward better health.

Next Saturday I'll be joining several of the ladies from BGR-B'ham in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. If you'd like to support my fundraising efforts, please click here to make a donation.


Scenes from See Jane Write Blogger Bash

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thanks to all of you who came out for the first See Jane Write Blogger Bash. 

We had about 20 women gather at Wine Loft for a fabulous evening of networking and noshing. 

Three lucky ladies won door prizes. Thanks again to Christy Turnipseed of the Etsy shop LilSeeds and the blog Life of a Turnip for donating a lovely Vintage Book Necklace, Karri Bentley of Artistry Skin Care & Cosmetics for the grab bag of beauty goodies, and Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. for the adorable t-shirt. 

Some of awesome blogs represented at the bash include Stellar Fashion & FitnessJamie's RabbitsB Positive Magazine, Pretty Brown & NaturalA Geek Girl, and, of course, Georgia Mae

Thanks to Karri and Antonee for working the registration table!

Thanks to Wine Loft for creating a Blogtini for us!

Here I am with the lovely LK Whitney

Visit the See Jane Write Facebook page for more photos.