Confessions of a Bad Blogger

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I feel like a blah-ger, not a blogger.
Last week this blog was mentioned on two of my favorite websites -- Clutch Magazine and  The Writeous Babe Project was included in an article by Evette Dionne called Black Girl Everything: 5 Underrated Blogs You Should Read.

Though I was honored and excited to be included, I was also embarrassed.

I felt my blog didn't deserve to be on that list because lately I haven't given this site the care it deserves.

At the end of last month I devised a new editorial calendar that called for me to post new content here daily. My hope was that this would prevent me from neglecting this blog in the wake of the launch of See Jane Write Magazine. But not only did I fail to keep up with the schedule, but I often would post things just to fill space. I committed a cardinal sin of blogging and put quantity over quality.

New readers who came to my blog should have found insightful posts like Why I'm Reluctant to Write About Not Wanting Kids or Feminism Is For Lovers. But instead they just found filler.

Also, I constantly preach about the importance of bloggers having a mission statement, but I've lost sight of that too. With the launch of See Jane Write Magazine I'm no longer sure of the purpose of The Writeous Babe Project. I can't decide if I want this to be a feminist blog, a blog about writing, or both.

I spent all day yesterday at blogging and social media conference called Y'all Connect. (Head over to the See Jane Write blog to find out how the conference made me a Taylor Swift fan.) And today I'm hitting the road to head to Chicago for BlogHer '13. My hope is that by the time I return to my Sweet Home Alabama I'll have the direction I need.

What struggles are you having with your blog right now?

Writeous Woman of the Week: Sarah Delia

Monday, July 22, 2013

I think I have a new girl crush. 

This week's writeous woman of the week of Sarah Delia of WBHM 90.3 FM. Delia has served as host for "All Things Considered" and producer of local stories for Birmingham's NPR station since June. 

Sarah Delia
Delia has a great love for storytelling and in college hosted a feminist radio talk show -- two qualities that definitely make her a writeous woman. 

Delia is featured on this week. 

During our interview I asked Delia what advice she would give to other female journalists. She said: “It’s important for you to not be afraid to be yourself and to be a woman. For a while I was so focused on wanting to be taken seriously as a journalist that I tried to put my gender aside. But our gender is who we are. I think we should embrace it."

Read more about Delia here

Other new stories on See Jane Write Magazine this week:

#sjwmag launch party pics

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thursday night was amazing.

I plan to say more about the See Jane Write Magazine Launch Party presented by Hamer Law Group on Monday on and 

But for now I'll just let these pictures do the talking...

Tomorrow I'm Taking the Day Off

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm spending part of my day off catching up on some of my favorite magazines. 

Because I am a teacher, I have technically been on vacation since May 25. But because I am a freelance writer, blogger, and entrepreneur I haven't had a day off this entire summer.

I work every day, some days from dusk to midnight.

But not tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I am taking the day off.

Tonight is the night of the See Jane Write Magazine launch party and I'm so excited. I'm so giddy you'd think it was my Sweet 16 party, prom night or my wedding day.

I've been planning my outfit for two months and I even got a room at the hotel where I'm holding the party.

I didn't get the hotel room because I plan to get too drunk to drive home. (I'm too old for that foolishness.) I'm renting a room because it will urge me to sleep in. I plan to get up whenever I want and go to brunch or to a matinee movie with my husband.

Once I'm home I plan to sit on the sofa and and flip through my favorite magazines. Then I'll watch some TV.

And I plan to keep my computer closed for as long as I can.

Taking a day off will be hard because I love working on my blog and my business.

But I know that everyone needs to rest. Even God took a day off after creating the world!

If you're a workaholic like me, I hope you'll pick a day, once a week, to give yourself a break too.

Trust me, you deserve it.

Why You Need a Personal Mission Statement

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Take that vision board to another level with a personal mission statement.
Image by Nanette Saylor via Flickr/Creative Commons

I have commitment issues.

No, I don’t mean I can’t settle down in a monogamous relationship. I’ve been happily married for seven years.

My problem is a tendency to commit to too many things at once. I say “Yes” to nearly everything.

Would you be interested in leading a bible study at church?

Me: Of course!

Will you help me plan a networking event for local bloggers?

Me: Sure!

Will you write a script and help produce a play for our school’s black history program?

Me: You betcha!

This is just a small sampling of all the activities I have juggled at once and this is all in addition to my full time job as an English teacher at a school for gifted students, my part-time job as a freelance journalist for several publications, and the work I do for See Jane Write

Because of this Yes I can! attitude of mine, people assume I’m the type of person who loves to stay busy. The truth is I’d like nothing more than to sit on the sofa all day and watch reruns of Law & Order SVU.

But I can’t because I’m scared. I’m terrified that if I don’t say yes to everything I’ll miss something big. I’ll miss my chance to do the one thing that will eventually make all my dreams come true.

Perhaps you have these same commitment issues. If so, I have news for you, for us: this behavior is actually preventing us from achieving our goals. We’re doing it all wrong.

Over-commitment leads to a life of mediocrity. We’re becoming a Jill of all trades, master of none. We’re doing a good job at many things, but a great job at nothing.

So what should we, the grossly over-committed, do? We need a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement will help us say “Yes” to the things that matter most and “No” to everything else.

So let’s do this. Sit down and ask yourself these questions:

What do you believe is your purpose?
What is your passion?
What would you spend your days doing (besides watching reruns of Law & Order SVU) if money weren’t an issue?

After contemplating these questions I came to the conclusion that my purpose is to empower other women through language, specifically the written word. Therefore, my personal mission statement is:

To empower women through language by writing inspiring, informative, and entertaining works of creative non-fiction and motivating women to create literary art of their own.

With my newly drafted personal mission statement in hand I recently eliminated all activities (with the exception of fitness and some church and family responsibilities) that did not somehow further this mission. And I learned to say no. This was hard. I had to let go of some things I really enjoyed, and turn down some things I really wanted to do, but I knew I was making the right decision.

A personal mission statement can do even more than clear your schedule. It can also keep you motivated when times are tough. So even if I’m writing a freelance article for pennies per word or toiling away on a blog I sometimes feel no one reads, I stay encouraged knowing I’m working toward my mission. And yes, even if I’m writing a not-so-exciting story on a liability insurance company, I believe the very sight of my byline has the potential to inspire a woman who wants to write.

Furthermore, when focused on my mission I know a bad day is just fuel for another essay.
Five years ago when I was a columnist for a weekly paper I got hit by a car while crossing a downtown street. After my body slammed into the wet concrete on this cool, rainy night my first thought (once I realized I wasn’t dead) was, “This is going to make a great column!”

Those are words from a woman on a mission.

What’s your personal mission statement?

Tweeps Tuesday, vol. 3

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

image via Clutch magazine

Early yesterday afternoon I suddenly began to get notification after notification of new followers on Twitter and my blog's Facebook fan page. And I didn't recognize any of the names. I wasn't quite sure what was going on until I saw this tweet:

I clicked the link and saw that I had been featured in a Clutch magazine article on blogs by black women that don't get the attention they deserve. And the result was, well, a lot of attention -- a spike in readership and new Twitter followers and Facebook fans. 

So if you're new here, welcome!

Today is Tuesday which means it's time for me to tell you about some of the folks I follow on Twitter. 

This is the Twitter account of Evette Dionne, who wrote the Clutch article. I'm sure glad I follow her because otherwise I may have missed her post. But I'm glad I follow her also because she frequently tweets out great articles on journalism and feminism, my two favorite -isms of all.

Mariam is a friend of mine from Louisville, but I'd follow her on Twitter even if we'd never met. She's a thoughtful and talented writer and feminist and she blogs at Mariam was also featured in the Clutch article and as Evette Dionne writes, "Redbone Afropuff and Black GRITS is a celebration of black women. The blog explores faith, feminism and all-things Southern..."

I started following Kristin during the last Blog Brunch Twitter chat when I noticed that all the tweets I was retweeting and copying down were from her. Kristin's blog is all about "storytelling with pictures, paper and prose." She's currently offering a Find Your Voice online workshop to help other people tell their stories too. 

Tell me about the people you follow on Twitter and why they're your tweeps.

Writeous Woman of the Week: Susan Schorn

Monday, July 15, 2013

Susan Schorn
Photo Credit: Karin Dreyer Photography
Women writers must learn to say "no," for the sake of our sanity and for the sake of our art. We won't have time to say "yes" to writing if we say "yes" to everyone and everything else.

Susan Schorn is the Writeous Woman of the Week and someone with an amazing story on the art of saying no, which she learned in a self-defense class. This week she shares that story on the See Jane Write Magazine website. 

Susan Schorn holds black belts in Kyokushin and Seido karate and is currently working toward self-defense instructor certification. She writes for McSweeney's and The Rumpus and lives in Austin, Texas.

Her essay "Saying No" is an excerpt from her book Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly, published this year by  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

You can read her essay here. 

Other stories on the See Jane Write Magazine website this week:

Women writers react to recent George Zimmerman verdict
Five Mistakes You May Be Making on Social Media
Time Management Tips for the Busy Professional Blogger
Liza Elliott of Red Camel Press
Man of the Hour: Wade Kwon, director of the Y'all Connect corporate storytelling conference
How to Take Awesome Photos with a Not-So-Awesome Camera
See Jane Eat: Summer Panzanella 

Just Pitch It!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tuesday morning I had the honor and privilege to be a guest on a local ABC daytime talk show called Talk of Alabama. The show focuses on entertainment news and features local events, organizations and various businesses in and around the state. I was on discussing See Jane Write Magazine and our upcoming launch party

If you think I got this opportunity because I'm pals with one of the hosts or I have connections at the station you're wrong. I got this opportunity simply because I asked for it. 

Yes, of course, having connections will help you get the publicity you need or the writing gig you want. But don't forget about the value of a good pitch. 

For weeks I sat around trying to think of someone I knew connected to Talk of Alabama and came up with no one. So last week I threw caution to the wind and just typed up a brief email about See Jane Write Magazine. I sent it to the hosts of the show and got a reply within a couple of hours essentially saying, "How about next week?"

The takeaway is this: if you have an idea, just pitch it! Don't talk yourself out of it by saying the person to whom you're writing will never listen to you because you aren't in some special inner circle. Just polish your idea and then pitch it. And even if you don't get the answer you were hoping for, it's still better than doing nothing and forever wondering "what if?" 

10 Ways to Increase Your Blog Readership

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thanks to Blog Brunch I always look forward to first Saturdays. 

Blog Brunch is "a collaborative network powered by bloggers wanting to share, dream and learn with other creatives in the blogging community" that hosts Twitter chats on various blogging topics on the first Saturday of every month. 

This month's topic was on understanding your readers and increasing your readership. And I took notes for all my blogging babes! 

Here are 10 ways to increase your blog readership:

1. "Remember that your blog is only one part of your brand," said Kristin Tweedale a.k.a. @rukristin. "In order to build relationships, meet readers on multiple levels." 

2. If your readers are fellow bloggers, read and comment on their sites. This will keep those readers loyal and may attract their followers to your blog.

3. Feature other bloggers on your blog.

4. Collaborate with other bloggers.

5. Network offline and keep those business cards handy.

6. Try to get your blog mentioned in a national magazine.

7. Post topics that your current readers will be eager to share.

8. Be active in blogging groups and communities.

9. Host linkups on your blog. 

10. Kristin Tweedale had another great quotable Saturday afternoon: "Be interested in your readers," she said. "If you're not interested in those who are consuming your content, you're not doing it right."

Tweeps Tuesday, Vol. 2

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's Tuesday, which means it's time for me to tell you about some more of my Tweeps.

@JeffGoins Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is the man behind the wildly popular blog Goins Writer. He not only tweets out his inspiring blog posts on writing and making a difference in the world, but also shares other articles that can help us build our blogging tribes and be a positive influence in our communities -- both online and off.

@BritniDWrites Britni Danielle

Britni Danielle rocks. Period. She's a freelance writer and blogger and the reason I've written a few articles for Clutch magazine. We connected via Twitter and she helped me get a couple essays published on the online magazine. (I keep telling you all that Twitter can help boost your writing career!) One of the things I love most about Britni Danielle is her determination to help other writers, which she does through her website, through online courses on freelancing, and through her #GOALdiggers project.

@_IFB  Independent Fashion Bloggers

In my next life I want to be a fashion blogger. But I don't have to wait until that next life to benefit from all the valuable blogging advice offered by the Independent Fashion Bloggers website. Following IFB on Twitter is a great way to remind yourself to swing by the site for some web wisdom.

Writeous Women of the Week: Cheri Leavy and Whtiney Long

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cheri Leavy and Whitney Long
Move over Mark Zuckerberg! There's a new social network on the scene.

St. Simons Island, Ga., residents Cheri Leavy and Whitney Long are the women behind the  Southern Coterie, better known as the Southern C. 

Leavy and Long say The Southern C is the social network of the South, "a virtual front porch for Southerners and all those who love the South." 

Through the site users can share blog posts, photographs, videos, recipes and more about Southern culture. 

This year Leavy and Long decided to take the fun offline with The Southern C Summit, a series of conferences for Southern bloggers, brands, and businesses.

“The Summit Series is a live event designed to offer attendees an opportunity to network and develop business relationships, while engaging in meaningful conversations in an intimate setting,” Leavy says. “It is a great opportunity for writers, bloggers and journalists to learn new media marketing to promote their efforts and the seventh largest magazine in the nation, Southern Living, has editors participating and networking in a casual atmosphere.”

Learn more about Leavy, Long, The Southern C, and The Southern C Summit series at See Jane Write Magazine. 

This week on the See Jane Write Magazine website you'll also find:
a Q&A with Ava Jae from the blog Writability 
tips on how to create a home gym on a writer's budget
out new column for all the geeky gals
a chat with a Birmingham blawger 

The Key to Success Is Not What You Think

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

-- Helen Keller

On Tuesday morning I'll be a guest on the morning lifestyles show known as Talk of Alabama. I'm excited and nervous and I've tried on about 10 outfits trying to figure out what to wear. I'll be on the show discussing See Jane Write Magazine and our upcoming launch party

I'm sure during the interview I'll tell the story of how See Jane Write Birmingham began. 

What I probably won't have time to talk about is the fact that when I started See Jane Write Birmingham in 2011 I had no plans for it to grow into what it has become. Back then I was instead focused on becoming a blogging superstar. I spent hours each day blogging and doing research on blogging.

I wanted my personal blog to be my ticket to all the conferences and festivals I longed to attend but couldn't afford. I wanted to win blogging awards and be featured in best blogs and "Bloggers You Should Know" lists. I wanted my blog to help me land a book deal.

But none of that happened. 

So I decided that I'd just take all the things I'd learned from all those years of writing, reading, and studying blogs and pass them on to other women. Though I continued to blog I decided to stop worrying about my blog's success. I decided instead to focus on helping other women create and expand their blogs. 

That's when See Jane Write started to get media attention. That's when I started to get invitations to speak at conferences. That's when people started to introduce me as "Blogging Superstar Javacia Harris Bowser." 

I'm still far from a true blogging star, but I can say with confidence that See Jane Write has been a successful venture thus far and it's been successful because I didn't make it about me. See Jane Write is all about serving others. 

We may have been told that the key to success is to "look out for number one" but I disagree. The key to success is to have a servant's heart.

To whom much is given, much is required. 

We are blessed so that we can be a blessing. 

Friday Feminist Links on Selfie Saturday

Saturday, July 6, 2013

So time got away from me yesterday and I forgot to post my first edition of Friday Feminist Links. I  was too busy eating leftovers from Thursday's 4th of July cookout.

And today is supposed to be the first edition of Selfie Saturday. So I give you Friday Feminist Links on Selfie Saturday.

The ladies at say Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy bring it in the new movie "The Heat" I can't wait to see it.

We have work to do, journalistas! The Jane Dough reports that men still run the majority of newsrooms.

You must read this open letter to Rachel Jeantel.

Oh how I wish there were feminist camps around when I was in high school!

Tired of the misogyny at open mic nights, this comedian started Open Michelle! 

What great articles did you read this week?

You Made Me Cry

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It was all a dream/I used to read Essence magazine...
(Only Notorious B.I.G. fans will get that reference)
I'm not one to cry tears of joy. I didn't even cry at my wedding because I was determined not to ruin my makeup.

But on Monday, the day of the launch of See Jane Write Magazine, I cried tears of joy. I didn't, however, because starting a magazine is a dream I've had since the days I pored over the pages of Essence magazine as a teen.  I didn't cry because I was exhausted from staying up all night working on the website.

I cried because of all the loving support and encouragement I received from family, friends, and folks who read my blogs.

On Monday morning several people shared links to the website via Facebook and Twitter before I did! I received texts, emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from so many people telling me that the site looked amazing and that they were enjoying the content. People I've never met were commenting on the site -- more proof that my friends were sharing the news with their friends.

I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe you all were just as excited about the launch of See Jane Write Magazine as I was.

And so I cried. And it was all your fault.

Thank you.

Join me at the July Alabama Bloggers Meet-up

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

From Bloggers Who Brunch, hosted last month by See Jane Write Birmingham

Blogging is hard. 

I know some people might disagree. Some people might believe that blogging can't be too difficult since everyone and their cat (literally) seems to have one these days. 

But I believe that being a good blogger is no easy task. It takes creativity, consistency, and commitment.  And I believe it also takes community. 

In her book Writing Down the Bones Natalie Goldberg writes: “Writing is a communal act…Contrary to popular belief, a writer is not a Prometheus alone on a hill full of fire.”

Writers need community. This is why I started See Jane Write Birmingham and See Jane Write Magazine. And this is why I love groups like Alabama Bloggers

Birmingham resident Rachel Callahan started Alabama Bloggers in May of 2009 because she wanted to connect with more bloggers in her hometown. Rachel had made connections with writers all over the world, thanks to her popular blog Grasping for Objectivity, but she wanted to get to know the bloggers in her own backyard. Rachel first launched the group as an online community then took these connections offline with monthly lunch meet-ups. 

I'll be hosting this month's meet-up which is set for 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 12 at Mix Bakery, 1819 5th Avenue North. Please RSVP by July 10. If you're a member of the Alabama Bloggers Facebook group you can click here to RSVP. If not,  you can just RSVP in the comments section of this post. 

The hashtag for this and all Alabama Bloggers luncheons is #AlaBlogMeet. 

I leave you with more wise words from Natalie Goldberg. In Writing Down the Bones she also says: 

“It’s good to know some local people who are writing and whom you can get together with for mutual support…Kill the idea of the lone, suffering artist. We suffer anyway as human beings. Don’t make it any harder on yourself.”

Hope to see you July 12.

Tweeps Tuesday, Vol. 1

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Image via  
Tweeps Tuesday is a new feature here at The Writeous Babe Project and is my chance to tell you all about the people I follow on Twitter and why. Think of this as Follow Friday (#FF) on steroids (and on a Tuesday).

@seejanewritemag See Jane Write Magazine
I follow this Twitter account because, well, it's for my own magazine. You should follow this account because from it I plan to tweet out daily inspiration and helpful information for women writers.

@thesexyfeminist The Sexy Feminist
The Sexy Feminists not only share posts from their awesome blog, but also tweets from other fun and fierce feminists. (And yesterday they retweeted one of my tweets about See Jane Write Magazine!)

@projecteve1 Project Eve
The folks at Project Eve describe its website as "a global meeting place that connects women to the news, resources, networking and promotional tools that help us grow our business." The Project Eve Twitter account is a great extension of the website and should be followed by any and all female entrepreneurs.

@theindiechicks The Indie Chicks is an online magazine that seeks to empower and motivate passionate and ambitious women. The Indie Chicks do just that not only with their articles but also by tweeting out inspirational quotes. Here's one from yesterday:
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ~ Coco Chanel

@mental_floss Mental Floss magazine

You can count on Mental Floss for trivia, fun facts, and links to informative articles that leave you feeling smarter than all your friends. Check out my story on Mental Floss co-founder Will Pearson.

@Hilarious_Idiot Alan Hangover
OK, so this Zach Galifinakis-inspired parody account has nothing to do with writing or feminism or entrepreneurship, but it makes me laugh out loud, literally and in public, all the time. One of my favorite tweets from this account reads: "A brain freeze is God's way of saying, 'Slow down, fatty.'"
That never gets old.

Writeous Woman of the Week: Sherri Graves Smith

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sherri Graves Smith
Each Monday Writeous Woman of the Week will briefly highlight one woman writer being featured in See Jane Write Magazine
I'm kicking off this feature with Sherri Graves Smith. Despite her battle with cancer,  Smith is determined to help others and make a difference in the world. And she's doing so with words. 
Smith writes children's books that feature college mascots and strive teach children how to win and lose with grace and how to be a team player. Smith says, “While there is still life in me, I want to use it for a good purpose. That’s what really keeps me going.’’

This week on the See Jane Write Magazine website you'll also find:
tips on guest blogging

And much, much more!

I really hope you all enjoy my new magazine!