I blogged like crazy. Now what?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's Next?
Image by Crystal via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Here we are at the end of #bloglikecrazy. 

My hope was that my post for November 30 would clearly explain what's next for me in my blogging life. But the truth is I'm still not sure. I want to do so much, too much. I want to blog about journalism. I want to blog about feminism. I want to blog about Birmingham. I want to blog about my faith. I want to blog about my life! 

And while I believe we women can do it all, I don't think we (or anyone) can do it all at once. 

So I did what I always do: I made a list. I made a list of my writing goals:

  • I want to be a journalist on my own terms. 
  • I want to be a well-known feminist blogger.
  • I want to write a book about feminism. 
  • I want to be a successful, award-winning blogger.
  • I want to write and publish an e-book about blogging. 
  • I want to inspire and empower other women writers. 
  • I want to use my writing to serve God. 
  • I want to do more public speaking (and get paid for it). 
  • I want to land my own column in a local publication.
  • I want to land my own column in a national publication. 
  • I want to see my byline in all my favorite magazines. 

My intention was to then rank these goals, put them in some sort of order and go about attacking them one by one. The goal I ranked first would dictate the topic of my new or revamped blog. But suddenly I realized all my goals were somehow related, that each goal - when accomplished - would just bring me a step closer to bringing another dream to fruition. 

They are all related because they all define me. 

Then I remembered something writer Jeff Goins once said, something I even quoted in a post this month but somehow failed to heed the very advice I was trying to share. Goins says: 

Writing isn’t about picking the right topic; it’s about finding the right voice.

So what's next? Finding my voice. Truly. 

In December you can expect this blog to be a bit quiet. I'm going to spend the next 30 days focusing on finding my authentic writing voice, planning for 2014, and preparing for the next chapter in my writing life. 

You can expect a fun announcement on Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, my favorite holiday of them all. 

I hope you will join me on the journey that's ahead. 

Feminism 101

Friday, November 29, 2013

As #bloglikecrazy comes to a close I'm getting excited thinking about what's next (more on that tomorrow). I've spent most of this month kicking around the idea of starting a feminist blog, which I contemplated last year during #bloglikecrazy but failed to do. I've been thinking about what would make my blog different from all the other feminist websites out there.

I want my site to a safe virtual space for women and girls trying to figure out feminism -- for women trying to figure out if they truly feminists and for those who know they are but aren't quite sure what to do next. How do we incorporate feminism in our everyday lives. I want my blog to answer this  question: What does a feminist life look like?

I Am Thankful For Women

Thursday, November 28, 2013

image via

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for women.

I thank my mother for giving me life and for being my first best friend.

I thank Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and June Jordan for poetry.

I thank Toni Morrison and Kate Chopin for prose.

I thank dream hampton for her words and her Jagged Edges.

I thank Jessica Valenti for starting a feminist website that changed my life.

I thank Joan Morgan for writing a book that helped me define feminism for myself.

I thank Sarah Bessey for showing me how to take my feminism to church.

I thank Geralyn for being the sister I always wanted.

I thank Laura and Charlene for making college even better than I had hoped.

I thank Maisy for making Louisville the hometown of my heart.

I thank Annemarie for being my work wife.

I thank LaTasha for being my person, my family, my friend.

I thank Tanya for long walks and for giving me the courage to run.

I thank Sherri for believing girls can run the world.

I thank Chanda for support, inspiration, and Olivia Pope.

I thank Karri for girl talk that I never want to end and for loving Howard the Duck as much as I do.

I thank the women of See Jane Write for helping me answer my life's call.

I thank the teenage girls in the Women and the Media class I instruct for teaching me far more than I will ever teach them.

I thank the woman in the mirror for stubborn self-love.

The Writeous Babe Wish List

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here are three things I'd like Santa to bring me this Christmas:

The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things

This encyclopedic guide to pop culture, feminism, fashion and more is by the writers and other creatives of the popular website for women Jezebel.com. Reading this would be a great way to spend winter vacation.

If these socks don't motivate me to keep running, nothing will.

This t-shirt by GirlTrek makes the fashion fitness statement I want the world to know.

What are you wishing for this holiday season?

The Journalista Project

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

image via

I have been posting a lot lately about wanting to start a feminist blog. But what I haven't mentioned is that I also have about a dozen other ideas for new websites. (Obviously, I can't pursue them all. I can barely find time to shower as is. But the ideas linger, nonetheless.)

One idea I got a few months ago was to start a blog (or to revamp this one) to focus solely on my efforts to be a journalist on my own terms. I haven't worked as a full-time journalist since 2009, but reporting is still in my bones. I still freelance often and I still see story ideas all around me all the time. And even though I call blogging the love of my writing life, I am still a journalist. When I attended Blogalicious in October I felt most confident not when I was talking about my blog but when I was interviewing people, when I was reporting. It felt so natural.

But I don't want to be a staff writer for a newspaper or magazine. I do, however, want to make a difference with my words and I want to be a role model for other female journalists, especially after watching a TED Talk by reporter Megan Kamerick on how women are underrepresented in the news media and how this results in incomplete stories.

It seems no matter what I do it all comes back to women and writing. It all comes back to inspiring women to share their stories and finding the courage to share my own.

Lessons Learned From My Second Half Marathon

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yesterday I completed my second half marathon. Barely. 

Though I was in great spirits when I crossed the finish line, my body was not in the same good mood. Around mile 11 I hit a wall. My muscles were aching like never before. I started to wonder if I'd even be able to complete the race. But I did. 

And my sweet husband was waiting for me at the finish line (in the cold) with flowers!

I wouldn't say I had a bad race yesterday. Just as I say that when it comes to traveling any plane landing you walk away from is a good one, I also believe that if you cross the finish line and you're not in the back of an ambulance, you've had a good race. Still my race could have been better. 

I wish I could have enjoyed my race more. I wish I would have felt stronger. And I think I would have if I had stuck to the plan. 

When I started training for this half marathon three months ago my plan was to walk this race for two reasons: 1) I was planning to do the race with my cousin/BFF who isn't a fan of running and 2) I was worried my joints wouldn't be able to handle the impact of running. 

Then my cousin broke her ankle. I thought about not doing the race at all after I lost my road dawg, especially after my connective tissue disease started to flare up like a brat begging for attention. 

But then I decided not only would I do the race but I'd also run parts of it too!

Bad idea.

During the bulk of my training I was only walking. Sure, it was very fast paced race walking. In fact, I had reached the point to where I could almost walk as fast as I run. But still, my training focused on walking. Thus my body was not prepared for long stretches of running.  I honestly believe that if I had just stuck to that fast paced walking for the entire race I would have finished in the same amount of time and felt great at the end. 

But I didn't stick to the plan. 

I didn't stick to the plan because I got distracted. I got distracted by a silly need to call myself a runner.  I got distracted by my fear of being the last person to finish the race (even though I had already told myself I didn't care when I finished). I got distracted and forgot the importance of moving at my own pace. 

And I've realized I make similar mistakes in my writing career too. I will set a goal and develop a plan for achieving it but I often fail to stay the course because I'm so worried about what the people around me are doing. 

This race has taught me a valuable lesson. The end of the year is approaching, which means I've already started drafting my list of aspirations for 2014. For each major goal I'm also going to draft a plan for bringing these dreams to fruition. And I'm going to stick with this plan even if the people around me seem to have discovered some quick and easy path to success. 

I will stick to the plan and remember that slow and steady wins the race. 

I did it!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I did it!

I did the Magic City Half Marathon today and I survived.

I'll be back tomorrow with my post-race reflections.


Be You, Be True

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No Pain, No Gain?

Friday, November 22, 2013

I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and stuff,
but Jesus, is this half marathon thing really a good idea? 

I just signed up for my second half-marathon.

The Magic City Half-Marathon is Sunday, so you can see I certainly waited until the last minute to register even though I've been training since September.

I wouldn't register, quite frankly, because I feared I'd back out and I didn't want to waste my money. I honestly didn't make up my mind I would do this until the moment I got out of my car and walked to the race expo at Regions Field.

It may seem strange I was so hesitant considering I've done a half-marathon before and considering I've been preparing for nearly three months. But as some of my friends and blog followers know, I have a connective tissue disease that causes my joints and muscles to hurt so much I can barely get out of bed some days. And for the past two weeks I've felt like crap.

But today I decided I would do the race in spite of the pain. No, actually I decided I would do the race because of the pain. Let me explain.

When I was diagnosed with this dumb disease on January 3, 2008 (Happy New Year to me, eh?) I made a vow to God and a promise to myself that I would not let this ailment beat me. I would not let it win. I would not let it keep me from living my life to the fullest. Fitness, being physically active, is a huge part of my life. I refuse to allow this disease to take that away from me.

And while it may sound crazy, on the days when I'm in severe pain I actually feel worse when I just lie in bed. My joints and muscles start to feel heavy and stiff. I can barely lift my arms and my legs feel like they belong to someone else. This is exactly how I felt Sunday morning. The night before my pain had brought me to tears. But on Sunday morning I pulled myself out of bed and went for a walk. And I actually felt better!

So I'm doing a half-marathon. Again.

Don't worry. I will be kind to my body during this race. (Well, as kind as you can be to your body while traveling 13.1 miles on foot.) I don't plan to be fast. I'm going to walk and jog my way through the race. I'm not trying to break any personal records. I don't care if I'm the last person to cross the finish line (which I probably will be). I'm just going to enjoy the journey through my city and with every step give thanks for the ability to move.

Wish me luck!

Is the selfie anti-feminist?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#feministselfie in the classroom!

Earlier today when I was supposed to be grading tests on American Romanticism I decided to procrastinate for a few minutes and log on to Twitter. I noticed the hashtag #feministselfie was trending and, of course, I had to figure out why. 

Jezebel writer Erin Gloria Ryan posted an article this afternoon called "Selfies Aren't Empowering. They're a Cry for Help." In the piece Ryan argues that selfless are just "a high tech reflection" of the way society teaches women and girls that their physical attractiveness is their most important quality. Ryan briefly mentions an article by Rachel Simmons at Slate that seeks to defend the selfie. 

Simmons writes: 

The selfie is a tiny pulse of girl pride—a shout-out to the self. Earlier this week, the first four women to complete Marine infantry combat training posted a jubilant selfie. (Nancy Pelosi tweeted it as "selfie of the year.") If you write off the endless stream of posts as image-conscious narcissism, you'll miss the chance to watch girls practice promoting themselves—a skill that boys are otherwise given more permission to develop, and which serves them later on when they negotiate for raises and promotions.

But Ryan quickly dismisses this idea saying, "I absolutely don't disagree that the three Marines who passed infantry combat training kick ass, and that photo they took was inspiring... And if selfies were typically jubilant post-achievement photos snapped by women proud of what they'd accomplished, then Simmons' assertion that selfies are 'tiny pulse(s) of girl pride' would be apt."

But most selfless, Ryan says, are the digital equivalent of  "walking up to a stranger, tilting your head downward at a 45-degree angle, duckfacing, pushing your tits together, and screaming 'DO YOU THINK I'M PRETTY!'"

Ryan's article quickly enraged feminists who responded by taking selfies and posting them with the hashtag #feministselfie. Two of my favorites are below: 

taking time out of my day to admire myself in the midst of constant antiblack misogynist degradation.

In my selfie, I am barefoot in the kitchen. STILL A FEMINIST! @Jezebel!!

And so I quickly snapped a #feministselfie of my own. 

Even though I hardly ever take selfies, Ryan's article didn't sit well with me either. It seemed too similar to arguments against wearing makeup or cute clothes. There's always an assumption that if a woman does either of these she's doing them not for herself but for male approval. And that's simply not true. 

I love eyeshadow because I love blending cooper and bronze tones on my eyelids every morning. I wear pencil skirts because they make me happy. 

While I see Ryan's point and while I do believe there are some girls out there are snapping selfies because they want the Interwebz to tell them they're sexy, I can't get on board with the idea of completing writing off the selfie as anti-feminist or evidence that we're all suffering under the male gaze.  

Maybe it's because my friends don't take pictures of their tits pushed together. Or maybe it's because I'm a writer. 

I love looking at the self-portraits of my female friends in my Instagram feed and I see a story -- a valid and valuable story -- in every photo, whether that story is about a major accomplishment or just the story of a woman who loves the way she looks today. The selfie is simply a memento of both special occasions and everyday life. 

Do I believe the selfie is the ultimate tool of self-empowerment? No. But it's not the ultimate tool of misogyny and patriarchy either. 

And why can't a woman just take a freaking picture of herself without needing to justify why she did it?!

When I look through my Instagram and Facebook feeds and I see fierce female faces staring back at me I can't help but smile. No, not every photo is in celebration of a job promotion or college graduation, but nearly every photo -- to me at least -- is a celebration of women. 

I believe feminist writer Feminista Jones said it best: 

The way my feminism works @jezebel is that we celebrate the beauty of all women, in as many ways as possible.

Why I Want to Start a Feminist Blog

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I want to start a blog for feminists still figuring it out. 

I'm still kicking around that idea of starting a feminist blog.

But as I stated in the Ten Commandments of Blogging, "Thou shalt not blog in vain." I need to have a clear mission if I start this blog and I have to be sure I'm not starting a feminist blog just because other feminists I like have one.

So why am I considering starting this blog?

I believe in writing the blog you want to read. And I want to read a feminist lifestyle blog. I want to read a blog that shows how women can practice feminism in their everyday lives and have fun while doing so.

I want to read a blog about how to be a happy feminist.

I want to read a blog that shows women how they can be champions for women's equality and empowerment even if they're not involved in protests and politics.

I want to read a blog that is a safe space for feminists still figuring it out.

I want to read a blog that acknowledges that there is no such thing as a perfect feminist and that expecting a woman to be a perfect feminist is no better than pushing a woman to be a perfect mother or a perfect wife.

I want to read a feminist blog that is ripe with grace and love.

What kind of feminist blog do you want to read? 

Your Blog Is Not All About You

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Today I gave a talk at a social media conference on blogging. In that talk I explained how blogging, especially blogging for a business or organization, is a lot like courtship. Mistakes often made in relationships are made in blogging too. No one likes a person who's self-centered, unreliable or boring. But that's exactly how some folks are on their blogs.

It's not all about you. Even if you're writing a lifestyle blog, you need to think of more than yourself. Consider the value you can add to your readers even when you're sharing stories about your life. Share stories that will inspire, inform or entertain or even help your readers solve a problem.

Consistency is key. Don't be flaky. Decide how often you are going to post your blog and when and stick to that schedule. That way, readers will know when they can count on you for something new. Your readers will feel they can depend on you.

Be creative. At this point it's nearly impossible to find a topic on which to blog that hasn't already been covered. So it's up to you to approach your niche in a creative way and with a distinct voice. As my blogging hero Jeff Goins has said, "Writing isn't about picking the right topic; it's about finding the right voice."

The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Monday, November 18, 2013

I. Thou shalt have no other blogs.

Most people will disagree with me and this is a commandment that I don't even obey. (I run three websites.) But if I could hit a reset button in my blogging life I would and I would only have one blog. I believe that if I could put all my web writing efforts into one site I'd be less stressed and more successful. If you do have more than one blog, you need to decide which one is top priority and focus on it most.

II. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to advertising. 

Making money from your blog through advertising and sponsorships is great, but don't let your desire to make money stand in the way of making good content.

III. Thou shalt not blog in vain.

If you're blogging simply because everyone else is doing it, you should stop now. Blogging is tough and most people make little to no money from their sites. So you need to be sure about why you're blogging in the first place. That's what will keep you motivated and push you to write posts even when you're tired and just want to take a nap.

IV. Remember to rest. 

Even God agrees with me on this one: "Remember the Sabbath."  Yet this is the commandment I break ALL THE TIME. For most of us, blogging is something we do in addition to our full-time jobs, community service, family activities, etc. Thus, it would be easy to spend all of your free time working on your blog. But don't do it. Take a break so you won't begin to resent your website.

V. Honor thy blogging foremothers.

Celebrate and learn from the success of veteran bloggers in your niche. Network with them as much as possible, but not selfishly. Every exchange (and especially your initial interaction) shouldn't be you asking for help, a favor, or advice. Consider ways you can be of value to them. Pass on interesting articles you've read or just thank them for their inspiring words.

VI. Thou shalt not kill thy blog prematurely.

All things must end eventually, but don't abandon your blog simply because it's not generating the traffic you desire. It takes months, sometimes years, to build a loyal following. Just continue to produce good content and be sure you're networking offline and online -- guest blogging, commenting on other blogs, and using social media.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery...with thy blog.

There will come a time when you will feel as if you're having an affair with your blog. Seriously.  And when that time comes you need to check yourself. Be sure you aren't spending more time working on your blog than you are working on your most important relationships.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal content.

Chances are you're going to get ideas for posts, features or series from other bloggers because there's really nothing new under the sun. But taking another blogger's content, especially an entire blog post, and basically copying and posting it on your site is a cardinal sin in the blogging world. I've had this happen to me and to make matters worse the culprit was a huge website. My blood still boils when I think about it.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness about thy life.

Too often lifestyle bloggers publish post after post of beautiful pictures and prose that lead their readers to believe they're living a fairytale. I believe, however, that most readers want to see the good, bad, and the ugly. Now, this is not an invitation to turn your blog into your therapist. Your readers do not want to hear about all your problems, all the time. But a little transparency and vulnerability can go a long way. One way to be honest about your issues without being a Debbie Downer is to write about problems after you've worked your way through them. You can give your readers facing similar struggles quite a bit of hope once they see how you got to the other side.

X. Thou shalt not covet other another blogger's success.

It's hard not to be jealous when other bloggers in your niche seem to have off-the-charts readership and are landing book deals or sponsorship opportunities with big brands. But don't let the success of others distract you from your goals. Determine what success means to you and then sit down and draft a practical plan to make your blogging dreams come true.

Haiku to My Body

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You're mine; I love you

Despite the way you hurt me.

The Wolf will not win. 

My Guilty Pleasures

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Yesterday's list was so much fun, I decided to write another one. Today I'm sharing a few of my guilty pleasures.

Pitbull, the rapper. Yes, I confess. I love me some Mr. Worldwide. I recognize he's not the world's greatest lyricist and his songs aren't exactly woman-friendly either. But the Pitbull radio station on my Pandora app certainly does keep me pumped when I'm running and power walking through my neighborhood and on my favorite trail.

The Real Husbands of Hollywood. My three favorite television shows are Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and Covert Affairs. That means my sources of entertainment are full of dying, lying, and spying. So a girl needs a good laugh sometimes and that's why I love The Real Husbands of Hollywood. And there's a chance I have a crush on Nick Cannon too.

Chick flicks. I've been a sucker for chick flicks since the 1989 release of Shag, The Movie. And, yes, I did like the Sex and the City movies. Sue me.

But I also love...

Superhero movies. If you didn't like The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, or The Avengers I can no longer be your friend. Sorry.

I liked The Avengers so much I created this to be the cover photo for my Writeous Babe Facebook page. 

And speaking of superhero movies, another guilty pleasure of mine is...

admiring men with beards.  As much as I love superhero movies, I am not a fan of Super Man. At all. I thought Man of Steel would win me over. It did not. The movie was over for me once Clark Kent shaved. Yes, I love beards! Unfortunately, my hubs refuses to grow one. That's OK. He's still adorable.

What are some of your guilty pleasures? 

9 Things You May Not Know About Me

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Facebook game of sharing things about yourself your friends may not know is a fun one. Until now, however, I haven't participated. Because of all my blogging I feel like my life is an open book. I feel like there aren't many things my Facebook friends don't know about me. But I'm going to join in nonetheless. Instead of posting my list on Facebook, though, I'm sharing it here.

1. Nine is my favorite number.

2. My brother and I take the game Just Dance so seriously you'd think we were trying out for the next Step Up movie.

3. I once traveled out of the country without a passport.

4. My name has been legally changed four times.

5. I once knew French so well I could read an entire book in that language. Now I only remember curse words.

6.  When I was younger I wanted to be an archaeologist but only because I liked saying the word.

7. I used to be good friends with the Goth couple from The Amazing Race.

With Kynt & Vyxsin

8. I'm not afraid of bugs, Pitbulls, or snakes but if I see a mouse or a rat I will piss my pants.

9. I taught group fitness classes at the University of Alabama Student Recreational Center when I was in college and had plans to start a health magazine and my own gym after graduate school. Maybe one day I will!

Embrace Your Inner Girl

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One of last week's prompts for See Jane Write's #bloglikecrazy was to share your favorite TED Talk. Some of the women participating in this challenge to blog daily in the month of November wanted to know: Who is TED?

I then realized that everyone isn't obsessed with TED Talks like I am. I have the TED app on my phone and my iPad. I show a TED Talk once a week to the students in my Women and the Media class (We call is TED Talk Tuesday) and I watch at least two more a week on my own. I LOVE TED Talks.

I'm working on a TED Talk playlist of sorts for my YouTube account. It will full of feminist goodness of course and the video below will be at the top of the list.

Take some time to watch Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, discuss how everyone (yes, even men) need to embrace their inner girl.

How to Be a Jesus Feminist

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sarah Bessey
I have a new girl crush, y'all.

Meet Sarah Bessey. She's the author of the new book Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women. The book is all about the process of reconciling one's Christian faith with feminist ideals -- something I've wrestled with for a decade since I started identifying as a feminist in my early 20s. 

I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but you can be sure this is how I'll be spending most of my weekend. 

So how am I crushing so hard on this Jesus Feminist when I haven't even read her book? Well, it's all thanks to Bessey's interview with The Hairpin. In her interview she had this to say: 

For me, I was in my early 20s when I began to self-identify as a feminist. I loved having women pastors, seeing women on church boards, seeing women pursuing any life they wanted. So it became a natural thing for me to say I'm a feminist. But then, in the church, when I said it, people would be surprised, and ask these questions—“Do you not want to be a wife and a mom? Do you hate men?”—and they’d ask me what “kind” of feminist I was. I just sort of cheekily started saying that I was a Jesus feminist, a feminist because I love Jesus. It's from my faith that I treat people with equal value, not the other way around.


So if you're wondering how to be a Jesus Feminist or wondering how a woman can be both Christian and feminist, I believe Bessey has summed it up quite nicely and flipped the question: How you can a woman be Christian and not be a feminist? Jesus teaches us to treat people with equal value and that's what feminism, at its core, is all about. Period. 

And this notion of equality applies to marriage too. In the interview Bessey remarked:

With marriage, of course, everyone does it differently, and finds what works for them. But we believe in something called mutual submission, where we submit to each other, and Jesus is the head of our household. 

That statement by Bessey made me want to cry and do a praise dance and kiss my sweet husband who yesterday wrote an article for AL.com about our "nontraditional" marriage, a marriage in which my goals and dreams are just as important as his, a marriage in which I'm not considered a bad wife because I don't have dinner waiting for him as soon as he walks in from work.

So I'm thinking of doing something crazy. I'm thinking of coming out as a Jesus Feminist at church. If you read this blog regularly or know me IRL you're probably well aware that my feminism practically oozing from my pores. But my feminism isn't something I talk about much around my church community, especially since feminists had been criticized in sermons on more than one occasion.

But I have this idea: Next year I want to lead a church-based small group for women during which we will read and discuss Bessey's book. I'll need to read the book before deciding if this is something I really want to do, but leading a Christian feminist small group would be a dream come true!

Are you a Jesus Feminist?

Feminist Text

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

image via

Because of #bloglikecrazy, I spend a lot of time in November thinking about my future as a blogger. Just as I did last year, I've been contemplating whether or not I should be a feminist blogger or a blogger who is also a feminist. And yes, there is a difference. At least there is to me.

When I think about being a bonafide feminist blogger I think about Jessica Valenti who helped define contemporary feminism and gave young feminists a platform and an online community by founding the site Feministing.com.

I think of The Crunk Feminist Collective and Kimberly Foster of ForHarriet.com and all they do to examine the intersection of gender and race.

I think of Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph of SexyFeminist.com and how they're making feminism fun again.

And, of course, when I think of being a feminist writer I think of amazing magazines like Bitch, Bust, and Ms. Perhaps writing a feminist blog would help me one day see my byline among their pages.

So let's say I take the plunge and decide to be a feminist blogger. I could JUST DO IT right here, right now on this blog, but I'm not sure if WriteousBabe.com readers come here for feminist commentary or tips on writing and blogging. So I wonder if I should launch whole new blog with a cool new name.

You can help me decide by answering a simple question: Why do you read WriteousBabe.com? Do you come for feminist commentary, advice on writing and blogging, both, or updates on my life (for those of you reading this blog simply because we're pals)? Leave your response in the comments and/or vote using the poll at the top of the side bar. Thanks for your input!

What decisions are you trying to make regarding your blogging life?

The Freedom of Saying No

Monday, November 11, 2013

Photo Credit: sboneham (Flickr/Creative Commons)

"Write down your NOs!"

That's the message that was delivered to me last night in a dream.

It was a strange dream. I was sick from stress and from eating food that was bad for me (which I always do when I'm stressed). I was really, really sick. As I was puking my guts out some guy (that I obviously knew in the dream, but that doesn't exist in real life) was holding back my hair and telling me, "You have to write down your NOs!"

When I woke up, I was confused. I had no idea what this meant. I still don't. But as I lay in bed this morning mulling this over I was reminded of something a woman said at a blogging conference I attended last month. She said: You have to say "No" to make room for the "Hell yes!"

The #bloglikecrazy challenge has help me realized that the "Hell yes" I no longer have room for is my own writing! I've really enjoyed blogging on a daily basis, but the only reason I've stuck with it is to encourage the other women participating. I'm not doing this because I enjoy it -- even though I do.

Over the past two and a half years as I've been building See Jane Write I've been neglecting writing for myself. I've been so busy encouraging other women to go after their writing goals, I haven't been going after mine. Sure, launching See Jane Write Magazine was a huge accomplishment, but I have no time to promote that project and there's so much more I want to do.

But I still don't know what it means to write down my NOs. And I'm certainly not going to ditch See Jane Write.

I have realized that, other than exercise, there is nothing in my life that I do for myself. And since I don't have children I'm not sure how in the world this happened!

My blog, See Jane Write and See Jane Write Magazine are all for the women writers I hope to encourage. My full-time job as a teacher, of course, is all about helping my students. Even my freelance gigs are no longer for me as I have to use the extra cash to help out family members in need.

But starting today I'm going to make my writing goals and writing for myself more of a priority and say "No" to anything that gets in the way of that.

This may come off as selfish, but if my life is so out of balance that I'm dreaming about stress-induced vomiting something's got to give.

Do you make your writing a priority in your life? Do you spend time writing for yourself? 

What Do You Believe In?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I believe in a God who is Love. 

I believe in women. 
I believe in feminism. 

I believe in sisterhood.

I believe in marrying your best friend; and I believe in the freedom to choose not to get married at all. 

I believe in blogging. 
I believe in books. 
I believe journalism will never die. 

I believe in Birmingham. 

I believe in lists. 

I believe in big dreams and big hair. 

I believe in the color pink. 

I believe in lip gloss, eye shadow, and Essie nail color. 

I believe in denim, blazers, and trendy flats. 

I believe in pencil skirts and dresses that flirt. 

I believe cute running gear makes a difference in your stride. 

I believe in Jillian Michaels. 

I believe I can be a feminist and be a feminine, fit, fashionable woman of faith. 

I believe that "blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her," (Luke 1:45 NIV).

What do you believe in?  

The Post About My Period

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I love being a girl and nearly everything that comes with it. Yes, even that.

Don't be coy. You know what "that" is.

Yes, I love my period.

You may be wondering how someone could love something that can be so aggravating, embarrassing, inconvenient, and painful. Don't get me wrong: I hate being on my period, but I'm grateful for it nonetheless.

For me menstrual cramps and missed pool parties are outweighed by the bonds we girls create because of good ol' Flo.

Just think about the time you shared "My First Period" stories with your girls and laughed to the point of tears. Think about the co-worker you started having lunch with after the day you had to ask her for a tampon. And think back to the pal who taught you how to use tampons in the first place.

Below I've posted a commercial that is funniest advertisement for feminine hygiene products that I have ever seen. But we need to remember that for some women and girls, menstruation is no laughing matter.

In America talking about your period is taboo because some people say it's not "lady-like." But in some cultures being on your period carries a serious social stigma. Furthermore, in some countries, such as developing nations like Uganda, millions of girls miss 20 percent of the school year because they can't afford to buy sanitary products. Women miss days at work, losing income that could make the difference between whether or not their families go hungry.

So remember that the next time you have a woe-is-me attitude because it's that time of the month.

But to lighten the mood a bit, I present to you The Camp Gyno.

How the Pomodoro Technique Is Going to Save My Marriage

Friday, November 8, 2013

This weekend is going to suck.

I had been looking forward to this weekend because it's a long one; we teachers have Monday off. Then I took a look at my to-do list and realized I'd rather go to work.

Things I have to do this weekend:

  • Finish grading 67 essays
  • Grade 67 worksheets
  • Write a rough draft of a presentation I'm giving at a social media conference
  • Write stories for See Jane Write Magazine
  • #bloglikecrazy (which not only includes writing my own posts but also reading and promoting the posts of others)
  • Write a test on Edgar Allan Poe and American Romanticism
  • Draft a study guide for that test
  • Plan discussion for chapters 1-6 of The Scarlet Letter
  • Walk/run 8 miles
  • Clean my apartment
  • Buy groceries
  • Cook
  • Visit two different doctors on two opposite sides of town for two not-so-pleasant medical exams on the same day

And at some point I should shower and eat, but I'm not sure if those things will happen.

Chances are I will be an awful person to live with this weekend, and not just because I probably won't bathe. When I am stressed I am an evil witch and my poor, poor husband is usually the victim of my mean girl routine.

But here's how I'm going to try to avoid being a jerk and save my marriage this weekend: the Pomodoro app.

The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo is simple, yet brilliant. You break down your work in 25-minute intervals, taking five-minute breaks after each one. After four work periods you take a longer break of about 20 minutes (enough time to grab a sandwich or a shower).

The technique is based on the idea that the frequent breaks will keep you sharp. And it works!

I first learned about this technique and the app (which is basically just a timer) back in August when my pal Williesha Morris mentioned it in a talk she gave at WordCamp Birmingham.

There's something about racing the clock that helps me focus and be super productive. And as short as those five-minute breaks are, they do actually keep me from burning out too soon.

And the timer turns the process of working through my to-list into a game.

I'm hoping all of this will keep me from having a such a nasty attitude about the fact that I will be spending my entire 3-day-weekend working and the fact that I'm not even going to have time to watch the Alabama v. LSU game. And I'm hoping it will keep my husband from wanting to file for divorce.

What's your favorite app? 

My Blogging Bucket List

Thursday, November 7, 2013

before I die
Image via Flickr/Creative Commons

My list of life goals is about a yard long. Seriously.

But here are some goals of mine that pertain specifically to blogging:

  • Win a Voices of the Year award from BlogHer.
  • Have a post syndicated on BlogHer.com.
  • Speak at BlogHer.
  • Have one of my websites recognized as one of the best websites for women by Forbes. 
  • Have one of my blogs be recognized as one of the best blogs for writers by Write to Done. 
  • Actually make money from one of my blogs or websites.
  • Attend Blogging While Brown.
  • Speak at Blogging While Brown.
  • Speak at WordCamp Birmingham.
  • Speak at Blogalicious.
  • Guest blog for GoinsWriter.com
  • Guest blog for Write to Done.
  • Guest blog for Erika Napoletano's RedHeadWriting Blog. 

I'm a dreamer. I love drafting lists of aspirations, but lately I've been looking at these lists and getting a bit frustrated with myself because I'm not doing enough to make these dreams come true. 

When it comes to my online writing life, I'm trying to figure out what I should do next. Should I pour all of my energy into See Jane Write Magazine? Should I finally try my hand at being a feminist blogger and not just a blogger who happens to be a feminist? Should I simply continue to blog about writing? And then there's that part of me that wants to start a blog celebrating Birmingham. What's a girl to do?!

I'm hoping to make a decision by the end of the month or at least the end of the year and then get busy living a life worth blogging about!

Yes, My Role Model Is 17 Years Old

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I have a confession: one of my biggest role models in life is about half my age.

Tavi Gevinson is only 17 years old but she's been a huge inspiration for me. Gevinson came to public attention at the age of 12 because of her fashion blog, The Style Rookie, which she started in 2008. The blog started drawing nearly 30,000 readers a day and eventually caught the attention of The New York Times, which interviewed her for an article about young bloggers. Because of her blog’s success, Gevinson was invited to attend New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week and even commissioned to write articles for popular publications like Harper’s Bazaar.

Later the focus of her blog began to shift to feminism and pop culture and in the fall of 2011 Gevinson launched Rookie Magazine, an online publication aimed primarily at teenage girls. RookieMag.com, is a huge inspiration for SeeJaneWriteMag.com

You may think it's silly for a 30-something to admire a teenager, but after watching this talk Gevinson gave in 2012 at TEDxTeen, I think you'll become a Tavi fan too. 

In her speech, Gevinson broaches questions like What makes a strong female character? and discusses how one-dimensional portrayals of women in film and television can harm us in our everyday lives. She also discusses feminism and the struggle to figure out what that word truly means. And on the topic she has this to say: 

Feminism is not a rulebook. 
Feminism is a discussion, a conversation, a process. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Currently is a little feature Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet and several other bloggers I follow occasionally post on their sites. Currently is essentially a list of what you're into at the moment and is a great way for your readers to get to know you better. So without further ado...

My Olivia Pope-inspired outfit I wore to the Celebrate Black TV
Scandal Season Premiere Watch Party at BlogaliciousFIVE. 
Watching: After resisting for two seasons I’ve finally been sucked into the Scandal craze and am officially a part of the Gladiator Nation. I shouldn’t be surprised that I fell for this show as soon as I started watching the old episodes on BET. Shonda Rhimes won me over long ago with Grey’s Anatomy and I’ve had a girl crush on Kerry Washington for years. Initially, I chose not to watch the show because all anyone ever talked about was Olivia Pope’s affair with the President and as a married lady I couldn’t get on a board with a show that glorified adultery. But after watching I quickly realized that Olivia’s love affair with Fitz isn't actually the center of he show’s storyline. And -- though I’m probably the only Scandal fan on the planet that feels this way – I couldn’t care less if Olivia and Fitz end up together. I’m much more interested in how Olivia fixes PR nightmares and how she can rock a white trench coat like nobody’s business. And besides, I’m Team Jake!

Listening to: As loyal readers know, my car radio is normally tuned to WBHM 90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR station. But I still make time for music occasionally. Lately, I’ve been listening to Solange’s EP True, Janelle Monae’s The Electric Lady, and Kendra Morris’ Banshee. If you don’t own these you need to change that immediately.

Planning: I’ve already planned all the See Jane Write events I want to have in 2014 and I’m currently working on the 2014 editorial calendar for See Jane Write Magazine.

Reading: Sexy Feminism: A Girl's Guide to Love, Success, and Style. I bought this book back in March and for months it’s been sitting on my bookshelf literally collecting dust. I finally started reading it and I’m in love. The book offers ways we modern feminists can practice feminist activism in our everyday lives and have fun along the way.

Looking forward to: Summer Break. Is it too early for me to say that?

Making me happy: If I’m really honest with myself, not much in my life is making me happy these days. Nearly every thing in my life is draining me dry. I need to make some life changes and I need to make them soon.

Thinking about: Margin. I have no margin in my life. Nearly every second of every day is filled with tasks: teaching, grading papers, working on freelance stories, blogging, running See Jane Write, leading a church small group, exercising, cooking, cleaning. And I have to make time to eat, shower and comb my hair – things I honestly sometimes struggle to find time for. On top of all of this, my family is going through a really rough time right now and I’m dealing with some health issues, issues that are only exacerbated by my stress level. Something has to give. But what? I love all of the things I do, fiercely. How can I choose?

A friend of mine whose life is pretty hectic these days said something to me recently that really struck me. When I asked how she was doing she rattled off all the things going on and I expected her to follow this laundry list with complaints about the chaos of her life, complaints I felt she'd be justified in voicing. But instead she said, quite happily, “My life is full.”

That’s the attitude that I want to have. When people ask how I’m doing I typically give a heavy sigh and say, “I’m OK, just really busy.” 

But I want my answer to be: “I’m wonderful! My life is full.”