2016 Year In Review

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I've only published 25 posts to WriteousBabe.com this year. But if you think this means I haven't been blogging, think again.

This year I decided to do most of my blogging at SeeJaneWrite.net, my blog for my business, because I decided I really wanted to take my business to the next level. In case you don't follow me there (or @seejavaciawrite on Twitter and Instagram), here's what I've been up to in 2016.

Love In a Hopeless Place

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I don't usually write about politics, but last night's election results were not just political, they were personal.

Back to School Commandments

Monday, August 15, 2016

sylvia plath
In my classroom is a quote board and I don't care how cliche it may be for an English teacher to have one. The first quote I post each year is by author and poet Sylvia Plath: "I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am."
Not far from the quote board is a portrait of Plath. When seated at my desk poring over lesson plans and pitiful thesis statements, I glance across the room and look into her eyes. They seem to say to me, "Keep going."
While a student at Smith College, Plath once wrote herself a list of Back to School Commandments, beginning with three rules on how to behave around her new beau.
Image via OpenCulture
Image via OpenCulture
Inspired, I decided to pen commandments of my own for my love and my labor.

More Than a Pillar of Salt

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

As a girl growing up in church, I always wanted to know more about Lot’s wife, the biblical character known only as the woman who was turned into a pillar of salt after she looked back at Sodom as it was being destroyed.
What was her name? Who was she before she was Lot’s wife? Why did she look back despite the instruction of angels to keep facing forward and moving ahead?
In her novel Angels at the Gate, local author T.K. Thorne imagines the answers to these questions and more. Thorne’s historical fiction spins the tale of Adira, who is secretly raised as a boy in her father’s caravan. As she grows older, Adira rejects womanhood as it threatens her independence and nomadic life. But the appearance of two mysterious strangers, rumored to be holy men or angels, changes everything.
With its detailed descriptions of desert life and in-depth character development,Angels at the Gate instantly drew me in. As I read about Adira’s treacherous quest to follow the “angels” I was a nervous wreck, worried about how she and her beloved dog, Nami, would survive the dangers of the desert and the perils of Sodom.
Angels at the Gate recently won the Gold Benjamin Franklin award, regarded as one of the highest national honors for small and independent publishers. When I read a book and love it, I often want to interview the author. This time, I did.
Head to B-Metro.com to check out my interview with T.K. Thorne. 

Why I Don't Believe in Balance

Monday, June 27, 2016

A few years ago I had the honor of attending a lecture by renowned journalist Soledad O'Brien. During the Q&A period of O’Brien’s talk an audience member asked her a question often asked of highly successful women who juggle busy careers with motherhood: How do you balance it all?
O'Brien's answer was quite simple. "I don't," she said.

Let Us Be Writeous Babes

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Let us be writeous. 

Let us be writeous babes. 

Let us be women who write and live lives worth writing about. 

Let us be the authors of our own lives. Let us write well and edit often. 

Let us be writeous babes. 

5 Things I Know For Sure

Monday, June 20, 2016

Photos by Brendon Pinola via StyleBlueprint Birmingham

1. God is Love and Love is Life. When it comes to faith, I have more questions than answers. Though I identify as Christian because I love Jesus, organized religion confuses me to no end. It always has. It probably always will. But I am sure that God is Love and Love is Life. My life should center on loving others and loving myself. I believe this is how we worship. This is why I consider my marriage a ministry and my feminism a divine calling. When I serve my husband, when I join hands with the women of my tribe to help them make their dreams come true, these are holy acts. When I share pillow talk with my husband, when my friends and I share secrets over a bottle wine (or two), this is communion.

Dear God, I Wish You Were a Woman

Friday, June 17, 2016

image via

Trust in God; She will provide. -- Emmeline Pankhurst

Dear God,
I wish you were a woman
Because since I was a girl
I’ve pictured you as a white man
With white hair
Dressed in a long white robe.
And I am not a man
And my skin is a shade of deep chocolate brown.
So how can I believe that I was created in your image?

How to Get a Great Beach Body

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Do you want to know the secret to getting a great beach body?

Run Like a Girl

Monday, June 13, 2016

This month, in the brutality of Alabama summer heat, I am going to start training for a marathon, and it’s all Artney Walker’s fault. Walker is a Birmingham-based fitness blogger and last year, she ran four marathons.
This accomplishment has not only inspired me to start pounding the pavement again, but also got the attention of Weight Watchers magazine. Walker was profiled in the May/June issue as part of the magazine’s “I Love What My Body Can Do” feature. Walker has been a fan of the Weight Watchers diet plan for eight years, but she never thought she’d one day be on the pages of its magazine. “In the beginning, I was in shock,” Walker says of the day in January when the magazine first contacted her. “The day of my photo shoot, my dream became a reality. Being a Weight Watchers member, I knew my story would resonate with so many readers.”
Read my entire article on Artney in the here or in the June issue of B-Metro magazine. 

Summers Are For Slaying

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer is here.

Yes, I know it's not officially summer until June 20, but I'm a teacher, so for me summer began the moment I left work on the last day of school.

But I am also a small business owner.

For the teacherpreneur summer is a difficult dance.

We want to take a break. We need to take a break. We deserve to take a break.

But we also know that summers are for slaying. We know that with no papers to grade and no lectures to write, we have the opportunity to take our businesses to the the next level.

But we also know we can't pour from an empty cup. We know that we need to rest. We know self-care is a feminist act.

After the school year ended, my husband and I took a short trip to visit his hometown. I lounged around reading books. We went to the movies and to the beach. We ate way too much food and spent quality time with family and friends.

But now it's time to get back to work. Now it's time to slay.

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

So here I am greeting June 1, 2016 -- a day that last month the drama queen in me was convinced I wouldn't see.

My Feminist Fingertips, May 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nail polish: Penny Talk by Essie

This month I've had the honor of being the Blogger of the Month for Alabama Women Bloggers.

I've had four guest posts featured on the Alabama Women Bloggers site and I'd love for you to check them out:

In Girl Meets Blog: A Love Story, I shared the story of how I fell in love with blogging and tremendous impact blogging has had on my life.

In the post Home Is Where Our Story Begins I shared my love for my city and I why wholeheartedly believe author Natalie Goldberg's declaration that ....

Next I shared A Day in the Life of a Writeous Babe and gave you a peek into my life beyond the blog.

And finally I offered the Best of Writeous Babe and shared some of my most popular posts.

What did you write this month? 

30 Things I Love Right Now

Monday, May 16, 2016

All pink everything!

(1) Listening to LEMONADE. On repeat. | (2) Listening to Lion Babe. | (3) Being a Writeous Babe. | (4) Dreaming of summer.  | (5) Cousin dates. | (6) All pink everything. | (7) Trips to Target for no reason at all. |  (8) Big hair. Don't care. | (9) Obsessing over Instagram. | (10) Obsessing over planners. | (11) Running in my neighborhood. | (12) Pretty perfume bottles. | (13) My rose-tinted aviators. | (14) YoMo FroYo. | (15) Writing for StyleBlueprint Birmingham. | (17) Calling myself a teacherpreneur.  | (18) Reading myself to sleep. | (19) Seeing the flowers in my yard bloom again.  | (20) Buying myself girly gifts from ban.do. | (21) Writing in my prayer journal every morning. | (22) Collecting quotes.| (23) Motivational morning texts from Shine. | (24) Browsing Blogger templates. | (25) Being a my husband's girlfriend. | (26) Pretending to be a poet again. | (27)  Feeling like a writer again. | (28) Tweeting random thoughts. | (29) Being a girl. | (30) God Herself. 

Why Eunice Elliott Is My Muse

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Eunice Elliott at the 2015 See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con

I felt guilty for feeling so inspired.

When Eunice Elliott took the podium at the recent Birmingham Youth Talk, her aim was to motivate and encourage the dozens of teenagers who had gathered to share personal stories and innovative ideas at this inaugural TED-inspired event.

But minutes into Eunice's talk, I, the 35-year-old teacher who was in attendance to support two of her students who also spoke at the event, was hurriedly tapping out words of wisdom on the notes app of my phone. Eunice was dropping so much knowledge, sharing so many gems, that I had to preserve them somehow.

Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham

Monday, May 9, 2016

Image by Mary Fehr of www.mfehrphotography.com.

Social media may have saved Mary-Berkley Gaines’s life. About four years ago, she was at low point in her life.

“I wasn’t in college anymore and was trying to decide what I wanted to do next,” she says. “I didn’t feel confident with my body because I gained a lot of weight in college. I also was depressed.”
Then one day she was on Instagram and stumbled upon the account of plus-size model Tess Holliday (formerly known as Tess Munster).  “I saw someone who was a true plus-size woman like me—not a size 12,  but an actual size 22 woman,” Gaines says. “Seeing her doing photo shoots and being really fierce and owning all of it and not being apologetic at all about her body—that was when I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Gaines knew she wanted to be a part of the body positive movement, which encourages the acceptance of all bodies, regardless of shape, size, color, ability, etc. “Everyone is worthy of love, success, and respect no matter who they are and what they look like,” Gaines says when asked to explain what the body positive movement is all about. She soon began reading the body positive blog The Militant Baker by Jes Baker and the body positive magazine VOLUP2, which was created by plus-size supermodel Velvet d’Amour. “This idea that there is no right or wrong way to have a body—that way of thinking changed my life,” Gaines says. “It saved my life, to be honest. I was in a downward spiral of depression and I wasn’t being nice to myself. And finding that started to get me to the point where I wanted to be nice to myself. I noticed I was exercising more and eating better and starting to work toward solving my anxiety and depression problems instead of just covering them up.”
Today Gaines is the founder of the Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham Project, the Magic City’s own body positive movement. As the website, BeautifulBodiesofBham.com, explains, the goal of the project is “to inspire people to see themselves and others in a new way.” By sharing personal stories and intimate photographs that celebrate bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, Gaines hopes that the site, which launched in November 2015, will be a safe place for people to get the support and education they need to foster better self-esteem and improved body image.
Read the entire story at B-Metro.com.

Where I'm From

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

That's me with on the left, the one with the awesome yellow socks, with my sweet cousin Kandis.

Let's make today a Writeous Wednesday, shall we?

Here's a writing prompt:

Read the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon

Then, write a poem of your own reflecting on your childhood, family or both.

Here's mine:

Are You Treating Yourself Like the Other Woman?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Why did you begin?

Why did you start your blog?

Why did you write the first line of what you hope will be your first book?

Why did you send out that first pitch to write for your favorite magazine?

All the gurus say we should "Start with why" so I'm doing just that and challenging you to do the same.

I started this blog almost five years because I needed my own little piece of cyberspace. I needed a virtual "room of my own." At the time I was blogging for my job and blogging with my husband and I needed a space entirely my own where I could be free, where I could be myself and where I could write myself back together again when needed.

I have returned to this blog this week for that same reason. I am broken. And the blog I maintain for my business is doing absolutely nothing about it.

So I'm back. For now at least.

I can't promise I will stay. I can't declare I'll now blog here five or even three days a week.

I am hopelessly unfaithful to myself.

I Drank Your LEMONADE and Remembered I Am Great

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I wake
And I want to wrap my wounds with words
And rest
And heal.

But I must return to the battlefield
To fight
To kill.

To Understand the World: Why Ashley M. Jones Writes Poetry

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Photo by Katherine Webb

I have a confession: I am jealous of poet and educator Ashley M. Jones.
I don’t envy Jones because last year, at the ripe old age of 25, she was one of only six winners of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a prestigious award given annually to support emerging women writers with exceptional talent. I don’t envy her because she landed a dream creative writing teaching job at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) as soon as she finished her graduate work at Florida International University. I’m not jealous of Jones’s book deal (her first full-length poetry collection will hit bookshelves in November) and I don’t envy her because last yearB-Metro gave Jones their Fusion Award, an honor given to Birmingham residents who champion diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.
I am jealous of Jones because she is in love—with poetry.
Sure, I, too, as a writer and an English instructor at ASFA, have great affection for the written word, but compared to Jones’s passion for poetry, the relationship I have with writing is mere puppy love. Jones’s love for poetry is evident not only in her written work, but in every conversation you have with her, in every lecture she gives to her students at ASFA, and even in every post she makes to her social media channels. On any given day you’ll find her on Facebook gushing over a new book of poetry she just bought or old work she has just rediscovered. On Instagram you can see her as giddy as a schoolgirl with a crush on the boy next door as she posts pictures of her preparation for her latest lesson. And during football season, when her fellow Alabamians are posting chants of “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle,” Jones simply declares, “Go poetry!”
“Whenever I post on Facebook about poems that I like, it’s usually because I’ve read the poem and caught the Holy Ghost from the poem,” Jones says, laughing and raising her hands in the air in praise of poetry.  “The way that people use words and even the way their message is conveyed [through poetry] just seems more immediate, sometimes more sassy, sometimes more painful. It’s just juicier. And so that’s what I love about reading it and writing it.”
Read the entire article at B-Metro.com

I Contain Multitudes

Monday, March 14, 2016

Image via B-Metro.com
Sometimes I feel as if I’m caught in a love triangle—writing and teaching both tugging at my heart. I was born to teach, but I didn’t realize this until after working in education for seven years. When I was a girl, I named all my dolls and other toys, arranged them in nice, neat rows in alphabetical order, and then launched into a lecture on whatever struck my fancy at the time. The classroom called me early in life, but I didn’t know it.
But I was also born to write. This I’ve known since the day I wrote my first poem. I was only 7 or 8 years old, so it was terrible, and I’m sure it included the line “Roses are red, violets are blue.” But it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the written word. And it was this love that led me to study journalism. I had dreams of working for Essence magazine and one day starting a print magazine of my own.
But a career in education was still whispering in my ear, flirting with my future plans. In graduate school at UC Berkeley, I was a graduate student instructor, or GSI, and taught a communications class for undergraduate students. I was charged with breaking down the complicated concepts and theories the professor discussed in her lectures. I did such a good job that students assigned to other GSIs would ask to come to my class, willing to sit on the floor or stand in the back if there weren’t enough desks.
I applied for Teach for America. I was accepted by Teach for America. I turned down Teach for America. I had also been offered a job as a features reporter in a city that I loved with the man whom I love. Writing won my heart again...
Read the entire article at B-Metro.com

Can You Write Your Life Into Existence?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Image by thestoryscape via Blavity

I'm a girl obsessed with goals. I write yearly goals, monthly goals, and even goals for the week.

But so often these goals get lost in my litany of daily tasks. When my daily to-do lists and my lofty aspirations go head to head in battle, the to-do list wins -- always.

Then I think of Octavia Butler, the black woman warrior writer who, as Kiara Collins so perfectly stated in a recent article for Blavity, "literally wrote her life into existence."

Within her personal journals, Butler boldly declared that her novels would be a success, that she would be "a bestselling writer," that her books would be "read by millions of people" and that she would help "poor black youngsters" by broadening their horizons.

35 for 35

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I'd become one of those people who start feeling down as their birthday approaches. This was happening to me, me who looked forward to 30, me who often utters the words, "I can't wait to turn 40!" because my friends over 40 are so fabulous and fierce.
Yet as I saw 35 in the horizon I started to feel sad, even a little scared. Is this it? I asked myself. Is this all I will ever become? Are my best years behind me? 
But then my hard-won confidence and past accomplishments put an end to that pity party. I wrote myself instructions on How to Turn 35 and now I'm taking my own advice.
As I turn 35 I will laugh, I will dance, and I will dream as I did as a girl.

How to Turn 35

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dear Javacia,
When you turn 35, you must celebrate all month long. When you turn 35, you must celebrate first with a look back. You will discover that 34 was quite the year.
Thirty-four was the year you built your labor of love—See Jane Write—into a business and learned that if you take yourself seriously as an entrepreneur, other people will, too. Your 2015 “Top 40 Under 40” award from the Birmingham Business Journal is proof.
Thirty-four was the year you and your husband bought a house, something you never thought you could do. When you were younger, you saw homeownership as something reserved for folks from wealthy families. Your family never had much money. Even though your parents worked very, very hard, they always struggled to make ends meet. They weren’t able to purchase a house and you saw your fair share of eviction notices taped to the front door. But 34 was the year you declared you would go after all those things you once believed were beyond your reach—and it worked.
Thirty-four was the year you were deemed “inspirational.” Because of your work with See Jane Write, Girls on the Run Birmingham recognized you among other local “Women Who Inspire,” such as legendary TV news anchor Brenda Ladun. At the awards ceremony, you felt like a fraud because that night you didn’t feel “inspirational,” you felt like a mess. You were in the midst of one of your most stressful times of the year, a time when you were ready to quit everything. You spent most of the evening in tears. Then several women came to you sharing how you had changed their lives simply by inspiring them to share their stories and write their truth. Thirty-four was the year you realized you could be a mess and still be inspirational...
Read this entire article at B-Metro.com

30 Things I Love Right Now...about Beyonce's "Formation"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Beyonce has had enough.

Beyonce has had enough of y'all talking about her baby's hair.
She's had enough of y'all talking about her man's big nose.

She's had enough of her people being killed by the very people sworn to protect and serve them.

Goals, Goals, Goals!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's January, the month during which I'm even more obsessed with goal-setting than I usually am.

Over on my blog for my business, I've been sharing my goals all month.

I shared my goals for January.

I shared my bad feminist fitness goals.

And I even set some self-care resolutions for the year.

In my B-Metro column for this month I offer resolutions for women who write.

My New Year's Eve party lasted until after 5 a.m. I snapped this picture of myself once I'd officially been awake for over 24 hours! 

So what are you goals or resolutions for 2016? I'd love to hear all about them.

If you'd like to stay up-to-date with everything I'm doing this year, be sure to subscribe to the email list for my business blog and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope @seejavaciawrite.