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Archive of ‘Birmingham’ category

Write Yourself Back Together Again

speak your mind

In the wake of the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the Dallas police officers, and others, the past week has drained us all emotionally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically. I do believe that as writers we are to use our words to speak out against injustice. We are to use our writing to help bring about change. We are to speak our minds, even if our voices shake.

But I know that as humans, sometimes tragedy leaves us speechless. Sometimes we just can’t find the words. Sometimes we’re left metaphorically paralyzed by the pain we feel from all the madness around us.

This is why I believe that we must not neglect self-care, even in such a time as this.


Build Your Brand with Speaking Engagements


I have three speaking engagements over the next two weeks. (More info on those below.) Though I’m getting paid for two of these gigs, I didn’t really accept any of these offers to speak for the money.

Speaking at conferences, meetings and other events is a great way to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Speaking engagements are a great way to build buzz about your blog, book, or personal brand.

If you want to delve into public speaking, but you’re not quite sure how, here are a few tips to get you started:


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

Ashley Jones

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.

Read complete article at

How See Jane Write Has Changed My Life

5 years of Jane

Five years ago today I gathered with a group of a dozen women at a local Mexican restaurant to talk about writing. This was the first official event of See Jane Write.



From the first See Jane Write event on March 24, 2011

Today, See Jane Write is an award-winning business and boasts a lofty mission — to empower women to be the authors of their own lives through writing, blogging and entrepreneurship. I want women to write and live lives worth writing about. I want to teach women how they can use their words to make a living and to make a difference. I want to help women build their blogs into businesses and turn their passion for writing into a profitable career.

But when I started See Jane Write five years ago, my intentions were less noble. I started See Jane Write five years ago because, quite frankly, I was sad. Very sad. So sad I could barely get out of bed most mornings.

In 2009 I left my newspaper job in Louisville, Ky., and moved back to Birmingham (where I was born and raised) to teach. The classroom and the newsroom are very different places and I was having a hard time adjusting. And since I no longer felt like a “real journalist,” something I’d wanted to be since I was 15, I was having an identity crisis, too. I was also regretting returning to my hometown and, most of all, I missed being around fellow writers.

So, I started See Jane Write. And that changed everything.


Where Are Your Eyes? : Reflections on TEDxBirmingham 2016

tedx stage

Where are your eyes?

This was a refrain in the talk that writer Tammy Harper gave at Saturday’s TEDxBirmingham 2016. This was a question she asked as she challenged us to spend less time looking at screens and more time looking into the faces of our loved ones. And this question stuck with me throughout the day.


How to Keep Your Personal Brand “Popping”

tanesha and tiffany

One of my favorite Birmingham-based businesses is Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. I’m a fan of this company not just because the popcorn is delicious and not just because the company has been supportive of See Jane Write, signing on as a sponsor for our Scandal watch party and for our upcoming 5th anniversary party. I also admire Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner, the women behind Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, because they’ve done such a great job developing their brand.

If you’re not familiar with Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, don’t worry. You will have plenty of chances to get to know them (and taste that delicious kettle corn). This weekend on Saturday, March 12, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, they will debut a new flavor at Shamfest at the Red Shamrock Pub in Mt. Laurel. What will the new flavor be? You’ll have to be there to find out!

Also you’ll find Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. at Oak Mountain State Park on March 26 for its 9th Annual Easter Egg Hunt and they’ll be back at the Pepper Place Farmers Market starting April 9.

And if you attend the See Jane Write 5th Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 19 at aloft Hotel’s wxyz bar, you’ll have a chance to win a Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. variety snack pack (which will include the new flavor).

But before you go to figure out what you’re going to wear to the party, here are four tips I think we bloggers and writers can take from Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. as we’re building our personal brands.


Celebrate Yourself at SOL Dance Experience


What is SOL Dance Experience?

Finding the words to describe SOL Dance Experience is no easy task.

The SOL Dance Experience website simply states: “SOL Dance Experience is a LIGHTS OUT, free-form dance session for women of all fitness levels.”

And you could go to SOL Dance Experience to get in your exercise for the day. Dancing your heart out for a whole hour will certainly help you work up a sweat and burn off some calories. But to call SOL a fitness class just doesn’t seem sufficient.

You could go to SOL Dance Experience simply because you love to dance, but this isn’t the time to work on your technique or to show off your skills. You truly are in complete darkness, save the glow-in-the-dark tabs (or fireflies as the session leaders call them) that help you stay in your own area and keep you from bumping into other dancers.

The SOL mantra is “Find your light in the dark.”

Last night I went to SOL Dance Experience to celebrate my 35th birthday with a dozen members of See Jane Write. Using SOL Dance Experience as a birthday party isn’t necessarily a thing, but I certainly think it will become one after last night’s session.


Jane About Town: What to Do This Weekend

Arts, Beats, Lyrics

Art, Beats and Lyrics, the traveling art and music tour presented by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Gentleman Jack, is back in Birmingham TODAY!

What began as a local art show in Atlanta, has grown to be one of the world’s largest tours of its kind. In its 11th year, the multi-city tour showcases some of today’s best upcoming artists, along with seasoned veterans in art and music under one roof. 

Works will be on display by globally recognized artists, Dubelyoo, Matthew Curran, and Kazilla. The event will also include live music and a surprise performance from one of today’s legendary music artist. The event is free and open to guests (21+) who RSVP at

Birmingham Boutique Blowout

The spring Birmingham Boutique Blowout is THIS WEEKEND and will feature more than 100 local boutiques and businesses, a cash bar, fun hourly events, and other surprises!

Get your VIP Passes at!

Local artist Natalie Russo will be holding 3 Paints & Pints classes during Boutique Blowout! You can register ahead of time for $25 (or $30 the day of)! at

More info at


What are you doing this weekend? 

Celebrate National Popcorn Day with Naughty But Nice

popcorn day

Today is National Popcorn Day and we here at See Jane Write can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with Naughty Buy Nice Kettle Corn Co., a female-owned, Birmingham-based business.

Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner of Naughty But Nice have been strong supporters of See Jane Write, sponsoring our first ever Scandal watch party.

If you missed that event, you can get a taste of Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn today for free!

Get a free snack pack at Wasabi Juan’s and at Sozo Trading Co. in Avondale.

Recently, I had a chat with Tanesha what it takes to get your business popping!


It’s National Cookie Day!

late night blogging

Insomnia Cookies are the perfect fuel for late-night blogging sessions.

Today is National Cookie Day, but I’ve been celebrating most of this week munching on the treats I recently bought from Insomnia Cookies.

Insomnia Cookies are the best way to fuel a late-night blogging session because they’re open until 3 a.m. AND THEY DELIVER!


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