That’s the question that Girls on the Run Birmingham will explore on Thursday, October 8, Girls on the Run during its Evening of Empowerment. The event will celebrate local “Women Who Inspire” including yours truly!
I am so honored to be among the women who will be recognized at this event. (You can read my interview with Girls on the Run here.)
An Evening of Empowerment will be held at 5:30 p.m. on October 8 at Clubhouse on the Highlands. The evening will include wine, appetizers, and a meet and greet and Q&A with the “Women Who Inspire,” including Molly Baker, the founder of Girls on the Run International. There will also be a screening of The Empowerment Project, a one-hour documentary that celebrates positive female role models.
If you’d like to attend An Evening of Empowerment, you can purchase tickets here. Use the code GOJAVACIA for $10 off your ticket.
On Friday, October 9, the other “Women Who Inspire” and I will have the opportunity to view the film again with a group of middle school girls from across the Birmingham metro area. We’ll also have a Q&A with them after the screening about how we overcame fear to make our dreams come true.
So, what would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?
Last night the ladies of See Jane Write gathered for our first ever watch party to celebrate the return of ABC’s Scandal. We called this event See Jane Handle It and, of course, I picked out a special outfit for the occasion.
Because Olivia Pope loves her wine and her popcorn, I knew the Wine Loft in downtown Birmingham would be the perfect place for this event and I knew the party wouldn’t be complete without delicious gourmet popcorn from Naughty But Nice, a kettle corn company based in Birmingham and owned by two awesome local women — Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner.
Before the show began the Janes had time to mix and mingle and learn more about Naughty But Nice. Tanesha and Tiffany were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug 20 years ago when they were just girls. Growing up in College Hills gave them direct access to Legion Field and the gridlock traffic that football games often brought. So they decided to start selling popsicles curbside, one window at a time. For their next business venture they wanted to sell a food that was as all-American as football and as nostalgic as hearing the ice cream truck. Kettle corn it was! “We hand stir and hand pop every kernel,” Tanesha said.
Last night I also led a 10-minute master class titled “How to Be the Olivia Pope of Blogging.” Here’s how to do just that:
Always wear the white hat. On ABC’s Scandal wearing the white hat means being the good guy or doing the right thing. Be ethical in your blogging. Don’t steal content or post images you don’t have permission to use. Be kind to your readers and to fellow bloggers. And strive to inspire or encourage others with every post.
But let’s also recognize that Kerry Washington looks fabulous in that white hat and in everything else she wears. So I want to encourage you to dress like a fashion blogger even if you’re not one. In the world of blogging you are your brand and you want to make sure you represent that brand well by always looking your best. This applies to your blog too. Make sure your website is updated, easy to read and navigate, and is aesthetically pleasing. (Pro tip: When possible, be sure that your images are as wide as your posts column.)
Let your readers know it’s handled. Like Olivia Pope, be a fixer. With every post seek to solve a problem for your readers. Even if you’re a fashion blogger posting an outfit of the day, your posts are still inspiring your readers to better their wardrobes so they can have more confidence to go out and handle their days.
Gather your gladiators. We all love Olivia Pope but she couldn’t do much of what she does without crazy Quinn and Huck. Likewise, every blogger needs a tribe. You need a blogging buddy to hold you accountable to posting consistently. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to help you celebrate your successes, and someone to grab some red wine with you when things go wrong.
Last night these women were my gladiators showing up early to help me set up gift bags for guests.
I’m pretty sure my husband thinks I’m crazy. He thinks I’m doing way too much!
The past month has been filled with trying times for our family for a myriad of reasons. To say I’ve been stressed would be quite the understatement. So it would make sense for me to take it easy in September.
But that’s not how I roll.
In the interest of self-care, I will be getting a massage in September, but I’m also hosting not one, not two, but THREE See Jane Write events! (Maybe I am crazy!)
On September 24 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Wine Loft See Jane Write will throw its first Scandal watch party! And this will be a Scandal watch party unlike any other!
Of course, there will be networking but also I’ll be giving a10-minute master class appropriately titled “How to Be the Olivia Pope of Blogging.”
At 8 p.m. we’ll watch the season premiere of ABC’s Scandal while enjoying red wine drink specials from Wine Loft and delicious popcorn by Naughty But Nice, A Kettle Corn Co.
This is a free event, but space is limited. RSVP here via Facebook.
And on September 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at DISCO we will host a memoir writing seminar with Amy Bickers, author of The Geography of You and Me: A Memoir.
Bickers will share the story of how she completed her memoir in spite of obstacles and objections and how she funded the publication of her book through Kickstarter.
If you’ve been thinking of writing a memoir but you’re not sure where to start, you don’t want to miss this event. If fear is holding you back from completing or publishing your memoir, Bickers will give you the courage you need to move forward. And if you need tips on how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign, Bickers will tell you how she raised more than $13,000 to fund the publication of her book. Learn more about Bickers and order tickets to this workshop here.
In addition to all these events, I’ll also be hosting weekly #SeeJaneScope workshops on Periscope. Tuesday at 7 p.m. I’ll do a special broadcast to help you set your blogging, business, and writing goals for September.
Also, please join me at the next Women Business Leaders meeting, 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Homewood Public Library. I’ll be speaking on finding freedom through faith and feminism.
What are you doing to make next month a September to Remember?
On August 1, See Jane Write held its second annual Bloganista Mini-Con, which was presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design this year. As declared by the fabulous cover of the conference program and complimentary notebooks, which were designed by Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design, this year’s conference was all about teaching attendees how to “Blog Like a Boss.”
Here are five simple steps for taking your blog to the next level:
1. Know that you are your brand. During her morning keynote address on personal branding, public relations pro Chanda Temple explained that a brand is not a logo, the name of your blog or your tagline. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” she said. “Your brand is your story.”
I believe that once bloggers truly embrace this they’ll have more confidence to better promote themselves and their blogs as a brand and Chanda gave plenty of tips on how to do just that:
Write good press releases. Be sure your subject line will grab the reporter’s attention. Be sure you’re sending your release to the right person. And be sure you include all the necessary information: who, what, why, when, where.
If you’re hosting an event or promoting your book, create a hashtag for it to use on social media.
Be sure you have a professional head shot and professional business cards on hand.
2. Be true to yourself. This is a theme that came up again and again during the Blog Like a Boss panel discussion that I was a part of along with Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved and Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness. Sure, we talked about ways to monetize your blog: You can spruce up your media kit and begin approaching brands about partnering with you for campaigns and sponsored posts. You could start developing and selling your own products, services or books based on your niche. You could use your blog to promote yourself as an author, freelance writer, public speaker or coach. But no matter what you do, stay true to who you are and what you’re really all about. Don’t agree to do a campaign with a brand that has nothing to do with your niche or is the opposite of what you stand for just because you got offered money.
The panel was moderated by TV and radio personality Eunice Elliott, who is also a comedienne and, as you can tell from the photo above, was absolutely hilarious.
But before the panel, Eunice gave some great advice of her own.
Eunice reminded attendees not to get too caught up in the comments of critics and to instead simply stay focused on their goals. “Everyone’s information about you isn’t always for you,” she said.
3. Find your tribe. One attendee tweeted this: “Biggest takeaway from the #bloganista mini-con? ‘Find your tribe.’ If you are a blogger, @seejanewritebhm is it!”
I always say that whether you’re trying to be the Virginia Woolf of literature or the She-Wolf of Wall Street, you need a wolf pack. You need a group of fans, followers and friends who will support you through thick and thin. You need a tribe. Your tribe will defend you against Twitter trolls and naysayers who leave nasty comments. Your tribe will be your first customers when you turn your blog into a business. And when you publish a book, your tribe will not only buy it, but encourage their friends to do so too.
Your tribe could even help you start your own fashion magazine as Maacah Davis, founder of belladonna magazine and one of the panelists from the Magazine Dreams panel discussion, can attest to.
And once you find your tribe, you need to get to know them well so you can give them the content they want, how and when they want it. Annalise DeVries of Hoffman Media, for example, knows that most of the readers of their magazines and websites enjoy receiving email newsletters several times a week and so DeVries and her team deliver!
4. Be ready to work. If you’re dreaming of seeing your words or photos on the pages of your favorite magazines, Kaneshia Sims of Red PaSH magazine says, you must be willing to do the work to build your portfolio and get your foot in the door.
5. Step out on faith. “Sometimes when you step out on faith, it can be the most beautiful thing,” Jeniese Hosey of The Je Ne Sais Quoi said during her afternoon keynote address. This probably was the most tweeted quote of the day. Jeniese has done just that. Sometimes stepping out on faith can mean cashing in your frequent flyer miles and hopping on a plane to New York so you can network with brands, which Jeniese did. Sometimes stepping out on faith simply means starting to take yourself seriously as a blogger. Jeniese is clearly serious about her blog. She maintains a content calendar and plans her blog posts a month in advance. She has special days designated for scheduling posts to social media. And she sets goals for herself to keep focused. Jeniese recommends you set two HUGE, shoot-for-the-moon goals for yourself each year and several smaller goals. During her talk Jeniese revealed to me that one of her goals for 2015 was to be a keynote speaker at the Bloganista Mini-Con!
An even bigger accomplishment for Jeniese this year was that she was selected as one of the winners of Redbook magazine’s Real Women, Real Style Awards! We’re so proud of her!
And some attendees also scored a special gift from Birmingham Boutique Blowout — a cute koozie and a special discount code for the next Birmingham Boutique Blowout event.
I’d also like to thank Lynsey Weatherspoon Photography for shooting video at the event. Soon you’ll see that footage and more as part of a fabulous brand video for See Jane Write that we’re putting together. Get ready!
If you are truly ready to “blog like a boss” then you should consider signing up for my upcoming e-course Lady Blogger to Boss Lady. In this 7-week course you will learn how to turn your blog into a business without relying on ad sales or sponsored posts. Click here for more information.
On Saturday, August 1, See Jane Write hosted the 2nd annual Bloganista Mini-Con. This year’s conference was presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design and Dionne Love, the woman behind Laura Vincent, was kind enough to design fabulous notebooks and blog planners for all the attendees.
I’ll post the official See Jane Write recap of the Bloganista Mini-Con next week and include fun photos from the event. In the meantime, check out what some of our attendees had to say about this year’s conference:
Rachel Wilson of CaliBama Belle said the Bloganista Mini-Con “made me realize why I love blogging–because my voice and my personality are what makes this blog unique!”
C.A. Marks of Moxie Beautiful said “The afternoon keynote speaker was awesome! Jeniese Hosey caught my attention right away and had my blogging heart pumping with excitement.”
And Christina Renteria of PinkLuxpl almost made me cry with the kind words she shared in her post as she mentioned my efforts to mentor her:
There are not enough words to express how amazing Javacia Harris Bowser is in my life. I went from thinking I can to knowing I can to doing it, with her encouragement.
I especially enjoyed the recap by Karri Bentley of Karri So Very. Karri actually attended the very first See Jane Write event ever, which held March 24, 2011. In her post she writes:
I’ve watched See Jane Write grow from a group that took up two tables at a restaurant, to a gathering of women that fills a large conference room space. Javacia inspires and challenges me. And her brainchild’s latest event did not fail to deliver.
The Bloganista Mini-Con featured guest speakers and panelists, delicious treats and awesome door prizes. If you’re a blogger, thinking of starting a blog, or you’re considering resurrecting a blog that’s been dormant for too long, you should definitely consider attending next year’s event, or one of the other See Jane Write events.
Be sure to check out her post for a great list of key takeaways from the conference.
Katherine Walcott of Rodney’s Saga took a very creative approach to her recap post by posing 10 questions that conference made her consider and giving her honest responses. For example:
1. Are you taking yourself and your blog seriously? Not the hype, the story you have to tell. I vary on this: some days, bulletproof; some days, sniveling wreckage.
One topic that came up again and again at the conference was the importance of building your tribe. This wasn’t lost on Wade Kwon, director of the Y’all Connect blogging and social media conference, who also attended this year’s (and last year’s) mini-con. He writes:
If a blogger, whether solo or corporate, makes it to the community stage where she can collaborate and commiserate with fellow bloggers, she will likely prosper. (We should really commission a study on this …) Those who operate with no feedback and no love may falter sooner.
Which is why we should recognize community at every turn.
I came away from the conference inspired to dive into the business of blogging with the passion that I know will take me to places I’ve dreamed of personally and professionally. (Take yourself seriously! One piece of advice that hit home.)
She also said her biggest takeaway was the importance of building community, the importance of having a tribe. Jennifer says that when it comes to blogging, “finding other women who either blog themselves or love to read blogs, women who ‘get it,’ is so valuable. These are the women you can bounce ideas off of, who will challenge you to work on your goals in tangible ways and who will cheer for each and every success you have.”
If you wrote a recap of the conference, please share it in the comments.
I’ve realized that if I don’t have a specific objective or goal in mind I just can’t motivate myself to find the time to blog.
My relationship with social media is no different. Without purpose, I don’t post. My philosophy is simple: Be intentional or be quiet.
So I’ve struggled to be consistent with the latest social media craze Periscope, an app that allows you to livestream video from your phone or tablet. Your fans and followers can tune in and watch live and even interact with you and other folks watching your broadcast. People use Periscope to show snippets of everything from concerts and conferences to vacations and the silly things their kids do. Because I’m a nerd, however, I tend to like broadcasts that are like informal webinars.
When I first signed up for Periscope I was obsessed with watching informative and inspiring broadcasts by my favorite bloggers and female entrepreneurs. And I was eager to start doing some Scoping of my own. I’ve done broadcasts on why bloggers should use Periscope (it’s a great way to connect with readers), how to land your first TV appearance to promote your blog, book or business and how to do a good job on that first TV appearance. I also one day randomly did a Scope on spiritual practices. And my Periscope practices have been just that — random.
When it comes to blogging and social media, my greatest sense of purpose comes from See Jane Write. If I’m producing content for the women of See Jane Write I can stick with it! And so I bring to you #SeeJaneScope: Periscope broadcasts designed for the women of See Jane Write.
The first #SeeJaneScope broadcast will be tonight at 7 p.m. CT and it will be a goal setting and planning workshop for writers and bloggers. I hope you’ll join me!
Please note I signed up for Periscope with my personal Twitter account, not my See Jane Write account, so you’ll need to find and follow me at @writeousbabe.
Once you follow me you’ll get an alert whenever I go live on Periscope. You can decide to watch then or catch the replay within 24 hours (Periscope automatically deletes replays in 24 hours). You’ll definitely want to catch this live if you can because I’ll be helping viewers plan their goals for August and taking any other blogging and writing questions you may have.