Imagine you are a black teenager attending a mostly white school and no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to fit in. Now imagine you pray to a higher power to change your race. And imagine that prayer is answered.
On August 27 I had the honor of returning to my alma mater, the University of Alabama, to serve on a panel at the Blackburn Institute, one of the nation’s most unique and dynamic leadership development programs for college students.
The panel I was on was called “How to Find the ‘Truth’ in the Shifting Media Landscape” and was all about how to discern fact from opinion in a world full of blogs. podcasts, alt-weeklies and more.
Despite my experience as both a full-time and newspaper reporter and a freelance magazine writer, I was there mostly to represent the world of blogging.
During the panel discussion an audience member asked, “These days how do you determine if someone should be called a blogger or a reporter?”
I have notebooks on notebooks filled with tips, tricks and strategies that I need to implement to grow my blog, business, and writing career.
Some of the advice on these pages I’ve actually put into practice. Much of it I have not. I tell myself I haven’t done these things because I just don’t have the time. And to be sure, my schedule is quite chaotic. But last month I managed to blog five days a week and keep my business afloat despite family drama, sickness and a heavy workload at the day job. To quote entrepreneur Melanie Duncan, “Successful people don’t have the time to learn and grow; successful people make the time to learn and grow.”
But I recently realized it’s not the lack of time that’s truly holding me back. It’s me!
Last week I looked at that stack of notebooks and asked myself, “What are you waiting for?!” And I realized I’ve been waiting for perfection.
I’ve been putting off a much-needed brand photo shoot because I’d convinced myself I needed to lose 20 pounds first. I’ve been putting off trying to collaborate with my favorite bloggers because I’d convinced myself I needed to revamp my website and Instagram feed first. I’ve been putting off submitting story pitches to my favorite publication because I’d convinced myself I needed to improve my writing skills first. And I’ve been putting off taking See Jane Write beyond Birmingham because I’ve secretly wondered if anyone outside of my hometown would care.
But this is all bull shit.
I recently heard someone say, “You don’t have to get it right; you just have to get it going.” It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. I say this to the women of See Jane Write all the time. Now I need to take my own advice.
So as I sat down to set my goals for September, I decided to pick five things I’ve been putting off and just go for it. Ashes to ashes, dust to self-doubt. (You’ll catch that on your way home.)
I’m sharing my bold goals in hopes that they’ll inspire you to set a few of your own.
Writing Prompt: Write about the five things you know for sure. Here are mine:
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.