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writing life

Write Like a Boss Series: Find Your Tribe and Love Them Hard

I have a confession: I started See Jane Write for selfish reasons.

In 2009 I left my job as a newspaper reporter in Louisville, Kentucky and returned to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama to teach English at a local high school for kids gifted in the fine arts and math and science. Though I was fond of my new colleagues I missed the group of female writers I was surrounded by in my newsroom.

I searched for a women’s writing group that would welcome poets, authors, journalists, and bloggers – all hats I’d worn at one point in my writing life – but I couldn’t find one. So I decided to start an organization of my own.

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Introducing the “Write Like a Boss” Series

Photo by Brendon Pinola

Whether you like it or not, to be a successful writer you must also be an entrepreneur. You must market your book, your blog, or your brand as a freelancer as if it is a business because that’s exactly what it is.

It’s time to get serious. It’s time to write like a boss. My hope is that this new blog series will help you do exactly that.

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Let Her Sleep

Monday afternoon after a long day at work and after visiting my mom, I came home, put on my pajamas and got in bed at 5 p.m. I stayed there for three hours eating Golden Flake Sweet Heat potato chips and watching television. My husband thought I was dying. Seriously.

I’m the woman who comes home from work only to launch into at least three additional hours of work and one hour of exercise.

And the Monday to-do list in my Day Designer* was full. But I just didn’t care. My body told me to get in bed and so I listened.

And I’m glad I did.

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My Solo Weekend Writing Retreat at Hotel Finial

Sometimes things just work out.

Last year I told my husband that I wanted to take a solo weekend writing retreat, or a “writecation,” so I could start working on the book that I hope to complete in 2017. I wanted to check myself into a hotel for a weekend and just write.

I considered booking a room at a hotel in Birmingham, but I knew I needed to get away. Otherwise, the demands of family obligations and the lures of social events with friends would be too much of a distraction.

About a month or so after having this conversation with my husband I was contacted by a representative from Hotel Finial in Anniston, Alabama. They offered me a two-night complimentary stay so I could have the writecation I’d dreamed of. But my stay at Hotel Finial exceeded anything I could have ever imagined!

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Create an Inspiring Workspace

workspace graphic

“A woman must have… a room of her own if she is to write.” – Virginia Woolf

I never needed a room of my own to write, but I longed for one anyway.

As a girl when I shared a room with my younger brother I found a way to write my really bad poetry in spite of all the chaos that little brothers can bring. (I love you, C.J.!)

But when I finally got a room of my own at age 12, I felt like a queen reigning over her queendom. My bad poetry got a bit better and I started writing short stories, too.

Fast forward to adulthood and at age 25 I found myself sharing my room again — this time with my husband. I continued to write nonetheless. No longer much of a poet or fiction writer, I was busy writing articles for newspapers and magazines, blog posts for websites, and personal essays for myself.

I could and would write anywhere — at our dining room table, on our sofa, in our bed. But that famous quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own stayed in my head and I kept dreaming of a home office.

Last year, when my husband and I became first-time homeowners and traded in our two-bedroom room apartment for a three-bedroom house, my dream came true.

I love my whole house from its high ceilings to its hardwood floors, but my office is the apple of my eye. And the reactions my girlfriends give when they see it for the first time cause me to swell with joy.

“Oh my gosh! Hashtag goals!” one person said.

“This is a YouTube office!” exclaimed another friend.

“Your office is like a Pinterest board come to life,” declared someone else.

But I’m not writing this post just to brag about how dope my office is. I want to offer a few tips to help you create an inspiring workspace of your own.

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How Days Off Can Improve Your Writing

give yourself a break

I used to pride myself on being a workaholic. Javacia “No Days Off” Bowser I called myself.

My work ethic is necessary if I’m going to do all the things I want to do: teach, write, and build a business.

But this “all work and no play” attitude makes Javacia a dull and crabby girl. And it makes me a sick girl, too.

These days I try to take off one day each week. I don’t always succeed, but I stick to this more often than not and it’s made a world of difference.

So, as we enter 4th of July weekend, I urge you to give yourself a break. Take a day off.

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