Month: November 2014

What did you learn from this year’s #bloglikecrazy challenge?

kate spade she is quick and curious
I finally believe this popular Kate Spade quote applies to me!

Today marks the end of #bloglikecrazy  — See Jane Write’s annual challenge to post a new blog post every day for 30 days in the month in November.

Usually I survive #bloglikecrazy by planning ahead. I usually spend October brainstorming ideas for dozens of posts and will even start drafting some of them. That wasn’t the case this year. Because my fall has been so busy, I was often developing the idea for and writing a post the same day I published it. But I’m glad things turned out that way because this year’s #bloglikecrazy taught me something valuable: When it comes to writing and blogging, I actually do know what the hell I’m doing!

I suffer from major impostor syndrome, that feeling we women often have that tells us that we’re not good enough and that we don’t deserve the position or power that we have. I often feel this way about writing and blogging. Because of the popularity of See Jane Write, people in Birmingham regard me as a blogging and writing expert, a title I often shirk because I don’t have a New York Times best seller on my resume and because I don’t seek to make money from my blog through advertisements or sponsored posts.

But when See Jane Write members emailed me questions about blogging (questions I had promised to answer in the form of blog posts this month) I could answer their questions thoroughly and easily. I didn’t have to consult any “expert.” The answer was already beneath my curly coif!  And on days when I didn’t have a question to answer I was able to easily come up with a blog post idea and write it quickly and concisely while still making it an interesting, inspiring, or informative narrative.

Who knew that, of all things, this year’s #bloglikecrazy challenge would help me overcome my impostor syndrome!

I’ve realized that I may not know everything, but I know a lot, and I’m smart and resourceful enough to figure out and learn the things that I don’t.


What did you learn from this year’s #bloglikecrazy challenge? 

What blogging & writing conferences should I attend in 2015?

Image by Dave Winer via Flickr/Creative Commons

Believe it or not, 2015 is just around the corner. Now is a good time to figure out which conferences you will attend next year. Here are ten writing or blogging conferences to consider.

Food Media South: The popular food blogging conference FoodBlogSouth (originally organized by Shaun Chavis and Jason Horn) is now being hosted by the Southern Foodways Alliance and has been renamed Food Media South. Set for February 27-28 in Birmingham, Alabama, FMS will explore storytelling in the digital era. Speakers include Dorothy Kalins, founding editor of Saveur magazine, chair of the James Beard Journalism Awards committee, and producer of beautiful books; Chuck Reece, editor-in-chief of Bitter Southerner; Erika Council, proprietor of the blog Southern Souffle; Roscoe Hall II, proprietor of the site Punk as Food; and Bill Addison, restaurant editor of Eater National.

The Southern C Summit: Connect, collaborate and create in a niche environment with like-minded creatives at the Southern C Summit, an annual conference organized by The Southern Coterie. The spring 2015 summit is set for April 30 – May 1 and will be held in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference promises engaging educational sessions and panel discussions with branding, marketing and social media leaders. Evening events and gatherings offer the opportunity to continue networking all while engaging in meaningful conversations in a fun intimate setting.

Y’all Connect: Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power is an annual blogging/social media conference in Birmingham, Ala. The event offers practical takeaways in corporate storytelling from the nation’s digital marketing experts. Next year’s conference will be held in June.

The Bloganista Mini-Con: Back in July See Jane Write hosted its first conference and it was a huge success! In 2015 we hope to make the Bloganista Mini-Con bigger and better offering inspiration and information for fashion, fitness, lifestyle and business bloggers. More details coming soon!

BlogHer ’15: In 2015 the BlogHer Annual Conference will be held July 16-18 in New York City. BlogHer is one of the biggest blogging conferences on the planet. Last year’s speakers included Jenny Lawson a.k.a. The Bloggess, media mogul Arianna Huffington and actor/activist Kerry Washington.

WordCamp Birmingham: WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamp Birmingham typically takes place in late summer.

Blogalicious: Be Blogalicious is a network with three major goals: 1) to be THE go-to destination and resource for influential multicultural women social media enthusiasts from all over the world to collaborate, connect and uplift one another; 2) to showcase the value of the demographic in today’s marketplace to marketers; and 3) to serve as a think tank and mouthpiece for causes, policies and issues affecting the multicultural digital space. The annual Blogalicious Weekend conference is usually held in the fall and is one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended!

Alabama Writer’s Conclave: The Alabama Writers’ Conclave was organized in 1923 and has been in continuing existence since. The Conclave is responsible for nominating, for the governor’s appointment, Alabama’s Poet Laureate. Members include fiction and non-fiction writers, novelists and short story writers, poets, writers of business and scientific works, freelance journalists, romance writers, publishers, patrons, and teachers.Through the years, the Conclave has moved its conferences around the state to provide writers everywhere better access to its resources.

Blogging While Brown: Blogging While Brown is a conference and a community for emerging leaders in digital media and social change. Since its launch in 2008, Blogging While Brown has grown to become the premier blogging conference dedicated to education, collaboration, and innovation among bloggers of color. The conference brings Black social media experts, speakers, and independent content creators together to expand their influence in social media and technology. The conference offers an opportunity to learn tools and strategies to build engaging and dynamic online platforms, leverage online engagement for offline results, and create sustainable business and activism models. The 2015 is set for June 19 and 20 and will be held in Austin, Texas.

Romance Writers of America: If you are a career-focused romance writer, then this conference is for you. This annual event gives you the chance to get down to the business of being an author. Expect education and information, networking with fellow writers, and interaction with editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, and other romance publishing industry professionals.

What conferences do you plan to attend next year? 


How can I “shop small” this holiday season?

shop small

This year I skipped Black Friday shopping and it certainly felt good to sleep in this morning.

This year instead of standing in long lines in 30-degree weather I’m going to do more to support small businesses this holiday season.

Tomorrow I’m going to head to Fleet Feet Sports Birmingham, to get some new running gear for 2015. Discounts include 10 percent off shoes, 25 percent off winter apparel, and 40 percent off shorts. Located at 3120 Heights Village Road in Vestavia, Fleet Feet Birmingham will be open today 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

But first I’ll be paying a visit to Church Street Coffee & Books at 10 a.m. for The Localist book launch. The Localist by Carrie Rollwagen is all about Rollwagen’s year of only buying local —  why she did it, what she learned, and what she hopes others can glean from her experience.

Next month Rollwagen, co-owner of Church Street Coffee and Books, is going to make it even easier for you to shop small this season by hosting The Localist Wish List: Holiday Fair and Book Party  December 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Nest in Avondale.  At this event you can not only celebrate The Localist book with free beer from Avondale Brewery but you’ll also have a chance to stock up on gifts from these local vendors: Piper & Leaf tea, We Three Beeks honey, Magic City Macarons, Great Bear Wax candles, Spindle Photography lettering, Stalcup Stitchery stuffed animals, Hide + True leather goods and Sara Cannon Art.

Another great place to get gifts for the art lovers in your life is Naked Art Gallery’s Kitschmas sale, which features gift-sized artwork and ornaments made with recycled materials by over 60 artists. Kitschmas is going on now through Visit for more information.

Feel free to share holiday deals from your favorite small business in the comments.


What are you thankful for today?

Be Thankful
Image by Cindi Albright via Flckr/Creative Commons

I am thankful for so many things today. I am thankful for husband’s funny jokes and kind heart. I am thankful that I really do have the best brother ever! I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach some of the most talented young people in the country and work with some of the most intelligent and compassionate teachers on the planet. I am thankful for family members who are also best friends and for best friends who are like family.

But today I am also thankful for the women of See Jane Write. When I started this organization in March of 2011 I only intended it to be a little writing group. I just wanted a small community of women to meet with occasionally and wax poetic about the beauty of the written word. But after nearly four years of offering workshops, seminars, social events, and conferences, See Jane Write has become a powerful network, a force to be reckoned with, and now is also becoming a business.

None of this would have happened without the support of the women who believed in my vision, who showed up to my events and helped spread the word.

And so today I thank you.

I would like to express my gratitude by offering two Black Friday deals to my Janes.

1) Get a premium membership for only $75 (regularly $100) now through Monday by clicking here. With premium membership you get all the perks of basic membership plus four one-on-one meetings with me (one per quarter) about blogging, freelance writing, or social media. Only 8 premium membership spots are available and I will not offer this program in 2015.

2) Get discounted tickets to the first big See Jane Write event of 2015. On Tuesday, Jan. 20 at The Nest, Carrie Rollwagen (blogger, writer, business owner and author of the book The Localist) will speak about how to transition from writing a blog to writing a book, how to successfully self-publish, and how to rock a Kickstarter campaign. There is a charge for this event to help cover the cost of the venue rental and food. Tickets go on sale for $25 on Dec. 2, but I am offering an early bird price of $20 now through Monday. Click here to purchase your tickets today.

Happy Thanksgiving!


How can I give back this holiday season?


If you’re looking for a way to have some fun but still made a difference this holiday season then you don’t want to miss the Safari Soiree, set for Tuesday, Dec. 2 at Olivia’ Bar & Lounge.

The Safari Soiree is a book drive and fundraiser hosted by Harper Organics in support of the African Community Exchange in Tanzania. This events seeks to raise money and collect books for children in Tanzania this holiday season.

Books are needed for children ages 5 to 18 and your support will help to supply libraries for schools in the impoverished Himo, Tanzania community.

Admission to the Safari Soiree is a new or gently used book or a donation of $10.

You’ll receive a complimentary swag bag and chance to win a raffle prize. At this event you’ll also have the chance to try a mini acupuncture spa service for relaxation on site for free and enjoy music, gourmet appetizers and a cash bar.

If you can’t attend but would still like to help, you can make a donation here.

Safari Soiree Holiday Fundraiser

Stacey Scott of Harper Organics, Global Ambassador for African Community Exchange

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 6-9 PM

Olivia’s Bar & Lounge, 2013 Second Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203


Free admission with new children’s book or $10 minimum monetary donation

For more ideas on how to make a difference, check out Seven ways you can give back to Birmingham this holiday season by Edward Bowser.