Month: January 2015

The Results Are In!

Image by League of Women Voters via Flickr/Creative Commons

Earlier this month I created a two-question survey and offered a pretty sweet incentive to complete it: Those who completed the survey would have a chance at winning free admission to See Jane Write events held February – December 2015 (excluding events for members only).

And the winner is….

Emily G. 

Congratulations, Emily!

And thanks to all of you who completed the survey.

The results revealed three things — 1) you all love live events 2) you all are ready to blog like a boss and 3) you’re having trouble finding time to make your writing dreams come true.

Live educational vents will continue to be the bread and butter of See Jane Write. Future events will offer information on how to monetize blogging properly use business tools like MailChimp, PayPal, etc. In fact, I’ve decided that the theme for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Conference will be Blog Like a Boss!

how to write and have a life

As for time management — I’ve got you covered there, too. My e-course How to Write and Have a Life is all about how to make time for your dreams. Over the course of a dozen lessons you will learn how to set goals that will help you better manage your time, how to get rid of bad habits that are wasting your time, how to adopt healthy habits that will make you more peaceful and productive, how to rekindle your romance for your blog, how to write more, read more, and stress less, how exercise can make you a better writer, and how to give yourself a break. Enroll today!

Find Your True North to Find Your Life Path

Sponsored Guest Post by Sheree Martin of Shinecast

Sheree Martin

Is your inner compass pointing to your true north? Do you even know?

Do you feel overwhelmed by life, by your desire to be healthy, balanced and fulfilled in whatever roles you’ve chosen–or landed in by default?

When I was in my mid-20s I found myself floundering….trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was on the path to a successful career as a business lawyer, but it didn’t seem to be the purpose I was designed for. I was a good and dedicated lawyer, but felt empty.

Not long after my 30th birthday, I became a shareholder in a prominent Alabama law firm. I had followed most of the rules and I was successful on the outside, but I felt like I was shriveling, dissolving, evaporating.

During those years, I embarked on the journey to self-discovery that led me to where I am today — a very happy person, still pursuing my true north. Still growing, still discovering.

My journey wasn’t always easy or direct and, for that reason, I feel compelled to help others, as a teacher, writer, mentor, guide and I hope to do that through the Shinecast.

The Shinecast is a multimedia project designed to help you discover your true north and walk on the path that is right for you. The path that allows you to discover and BE your whole, REAL, true self.

Real is Whole, Real is Being Yourself


The industrial, corporate world often uses the honeybee colony as a metaphor for how efficient organizations exist. In this metaphor, each worker bee has a role and each bee is said to fulfill that role in service of the queen for the good of the colony (i.e., the good of the company, in their version). On the flipside, we hear unfulfilled workers described as corporate drones.

What the industrial beehive metaphor doesn’t reveal is that each honeybee plays a different role at various stages of the approximately 42-day lifespan. The bee doesn’t do one single thing its entire life. The life of a honeybee is multifaceted.

Some of you may know that I’m a beekeeper. As I’ve worked with these bees over the past few years I’ve come view the healthy, successful honeybee colony as a metaphor for a successful, holistic life.

The colony is a symbol of our life. You might think of the queen bee as a symbol of our true north, our highest purpose. Each honeybee represents some aspect of our life — a goal, an interest, a responsibility, a need. All of these must be integrated and work together in service of our successful life.

Just as a single honeybee can’t live independently, our lives can’t be focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. I’m not talking about achieving balance, but rather achieving wholeness and integration.

The honeybee is not a dreamer, though. The honeybee is always active, always moving forward.

Your Path, Your Compass


I am happy not because I’m at some destination point, but I’m happy because I’m still growing, still walking on the path to being all I was created to be.

The Shinecast project is designed to provide the foundation and illumination to help YOU walk the path to your true north.

I’d love to have you join the Shinecast movement.

The best way is to start with the free weekly newsletter where I’ll be sharing my own insights, as well as great resources I’ve found to help you on the path. I’ll also be rolling out a series of audio and video stories that I’m creating and I’ll be sharing links to those stories in the newsletter.

If I can help you in any way, just hit me here: @RealSheree on Twitter or @Shinecast on Instagram. Or email me:

It’s time for you to go forth and SHINE.


If you would like to be a See Jane Write sponsor for February, contact Javacia Harris Bowser at for more information on partnership packages. 

How to Fail at Self-Publishing (and How to Succeed)

Carrie Rollwagen

One day I’m going to write a book and when I do I hope I can somehow channel the wit and wisdom of Carrie Rollwagen. Carrie is the author of The Localist, a book about why small shops matter and her quest to only shop from local stores for one year. But you probably already knew that because since Carrie’s book was released in November she has been everywhere! Not only has she had book signings at places like Naked Art Gallery and Little Professor Book Store, but she’s been on radio stations like 100.1 FM and television shows like Talk of Alabama to discuss her book. She did a live chat on and even hosted a gift tag and calligraphy bar party around the holidays! But I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s so good at promoting her book. She was just as great at promoting her Kickstarter campaign through which she raised much of the funds needed to self-publish The Localist.

And to think this all started with a blog! Yes, that’s right; Carrie first chronicled her shop small experiment through blogging. Now she’s transformed her blog idea into a book idea and is showing us all how to self-publish and self-promote the right way.

Photo by Jamie Golden

On Tuesday, Jan. 20 at The Nest, Carrie led a talk on self-publishing for about two dozen women as part of the See Jane Write event From Blog to Book with Carrie Rollwagen. During her talk I kept thinking about how, unfortunately, so many self-published authors do the complete opposite of what Carrie was saying, which might explain why so many self-published authors fail at selling their books and building a fan base.

So here’s what NOT to do:

1. Simply copy and paste your blog into a Word file and call it a manuscript. While Carrie’s book was inspired by her blog, she didn’t simply compile her posts and ship them to her printer. “Your blog can act as a focus group,” she said. It will help you determine the topics your fans care about most.

Carrie says she read through her blog and made a list of all the themes of her posts and arranged them into categories and those categories became chapters.

Even though her book is non-fiction, she still wrote her chapters in the form of a narrative. “Story is powerful,” she said.

Carrie Talk
Leading a workshop for a group like See Jane Write is a great way to promote your book!

2. Don’t bother rewriting your work or hiring an editor. Carrie wrote the first draft of her book in only a month. But she spent about a year rewriting it. “Writing is rewriting,” she said. “You need a good editor.” As for choosing the right editor, be sure you pick someone who actually has the time to edit your book and someone with an editing style that works for you. For example, if you want someone who’s not going to simply line edit your work but will ask questions about concepts and composition, find someone who will do just that.

3. Be really, really boring. When marketing your book you must be creative. This means just say no to boring book signings. “Create events that are interesting and newsworthy,” Carrie said. “If you’re doing events there needs to be something more than you just sitting at a table of books.” That’s why Carrie hosted events like a gift tag and calligraphy bar party and a local business holiday fair. Carrie also used her Kickstarter campaign to generate excitement for her book.

4. Be pushy with booksellers. As a self-published author it will be tough to get your book in stores, but it’s not impossible — unless you’re a jerk. Be mindful of the financial risk it takes for an independent bookstore to carry your work and be as easy to work with as possible. One tip Carrie offered was giving a bookseller a free copy of your book to put on shelves. If the book sells most likely the owner of the store will want to sell more and thus work out a distribution deal. Side note: if you don’t want to end up with thousands of copies of your book sitting in your basement, work with a printer who offers a print-on-demand option.

Carrie on TOA
Carrie on Talk of Alabama

5. Be elusive and mysterious with the press and ignore social media. If you want your book featured in local media make it easy for reporters to cover your events! Send out well-written, informative press releases.  On your blog include your author bio, a list of important facts about you and your book, and hi-res images that the media can use.

Also, Carrie said, “Feed the social media beast.” Create a hashtag for your book and use it! Instagram is a good way to get people excited about your brand (yes, as an author you are a brand) and Twitter is great for reaching industry influencers.

Have you self-published a book? What did you learn from your experience? 

Win free admission to 2015 See Jane Write events!

nametags I’m always brainstorming different ways to help the women of See Jane Write.

Last week, for example, I hosted a goal-setting workshop to help See Jane Write members kick off the year motivated and inspired. (Check out this recap from Heather of My Life Well Loved and this one from Katherine of Rodney’s Saga.)

And next week’s event with Carrie Rollwagen is designed to help women looking to transform their blog idea into a book idea, women looking to self-publish, and women who just want to get better at self-promotion. (Get your tickets here! Only a few tickets are left!)

But I know the best way to figure out what the women of See Jane Write need and want is to simply ask. So this month I’m doing just that. I’ve composed a two-question survey to help me determine what changes I should make to See Jane Write this year.

And I’m offering an incentive for completing the survey: You could win free admission to all ticketed See Jane Write events held between Feb. 1 to Dec. 31. This includes our annual Bloganista conference!

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Click here to complete the two-question survey.

2. After you have completed the survey, comment on this blog post. In your comment, let me know that you’ve completed the survey and tell me one event or program you’d like See Jane Write to offer this year.

3. Enter the contest using the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  The winner will be announced January 30, 2015.

5 Mistakes You’re Making When Setting Goals

goal digger

Most  people love setting goals and resolutions in January and I’m certainly in that number. At the start of a new year I always commit to pursuing lofty aspirations. But for years these goals would often be abandoned by April! Finally, I figured out what I was doing wrong. Chances are, you’re making many of the same mistakes.

On Wednesday, January 6, I hosted a goal-setting workshop for members of See Jane Write. I walked the women in attendance through my own goal-setting process and shared anecdotes about some of the mistakes I’ve made when goal-setting in the past.

goal digger 3


Here are five mistakes you may be making when setting goals:

1. You’re setting too many goals. When I was a teenager every December I would make a list of 99 things I wanted to do the following year — 99 things! Obviously, I never accomplished all of these. In fact, by spring I’d completely forgotten about most of the things on my list! I recommend setting about 3 to 5 major goals for the year. If you need help culling your list, remember that your goals should always be a reflection of your values. Don’t take on a goal just because someone told you it would be a good idea. Do what’s best for you and the life you want to create.

2. Your goals aren’t big and bold enough. Yes, your goals should be realistic. If your aspirations are too outlandish you might feel defeated from the start. But this doesn’t mean your goals should be small. They should ruffle feathers and raise eyebrows. Challenge yourself! Otherwise, you won’t be very motivated.

3. Your goals aren’t measurable and specific. Don’t simply say you want to be a more successful blogger or get in shape. What do these things look like? Do you want to earn a certain amount of money from your blog? Do you want to run a half marathon? Specificity will give you the direction you need.

4. You’re only setting long-term goals. One reason I didn’t accomplish many of goals of the past was simply because I got bored with them. If you know me well, you know I get bored with things VERY easily. But I realized that by breaking my 3 to 5 one-year goals into several 90-day goals I stayed excited about my pursuits. At the end of each quarter I could set new 90-day goals so I felt like I was taking on a shiny new project, but I was actually still working on the same one-year goals I set on January 1. These 90-day goals will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

5.  You’re not sweating the small stuff. While 90-day goals are great, you need to break down things even further. You need what I like to call momentum moves. These are things you do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis to help you accomplish the 90-day goals. So if you want to earn more money from your blog you’ll probably need to blog more. Your momentum move could be to take devote four hours each Sunday  to writing three blog posts for the week.

goal digger 2 goal digger 4 goal digger 6


goal digger 7


goal digger 5


If you need more help with goal-setting this year, consider enrolling in my new time management e-course How to Write and Have a Life. In this course, I will walk you through my goal-setting process and show you how setting goals in such a way will save you time and make you more productive.


*Cross-posted at