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?
The other day I came across the high school yearbook from my senior year. My senior quote was this: “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
This quote has been attributed to nearly a half dozen people, but regardless of who said it first, it’s great advice. Teenage Javacia knew it was great advice and, fortunately, grown-up Javacia knows that, too.
And so I’m always eager to try new things and eager to encourage others to try new things as well. If you’re a writer or blogger, here are five things you should try next month:
As a writer and blogger I live my life surrounded by story. Not only do I read and write stories, but I enjoy watching them on screen, too. I love movies! If you’re a film lover too and based in the Birmingham area, then you’re probably quite excited about the 17th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival, taking place this weekend, Aug. 28-30.
There are so many films showing this weekend that there’s chance you feel overwhelmed by all the festival has to offer.
Fortunately, one of my colleagues at the Alabama School of Fine Arts is also on the Sidewalk Film Festival staff and when I asked him to put together a list of must-see movies he was happy to help.
Corey Craft has written about film since 2009, for five years as the primary film writer for The Tuscaloosa News and now exclusively for the upstart arts and entertainment website artsBHAM.com. He also teaches a history of film class at ASFA and has a degree in telecommunications and film with an emphasis in critical studies from the University of Alabama.
Here are five selections that Corey thinks you’ll enjoy at the 17th annual Sidewalk Film Festival and what he had to say about each film:
“Welcome to Leith”
Not only one of my favorite films in the Sidewalk lineup, this documentary is one of my favorite films of 2015 so far — but don’t think that means it’s easy to watch. “Welcome to Leith” charts the invasion of a small North Dakota town by white supremacists, seeking to buy up as much land as possible and transform the sleepy little burg into a haven for the politically like-minded. Tensions rise between the few residents of Leith and their new neighbors, all shot in a you-are-there style by its brave filmmakers. This is an important, terrifying movie that reinforces, particularly after a year that has seen plenty of racially-motivated violence, that America’s past legacy of hate is still very, very present.
Screening at 3:10 p.m. at Red Mountain Theatre Company and 9:45 p.m. at the Birmingham Museum of Art on Saturday, Aug. 29.
“Queen of Earth”
A terrific psychological thriller with overtones of dark comedy, “Queen of Earth” features two outstanding lead performances in its ice-cold story about two codependent friends struggling as one of them teeters toward complete mental collapse. This is maybe the best performance its star, Elisabeth Moss of TV’s “Mad Men,” has given in a film to date, and her co-lead, Katherine Waterston, more than realizes the promise she showed as a drugged-out femme fatale in last year’s “Inherent Vice.” This isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes — it’s mean, if not outright misanthropic — but it creates an astounding tension that’ll hold you in its grip from start to finish.
Screening at 7:10 p.m. at the ASFA Black Box Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 30.
“Do I Sound Gay?”
After a breakup, filmmaker David Thorpe sets out on an unusual odyssey to discover the origins of the stereotypical gay male voice in this funny, fascinating documentary. Dissatisfied with his own voice, Thorpe interviews prominent gay writers and performers — including Dan Savage, George Takei and David Sedaris — and a number of speech therapists and pathologists to examine the societal forces that have led to one certain sound being thought of as traditionally gay. “Do I Sound Gay?” is insightful and amusing, a film sure to be of interest to anyone interested in contemporary cultural studies.
Screening at 2:15 p.m. at the Carver Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Saturday Sidewalk Shorts
I worked this year for Sidewalk as the short films co-programmer, so I would say that if you attend any of our short films blocks, you’re in for a treat. But I’ll highlight the Saturday Sidewalk Shorts block as being representative of the variety of excellent films we have throughout the weekend. This has a really satisfying mixture of films that will appeal to all tastes: you’ll see “Enfilade,” a visually stunning science fiction short from Australia; the dark comedy “Contact,” about an optometrist seeking revenge on an old rival; the action romantic comedy “Hotwire,” in which a man flips between fantasy and reality on the eve of losing the love of his life; and “One Night in Aberdeen,” a sweet comedy-drama about two lonely souls meeting in the bar of a Super 8 on August 8, 2008.
Screening at 10:30 a.m. at the ASFA Black Box Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 29.
“Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made”
This year’s opening night film is one of the biggest crowdpleasers Sidewalk has ever brought and a true testament to the power of cinema. It’s a documentary about a group of Mississippi teenagers who, having their minds blown by Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in the early 1980s, set out to make their own version of the first Indiana Jones adventure — shot for shot. The film’s only half the fun on opening night; Sidewalk is hosting an Indiana Jones costume contest, and after the film moviegoers can walk right outside the Alabama Theatre to a massive opening night block party on Third Avenue North with free food, drinks, music and more Indiana Jones-themed surprises. You won’t want to miss it.
Screening at 8 p.m. at the Alabama Theatre on Friday, Aug. 28.
Check out the rest of the schedule and purchase tickets and passes to the films, parties, panels and other events at http://www.sidewalkfest.com.
Corey Craft has written about film since 2009, for five years as the primary film writer for The Tuscaloosa News and now exclusively for the upstart arts and entertainment website artsBHAM.com. He and the Tuscaloosa News staff won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news journalism in 2012 for their coverage of the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak. He has a degree in telecommunications and film with an emphasis in critical studies from the University of Alabama and now teaches world literature and the history of film at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
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.