Month: November 2015

Giving Thanks for See Jane Write

Best group photo ever!
Best group photo ever!

After being away for nearly a decade — living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Seattle, Washington; Berkeley California; and Louisville, Kentucky — I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama in 2009. For the first year and a half after my return, I was miserable.

I couldn’t find community. I couldn’t find a group of like-minded women who shared my passion for writing and my love for blogging.

I couldn’t find purpose. I called myself a feminist, but I didn’t feel as if I were doing anything to live out my beliefs.

And I couldn’t find fun! I was singing the same tune of my teenage years, declaring that “There’s nothing to do in Birmingham!”

Then on March 24, 2011 I started See Jane Write and that changed EVERYTHING.

In See Jane Write I found community. I found a group of women who loved writing and blogging just as much as I did and who had dreams as big and bold as mine, too. These women began as writing partners and blogging buddies but quickly became my friends. Now, many of them I consider my family.

In See Jane Write I found purpose. Through See Jane Write I strive to empower women to share their stories, whether through books, blogs, personal essays or even speaking engagements. I hope that I also encourage them to be the author of their own lives. And that is what my feminism looks like.

In See Jane Write I found fun! The women of See Jane Write helped me fall in love with my hometown. They showed me that there is ALWAYS plenty to do in Birmingham — so much so that most weekends I have too many events to choose from!

I woke up this morning, the day before Thanksgiving, with my heart overflowing with gratitude for See Jane Write and how it has changed my life. And I decided I wanted to do something special for the women who’ve supported this little project of mine — which began as a small writing group and has become an award-winning business.

Now through Monday, November 30 I am offering one-hour consultations for only $50! That is less than half of my normal rate of $125. During these consultations you can pick my brain on blogging, writing, or building a business or I can even help you set up your blog, if you’re ready to launch. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this deal (a deal I will NEVER offer again), click here to submit your payment. After making your payment, email me at so we can schedule your session. (We will meet in December, but you must submit your payment by November 30.)


On Being Mary Jane and Flawed Female Characters


There are many reasons I shouldn’t like BET’s Being Mary Jane, the hourlong scripted drama that follows trials and triumphs of cable news anchor Mary Jane Paul.

In the first season of the show Mary Jane (played by actress Gabrielle Union) has an affair with a married man, and this is just one of the MANY bad relationship choices Mary Jane makes again and again. One could argue that the show’s focus on Mary Jane’s struggle to find true love perpetuates the idea that successful black women can’t find a man or simply argue that I can’t relate to Mary Jane’s relationship woes because I’m married and got hitched when I was only 25.

But Being Mary Jane is one of my absolute favorite shows on television.

I love the thought-provoking quotes that open each episode (and even take pictures of my TV to save them). I love seeing Mary Jane’s battle to cover issues and current events relevant to women and people of color. I love that Being Mary Jane deals with race, family drama, friendships, sex and sexuality in a way that is raw, real (or as real as a TV show can be) and in-your-face. The show has even tackled tough topics like suicide, drug abuse, and abortion.

Yes, we see Mary Jane’s glamorous life as a well-paid TV personality, but we also see her sitting on the toilet and scratching her boobs when she gets home and takes off her bra (something I am convinced every woman in America does).

And I even love that Mary Jane makes really, really stupid mistakes because I, too, make really, really stupid mistakes — and so do you.

As a writer and as a feminist, I appreciate flawed female characters. We need flawed female characters. We need them in books, we need them in movies, and we certainly need them on TV. This is why I love Mary Jane Paul. This is why I love Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games franchise and this is why even as an adult I am still a huge fan of the cult TV classic My So-Called Life.

We need flawed female characters because we need complex female characters that don’t neatly fit into the box of the good girl or the vixen, the girl next door or the whimsical pixie, the angry black woman or the basic white girl.

We need female characters that are complex because real women are complex. Real women are generous and selfish, loving and hateful, kind and malicious, smart and foolish, confident and insecure. I have been all of these things just in the last week and, chances are, you have, too.

Being Mary Jane creator Mara Brock Akil was recently interviewed by the Lenny, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s website and newsletter on feminism, style, health, politics, and more. When asked to spill about any bad choices she may have made when she was younger, Akil gave an answer that resonated with me as much as her show does. She said: “I no longer think of my life in bad or good choices. I think they’re just my choices. As a writer, they’re all blessings in my life.”

Write the Vision

write the vision

Get your favorite notebook and your favorite pen (you know you have one) and set aside 30 minutes for free writing. Begin your writing with this: “It is November 23, 2020 and I am so proud of the life I have created.”

It was with a writing prompt much like this one that I began the process of writing a vision for my life and my work.


Can you answer these 7 questions about your blog?

big pitch

Years ago I read an article that advised bloggers to treat their website as if it were a business they were hoping to one day sell, even if they had no such aspirations. Similarly, I believe that anyone looking to turn her blog into a business should be able to answer the same kinds of questions that an investor would ask any aspiring entrepreneur.


Help Me Write My FAQ Page


A Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, page is something many bloggers overlook when putting together their sites — yours truly included. So I’m putting together an FAQ page for this site and I’d love your help.

An FAQ page is a great way to quickly orient new readers to your blog and to help them find the information they’re most likely seeking on your site. An FAQ page can also save you time as it will keep you from answering the same questions over and over via email.

If you’re not sure which questions you should include on your page start by just sitting down and thinking of the questions you’re, well, frequently asked! You could also host a Q&A on your blog, in your Facebook group, on Periscope, or in a webinar.

As I put together the See Jane Write FAQ page, I want your input. Leave your questions about See Jane Write, blogging, and writing in the comments.

Feel free to also leave a link to your FAQ page. I’d love to see it!