Month: April 2016

How to Turn Your Blog Into a Business


When I started See Jane Write in 2011 it was just a small women’s writing group and a simple Blogger blog. Now it is an award-winning business that has allowed me to make money and make a difference. In fact, just this year Southern Living magazine included me on its list of Innovators Changing the South because of my work with See Jane Write.

In my e-course Lady Blogger to Boss Lady, which is now open for enrollment, I share all my secrets as to how I’ve grown See Jane Write and used blogging to land paid freelance writing gigs and speaking engagements.

Here are the seven steps I took to turn blogging into a business:


Build Your Brand with Speaking Engagements


I have three speaking engagements over the next two weeks. (More info on those below.) Though I’m getting paid for two of these gigs, I didn’t really accept any of these offers to speak for the money.

Speaking at conferences, meetings and other events is a great way to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Speaking engagements are a great way to build buzz about your blog, book, or personal brand.

If you want to delve into public speaking, but you’re not quite sure how, here are a few tips to get you started:


Member of the Month: Lauree Ashcom

lauree color hi res

There was a time when Lauree Ashcom felt she had to hide her love for poetry.

I always wrote and read poetry secretly,” she says. “When I was in school, teachers seemed to teach that there were only certain types of poetry, that it mainly rhymed, that the only great poets were dead.”

And so Lauree would perhaps sometimes send a poem to a family member or friend, but mostly she kept what she describes as her “real heart words” in journals and on note cards tucked under her bed or in hidden in her closet.

“About ten years ago I began to feel more free and more rebellious,” she says. “Maybe it had something to do with suddenly having an empty nest. I created an alter ego under a pen name and began writing and posting in poetry groups on Facebook and other sites. Not all of these were sites that a proper southern woman should be visiting, but even that helped me break the bonds of the rules that made me live in fear.”

LAURA LEE SWEET spilled heart cover

Lauree started entering and becoming a finalist in writing contests. This helped her to eventually land a book deal. “I would have been happy to just have a chapbook printed, but I got a contract for a full length book,” she says. 

I’m excited to announce that Lauree Ashcom is the Member of the Month for April, which is also National Poetry Month.

I recently had a chat with Lauree about her writing process and journey.


To Understand the World: Why Ashley M. Jones Writes Poetry

Ashley Jones
Photo by Katherine Webb

I have a confession: I am jealous of poet and educator Ashley M. Jones.

I don’t envy Jones because last year, at the ripe old age of 25, she was one of only six winners of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a prestigious award given annually to support emerging women writers with exceptional talent. I don’t envy her because she landed a dream creative writing teaching job at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) as soon as she finished her graduate work at Florida International University. I’m not jealous of Jones’s book deal (her first full-length poetry collection will hit bookshelves in November) and I don’t envy her because last yearB-Metro gave Jones their Fusion Award, an honor given to Birmingham residents who champion diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.

I am jealous of Jones because she is in love—with poetry.

Read complete article at

Open Letter to a Mother: Why a “Black Girls Rock” T-Shirt is OK

Tonight the 10th anniversary celebration of Black Girls Rock awards will debut on BET at 7 p.m. CDT. In honor of the ceremony I revisit an article I wrote for the November 2014 issue of B-Metro magazine

black girls rock tee

You see an African-American girl bouncing through the aisles of your local supermarket donning a T-shirt that reads “Black Girls Rock,” and you’re offended. You want to approach her parents and ask how they would feel if your daughter wore a shirt declaring “White Girls Rock.” But you decide against it.

You believe that if your daughter did wear a “White Girls Rock” T-shirt, both she and you would be declared racists and you don’t think that’s fair. You think it’s a double standard.

You’re right. And double standards suck.

But you know what else sucks?