Since last year’s inaugural Magic City Poetry Festival founder Ashley M. Jones has been busy. She’s been busy publishing her second book, dark / / thing, which she describes as “a book that can’t sit silently.”
Ashley, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award recipient who also won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards for her debut collection Magic City Gospel, has also been busy planning this year’s Magic City Poetry Festival.
The 2019 festival will kick off April 4 and host events throughout the month including a reading by poetry legend and Birmingham native Sonia Sanchez!
Ashley started the Magic City Poetry Festival to help showcase the talent of Birmingham-based poets and to expose more people to the power of poetry. See Jane Write had a chat with Ashley recently to discuss how this year’s festival will do just that.
When it comes to the question of how to make time to write and blog I’ve realized I’ve been too easy on you.
Until now, I’ve simply challenged you to write every day, even if it’s just one page or even just one line. And I still think that’s a fine way to start your writing or blogging journey. But eventually the time comes when we have to put our big girl panties on and do more.
April 8-28 See Jane Write will host a FREE 21-day writing challenge that I’m calling The Write Start. I believe it is my calling to help women writers and bloggers take the first step they need to take to get to the level they want to reach. The challenge is designed to help women develop a daily writing ritual and build the confidence, commitment, and creativity they need to get serious about writing, blogging or building a platform.
Here’s how the challenge will work: Each morning you’ll receive an email from me that will contain a brief lesson and a writing prompt. The Write Start challenge also includes weekly live virtual group coaching sessions, one virtual write-in, and one virtual critique session.
The challenge will get you writing every day for 21 days in hopes of making daily writing a habit.
But you may be straining your eye-rolling muscles right now. You may be thinking, “Not another writing challenge! Aren’t writing challenges just a waste of time? Aren’t they just busy work?”
Obviously, I don’t think so, but you don’t have to just take my word for it. I recently asked the women of the See Jane Write Network Facebook group if any of them had good experiences with writing challenges that they’d be willing to share. The response I got was overwhelming.
Eight years ago I walked into Cantina Tortilla Grill in Birmingham, Alabama to have dinner with about a dozen women I’d never met before. We talked about writing, blogging, social media and more. We talked about our current writing projects and the projects we dreamed of pursuing. And with this meeting See Jane Write was born.
At the time I had no idea that See Jane Write could become a business with members all over the world. At the time I had no idea that because of See Jane Write I’d get the opportunity to write a monthly column for B-Metro and Birmingham magazines. I had no idea I’d have the chance to share the story of See Jane Write on the TEDxBirmingham stage. I had no idea I’d win awards because of See Jane Write or meet some of my dearest friends through this group. Eight years ago I had no idea that See Jane Write would completely change my life.
Over the past eight years I’ve learned a lot about writing, blogging, and entrepreneurship. And I’ve learned a lot about myself. Here are eight lessons I’ve learned from my eight years of managing See Jane Write.
I’ve been lying to you. And I’ve been lying to myself. See Jane Write is not actually about writing.
Sure, I host group writing sessions and critique workshops for See Jane Write Collective members. I post tips about writing on the See Jane Write blog and even share tips about writing on social media. But I’ve come to realize that See Jane Write isn’t really about writing or blogging or even building a personal brand.