In 2008 I fell in love.
But this isn’t your typical “girl meets boy” kind of story. This is a story of “girl meets blog.”
In 2008 I started my first blog and it was love at first post. I can’t really explain it. I certainly wasn’t new to writing — at the time I was working as a reporter for a weekly newspaper. I’d seen my byline on the pages of major papers like USA Today and The Seattle Times and in national magazines. And I’ve considered myself a writer since I wrote a really bad poem in second grade for my best friend who was moving away.
But something about blogging was different. Writing is like a sport in that you need to work at it constantly in order to get better. Blogging is my practice field. But it was also through blogging that I felt I found my calling as a writer.
I first started blogging for the newspaper at which I worked at the time, but I loved blogging so much that in September of 2008 I launched a blog of my own. I called it GeorgiaMae.com, named for my late maternal grandmother, Georgia Mae Price.
On this site, I blogged about fashion, fitness, feminism, natural hair, pop culture, news, race issues and so much more. Eventually, my husband started writing for my site, too, publishing posts on urban music and relationships. My initial goal was for GeorgiaMae.com to be a feminist lifestyle site, but it eventually became a site about everything for everyone. And that was the problem.
My site lacked focused and I had no ideal reader in mind when I produced content. That would be fine if I were just blogging as a hobby, but not if I wanted my site to be something more.
I also learned I don’t play well with others. Frankly, I didn’t like sharing my blog with my husband. Virginia Woolf once said, “A woman must have … a room of her own if she is to write.” I believed that to truly reach my potential as a writer I needed a room of my own, even if it was just a virtual one.
So, on August 20, 2011, I started WriteousBabe.com, a place where I could think out loud, a place I could design with pretty pink accents and not worry about running off the men who dropped by to read my husband’s musings on hip-hop.
In part, Writeous Babe was meant to be a personal blog, a digital diary I was letting any who wanted to do so peek inside of. But it was also a feminist lifestyle blog for women who write, chronicling my attempt to basically be the black Carrie Bradshaw without the relationship drama and without leaving the South. I wanted to see my byline in my favorite magazines, write and publish books, land my own column on feminism, and have a fabulous wardrobe to boot. This blog gave information and inspiration for women who write, but also gave me a space to write about being a black feminist, about being a married woman who is childless by choice, and about being a liberal who loves Jesus.
With WriteousBabe.com, I fell in love with blogging all over again. My page views reached and then surpassed that of my other blog thanks to consistency and getting featured on major women’s websites. I eventually let my husband have GeorgiaMae.com, which he rebranded as the now wildly popular urban music blog called Soul In Stereo.
The same year I started WriteousBabe.com I had also started See Jane Write. You see, when it comes to blogging I am a true believer, preaching the power of digital writing with fervor. And on March 24, 2011, I decided to spread the good news in a new way when I started See Jane Write.
Soon people around town started coming to me and the See Jane Write website whenever they had a question about writing or blogging. And paid writing gigs with local media outlets started to land in my lap as editors heard about my work. Organizations began asking me to speak at their events.
As See Jane Write become more and more popular, I found myself blogging at WriteousBabe.com less and less. Instead, I was posting most of my content on the See Jane Write website because I realized See Jane Write was no longer just a women’s writing group and its website was no longer just a blog. See Jane Write had become a brand. See Jane Write had become a business, an award-winning business.
In 2012 the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham presented me with their coveted SMART Award for innovation in business and the arts, in February 2015 I was recognized as one of the city’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal. In 2016 Southern Living included me on its list of Innovators Changing the South and Alabama Media Group honored me at its Women Who Shape the State ceremony. In 2017, 2018, and 2019 The Write Life recognized the See Jane Write blog as one of the best websites for writers.
But these awards aren’t why I love blogging so much.
I am in love with blogging because it helped me find my platform. Both WriteousBabe.com and the blog I maintain for See Jane Write have been my space to write about faith, feminism, fitness and so much more. Blogging has also helped me land opportunities to write on these topics for publications like B-Metro and Birmingham magazines and to be a contributor to WBHM 90.3 FM, Birmingham’s NPR station.
I am in love with blogging because it helped me find my people. When I started See Jane Write I had no idea that the women of this group would become my closest friends, but that’s exactly what happened. We found one another through blogging, but in the process discovered we shared so much more.
I am in love with blogging because it helped me find my purpose. Since I was a teenager I’ve known that I wanted to use writing to empower women and girls. But with the ever-changing state of journalism and the publishing industry, I started to wonder what it would look like to actually live out that mission. Blogging is my way. Not only do I seek to uplift women with the stories I put out into the blogosphere, but I give women the knowledge and support they need to share their own stories, too.
I’m in love with blogging and blogging loves me back.
Why the Blogger Girl Won’t Write a Book About Blogging
In Birmingham, many people call me “the Blogger Girl.” See Jane Write and all the speaking gigs I do on blogging have earned me this title, and it’s not a title I mind at all.
Because people know my writing goes beyond my blog, because I write for newspapers and magazines and I’ve had works published in anthologies and literary journals, some folks want to know when I’m going to write a book about blogging. “You could even call it See Jane Write,” they say, with a twinkle in their eye.
Even though I am working on a book, it’s not about blogging and I don’t think I’ll ever write a book about blogging. Why?
Blogging, like all things related to technology, is constantly evolving. Any book I wrote on blogging would be obsolete before it made it to the printer.
But I do recognize the value of putting all I’ve learned about blogging in one place. I recognize how useful that could be to you and even to me. So here’s what I’m going to do instead.
This month I’m launching a blogging e-course that will be part-memoir, part-manual. It will be like an e-book, but will be designed as an e-course so that I can constantly update it as I continue to learn and as the blogging landscape continues to change.
But I need your help. I need to know what you want to know about blogging and my life as a blogger. So, let me know in the comments of this post what topics you’d like me to cover and what questions you’d like me to answer in this new course.