It was Shirlene Bridgewater’s collage art that first caught my eye on Instagram. She’d combine text with images to create captivating posts that would always stop my scrolling. After Shirlene became a member of the See Jane Write Collective, however, I learned that collage art was just scratching the surface of her talent. Shirlene is a phenomenal poet. And her personal essays are top-notch, too. Shirlene is a former English teacher and editor and she once co-owned a bookstore. She’s worked in PR and she’s been a freelance journalist. Shirlene has done it all! But Shirlene is the See Jane Write member of the month because along with being a great writer she’s just a fantastic human being. She’s always cheering on other women in the See Jane Write community, pushing them to write and share their writing with the world. She even recently encouraged a fellow member to go after her goal of pursuing a master’s degree.
Get to know the September 2021 member of the month, Shirlene Bridgewater.
I’ve been writing articles for media outlets since I was 19 years old. Back then we actually clipped our works from papers and magazines and pasted them in a binder (this is why we journos call our writing samples “clips”). Yes, I’m old AF. But no matter your age, you can start a freelance writing career of your own in just 7 simple steps.
Even though I loved being a high school English teacher, for years I daydreamed about quitting my job to write full time. But I thought it would always be exactly that — a dream.
To be clear, I’d been a full-time writer in the past. Before I started my career in education, I was a staff reporter for a weekly paper in Louisville, Kentucky. But my tenure there just showed me that I wanted to write on my own terms. I wanted to be a full-time freelance writer. But I thought there was no way I could do this unless I was willing to eat PB&J for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I was convinced living a comfortable lifestyle as a full-time freelancer was impossible.
Then one day I decided I was going to give it a shot anyway!
I recently joined a mastermind being led by my friend and fellow writer Carrie Rollwagen. And in this mastermind, we’ll all be working together through The 12-Week Year by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington. The premise is simple: get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months. It’s all about setting and slaying goals, so when Carrie emailed me about it, of course, I was like, “Sign me up!”
The Reckon Women newsletter by Reckon South got a makeover and is now HONEY. And of course, I got a graphic tee to celebrate the glow up. Abbey Crain, the creator and editor of the newsletter, describes Honey as “a sweet spot for girls, gays and theys in the South” who want to stay up to date with and discuss the tough stuff that has been kept quiet.