Tuesday evening award-winning cookbook editor Shaun Chavis treated the See Jane Write community to a free online workshop on how to write a cookbook. Though I am not a food writer or blogger, I was happy to host this workshop for the members of my community who are.
Shaun spent four years as a development editor for Time Inc. Books, where she specialized in finding and working with new talent, and managing book concepts from start to finish. Three of her books were Cooking Light list bestsellers. Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Good-for-You Food Taste Amazing! won Time Inc.’s Luce Award for Best Book of the Year and the James Beard Award for Focus on Health in 2015. Shaun worked on The CarbLovers Diet, which spent 11 weeks on The New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List.
Currently, Shaun owns Saltshaker Marketing, a boutique content marketing agency in Atlanta that specializes in cookbooks and food magazines for businesses. With this kind of resume I knew my foodie friends would be in good hands. But what I did not expect was for this workshop on writing a cookbook to help me draft an outline for a collection of essays!
Monday afternoon after a long day at work and after visiting my mom, I came home, put on my pajamas and got in bed at 5 p.m. I stayed there for three hours eating Golden Flake Sweet Heat potato chips and watching television. My husband thought I was dying. Seriously.
I’m the woman who comes home from work only to launch into at least three additional hours of work and one hour of exercise.
And the Monday to-do list in my Day Designer* was full. But I just didn’t care. My body told me to get in bed and so I listened.
Last month I took my very first solo weekend writing retreat. The beautiful Hotel Finial in Anniston was the perfect place to get inspired as I set out to start writing the book I hope to publish this year.
Last year I told my husband that I wanted to take a solo weekend writing retreat, or a “writecation,” so I could start working on the book that I hope to complete in 2017. I wanted to check myself into a hotel for a weekend and just write.
I considered booking a room at a hotel in Birmingham, but I knew I needed to get away. Otherwise, the demands of family obligations and the lures of social events with friends would be too much of a distraction.
About a month or so after having this conversation with my husband I was contacted by a representative from Hotel Finial in Anniston, Alabama. They offered me a two-night complimentary stay so I could have the writecation I’d dreamed of. But my stay at Hotel Finial exceeded anything I could have ever imagined!
Last month I hosted the first See Jane Write Virtual Summit featuring live online Q&A sessions with 8 female writers and bloggers with noteworthy accomplishments to their name. During the summit, attendees learned how to build a tribe to support their blog, books, and other writing projects; how to work with brands as a blogger; how to start a freelance writing career; how to market and build buzz for their blog, book, or brand; how to use writing to discover their authentic selves; the art of personal blogging; how to lead a group book project; and how to use their blog to write and publish their first book.
I decided last fall that I wanted to host a virtual summit but it took me several months to finally pull it off because I kept making excuses. I don’t have the time, I told myself. I don’t have the money, I said. But eventually I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Javacia, you can either make excuses or make a difference. But you can’t do both.”
So I got to work. Still a journalist at heart, I started by asking myself the 5Ws and H.