By Chanda Temple
For more than a year, I talked about starting my own blog. But doubt always prevented me from making it a reality. I wondered: Do I have the time to blog? What would I write about? Would people like it?
Every time I found a reason to stay on stop, Javacia Harris Bowser found a reason for me to start. “You can do it. You’ll be good at it,” she said.
Her comments of support came often. But I always put her encouraging words on a shelf, saying, “I’ll get to it some day.” Well, “some day” finally came in early 2014 when I met Javacia at a local coffee shop and decided to take the plunge. After an afternoon of coffee and cake, I walked away, ready to launch http://www.chandatemplewrites.com.
Once I published my blog in June 2014, Javacia said she felt like a proud mama. As the founder of See Jane Write, an organization for women writers in the Birmingham, Ala. area, she supports new beginnings, especially when it comes to writing. I’m thankful to her for that and for starting See Jane Write.
If you’re interested in blogging and wondering where and how to start, you should check out Javacia’s next project. It’s going to be good.
On Saturday, July 19, See Jane Write will present The Bloganista Mini-Con at the Homewood Library, 1721 Oxmoor Road in Homewood, Ala., 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Visit thebloganistaconference.eventbrite.com and use the promotional code GIRLPOWER to get $5 off your advance ticket. Go here for a list of the panelists.
Even though the conference will target fashion, fitness and lifestyle bloggers, it has something for everyone. Topics will include:
- Using your blog to land freelance writing gigs and speaking engagements
- How your blog can land you a new job
- Working with brands
- Niche blogging
- Time management tips
- How to dress like a fashion blogger (even if you’re not one)
- Turning your blog into a business
- Spreading the word about your blog
Javacia believes that you and your blog should be fabulous, which is why she’s offering this conference. “I’m targeting fashion, fitness and lifestyle bloggers because that’s what a lot of women blog about,” she said. “There are some circles of people that look down on lifestyle blogging and see it as being sort of self-centered. I disagree with that. I feel that when women write about themselves, it’s very powerful because they empower other women. It’s not a waste of time and it’s not selfish.”
FIVE questions for Javacia Harris Bowser
1) Why start See Jane Write? In 2009, Javacia was working as a reporter in Louisville, Ky. when she and her husband moved to Birmingham, Ala. for a change in careers. She was going to teach English at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. While in Louisville, she was surrounded by women writers. She searched for that same community in Birmingham. She couldn’t find it.
People kept telling her to start her own women’s writing community. She kept saying no. In March 2011, she started See Jane Write with a dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Fourteen women, including myself, attended. It wasn’t long before Javacia started having more See Jane Write events and receiving recognition for her efforts. Today, she has a mailing address of more than 400 women for her weekly See Jane Write newsletter.
2) What type people are connected to See Jane Write? The women involved in See Jane Write have varied interests. There are fiction and nonfiction writers; journalists; bloggers; small business owners who want to blog to help boost their businesses; people thinking of starting a blog; and some nonfiction writers looking for journalism work.
3) Why is blogging important? “I feel that regardless of your interests, a blog will help with what you are trying to do,” Javacia said. “Know that your voice and story are important. I feel like a lot of people feel like, ‘Who cares what I have to say?’ But you do have a voice and you do have a story that people need to hear.”
4) What questions must one ask themselves before starting a blog? You need to understand why you want to start a blog and who’s your target audience. Knowing these answers will help determine what type content to write and post and what brands to work with on this new journey.
5) How does one start blogging? Stop making excuses for not doing a blog and just start. Stop worrying about not having the time or something to write about; stop worrying about everything looking just right on the website. “Know that you will never have the perfect or ideal circumstances, so you ought to do it anyway,” Javacia said.
You can find See Jane Write on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/seejanewritebham and its Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/seejanewritebham.
See Jane Write is also on Twitter at @seejanewritebhm. Follow Javacia’s personal blog at WriteousBabe.com and on Twitter at @writeousbabe.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business and more at www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.