I am up at 5:00am for Miracle Morning. This morning is my power hour which means it’s my time to work on whatever I choose. Through heavy eyes, all I can think is another group of ladies: See Jane Write Collective.
I rejoined the See Jane Write Collective last weekend after being away for a couple of years. In an effort to be stricter with the household budget, I left it with the intention of coming back once I got my house in better order. I have and even though it’s only been a week, I already noticed a difference.
Here’s where leaving me up to my own devices to just sit down and dedicate time to my writing projects fails me: I never follow a specific writing schedule!
I have had designated days where I posted here over the years and moments where inspiration hit but never a specific hour where I said here is the time. Here is the quiet space. Plant thy buttocks in a chair and don’t get up! I also have been part of groups where we made spotty efforts to convene but inevitably, life gets in the way one too many times and the world shuts down because of a public health nightmare.
So what does See Jane Write Collective have to do with any of this? Knowing I was going to be part of a group of women led by freelance writer Javacia Harris-Bowser with access to online courses, webinars, coaching, virtual write-in and critique sessions was incentive enough to believe I can create the writing schedule I have long aspired to.
Last night was our first write-in session. It was comforting to speak openly about what I planned to work on, hear the other women share their plans and get to work! The hour I spent profoundly changed a few pieces I have been working on and I actually loved the quiet. My habit is to embrace the chaos of sound while writing but last night I opened myself up to the community of women, silently pursuing our writing goals.
As Miracle Morning came to an end, I thought about how much writing I will get to do if I stop getting in my own way.
Writing is not only a part of my work but it is sacred time for me to commune with creativity. I look forward to more of that with the women of the See Jane Write Collective.
Thursday wellness update time! This past week I lost 1.2lbs which felt amazing to me. I worked hard even when I slipped up and ate too much on some days. There were many reasons why this week felt amazing to me. For one, I rediscovered some belly dance videos on YouTube I used to do several years ago featuring the Bellydance Twins Veena and Neena. I spent many hours doing their workouts and learning routines which led to classes I eventually took years later. I had a ball doing their intense Arms & Abs video. It reminded me how much is available for me to do even when we don’t make it to the gym.
Another reason is that I just attended a networking event for women at an awesome juice bar this evening. I spent the evening learning about how to brand yourself led by a photographer and business coach. Their presentation was dynamic and interactive. We even got a chance to learn about the origin story of Ginger Juice, the venue where the event was held. It was incredibly encouraging to listen to this woman recount how she left the corporate world to take the risk to found a business where she is contributing to the health of her community and spending more time with her children.
I am grateful for rediscovering old joys and having the chance to surround myself with new, enterprising women.
Have you revisited anything you used to love doing lately? Or had any new experiences lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Last night, I had my first in-person coaching session with entrepreneur/coach, Sharvette Mitchell. I attended her female entrepreneurship conference last month and knew I had to schedule one-on-one time with her. Since the only kind of personal coaching I have ever received was from a personal trainer, I didn’t know what to expect but I was completely open to the experience. Let’s just say, I got the direction I needed, especially with my writing goals.
And that got me to thinking. Why did I wait so long to seek the kind of help I needed? I don’t ask it to beat myself up but for the sake of examination. During the session, it occurred to me there are two reasons people don’t ask for help: People believe they don’t need it or they are afraid to ask. I think the fear shows up in many ways. They are afraid they will look (or feel) stupid or weak for needing assistance or they constantly convince themselves they are not “ready” to get the help that they need. I believe most people fall into the fear category.
After I left the session, I was not only happy that I was armed with new goals to achieve on a realistic timetable but proud–proud that I not only acknowledged my need but I acted on the acknowledgement. It has been so easy to recognize the problem, recognize my confusion and lack of direction and stew over what I should do.
I am grateful it wasn’t that hard to reach out and see what could be on the other side.
I spent this past (snowy) weekend at the 2017 Pop-Up Conference hosted by talk radio host, social media coach and web designer extraordinaire Sharvette Mitchell. The two-day conference featured a keynote speech by Kim Coles (from Living Single) and Channel 6’s Antoinette Essa. It was geared toward female entrepreneurs and the theme was “Monetize Your Platform.”
I know there are many writers who may not see themselves as businesswomen (or men). However, that could not be further from the truth. Even if we are lucky enough to be plucked up by a major publishing house, we have to depend on ourselves to market our work effectively. The artistic side of me tends to slink away from the word “sales” picturing a stereotypical, pushy car salesman. However, how are people supposed to know about or purchase your labor of love unless you learn to present it to the world? I know no one has ever knocked on my door asking to read my work.
I figured even if no part of the presentations catered to a writer, I would undoubtedly learn something I could apply. Right from the beginning, any doubts that I may have harbored about whether this was right for me were immediately squashed. Sharvette’s “Hey Girl Hey” ambassadors, Stacy Rodriguez and Toni Winston, were friendly and engaged me immediately. Her team was so organized I was tempted to sing “Formation” as things started to gear up. Registration was seamless and I was invited to sit at a table by a panel member, Yolanda Gray, a warm and welcoming life coach who made me feel right at home with her message of female empowerment.
After a rousing presentation by Confidence Coach, Speaker and Author Shirley T. whose emphasis on relationship building and connection made me walk right to her at the end of the evening and hug her, we were welcomed by Sharvette herself. I think she figured we were warmed up by the hors d’oeurves, conversation and Shirley T. so she threw us right into the fire. She broke us up into groups of 4 and we had to come up with a 60-second skit for one of our businesses. It wouldn’t have been so intimidating if Ms. Kim Coles herself hadn’t made a surprise appearance and watched all of our skits!
Our schedule with swag bag.
Confidence Coach and Author Shirley T. gifting us with her sage advice about relationship building.
I will still hyped after Day 1 in the conference. I had just trudged home in the snow but excited!
Needless to say, we made it through and it was a lot of fun! It was fascinating to see all of the joy and creativity pour out of all these women. It was the passion they had for their businesses that shone through more than anything. There were also plenty of other writers there so any fears I may have had about that were allayed on the first night.
The second day of the conference ran from 8:15-5 and there was so much useful content that I ran out of room in the notes section of the binder provided and moved on to filling up my journal. There were many highlights. They were panels on branding, going from ideation to execution, building media relationships with Antoinette Essa, a session about sales conversations led by skin care business owner Ellice Darien, and the keynote speech “Broadcast Your Brilliance” by Kim Coles.
One of the notable standouts was “Unlocking The Giant Within-Identify, Train and Unleash your Giant–I’ts Screaming to Come Out. It was led by Chief Apostle Olive C. Brown, a local author and Faith Coach. Her content was incredibly uplifting and I fell in love with the idea of “the female Giant.” It’s rare to see us presented that way, even when that’s exactly who we are and must be in this world.
Sharvette’s presentation about monetizing your platform provided the most useful, actionable content for me. She broke down specific tools and strategies to earn income online, even according to your gifts. She was insightful enough to realize some of us are better writers than speakers and vice versa and gave us options for both when creating and selling our products (ex. email courses vs. video courses). Her delivery made me feel like I needed to go home right now and get to work!
Kim Coles signing books
This woman can tell a story! She not only made us laugh but she captured our hearts.
Me and my friend and writing buddy Sonia with Sharvette Mitchell.
Our lovely host listening intently on Day 2.
After the day was done, I was smiling. I hope I not only made connections but possible budding friendships. There was a lot of strength and grit in that room but there was an air of gratitude, service and connection fostered in that room, too.
Without a doubt, I will be popping back up for 2018.
I knocked one goal out since last week. I submitted a piece to another publication this past week! I haven’t worked out consistently, hit my water goal or completed two essays. I definitely need to find the balance of working, going to thrilling events like the dance production “Claves Unidos” I attended on Sunday, visiting family and keeping up with my exercise and writing goals.
Claves Unidos led by Kevin Lamarr Jones. Excellent dance production. I will always make time for events like this!
But I do need to be consistent with my exercise schedule as well.
I wrote half of one essay that I actually really loved starting to write. All I can say right now is that while I wrote it, a lot of specific memories came up that shocked me. My goal is to finish it tomorrow. I can’t wait to publish it as part of my book.
In addition to all of these goals which I did not quite hit this past week, I realized during my See Jane Write Collective virtual coaching meeting this evening that I was not doing everything I can (or anything) to promote how much I love helping people write vows and speeches. Why bother hiding all that I love to do? I answered a message from somebody recently telling them how much I love writing words that were meant to be spoken whether it is a speech, vows, creative non-fiction pieces or poetry.
Even though I did not hit all of my goals, it is already a new week. I can work out for the rest of this week, drink my water, finish my essay, write a new one and publish a new post on Thursday. These are all clearly outlined actionable goals.