Are You a Goal Digger?

goal digger

 

Are you a goal digger? I am.

Lately, many people have adopted a too cool for school attitude about New Year’s resolutions. Some folks think setting goals at the start of the year is a waste of time. You won’t accomplish them anyway, right?

WRONG!

I think it’s a great idea to set goals at the start of the year. It’s such a great way to get motivated and re-energized.

Earlier this month on WriteousBabe.com, I shared some of my resolutions in the blog post “Resolutions for Writeous Babes.”

I also shared my feminist New Year’s resolutions in my January column for B-Metro magazine.

I must confess, though, that there was a time when every December I would compile a list of 99 things — yes, 99 things! — that I wanted to achieve the following year. As you might have guessed, I didn’t accomplish most of these. Many were forgotten by April!

But I have finally developed an efficient and effective goal-setting process that has helped me accomplish so many of my personal and professional aspirations.

Last week on WriteousBabe.com, I shared five mistakes that you might be making when setting goals. These are five mistakes I often made until recently.

This week I had the honor of hosting a goal-setting workshop for some members of See Jane Write, the network for women writers, bloggers and entrepreneurs that I run in Birmingham. I had a blast walking these ladies through my personal goal-setting process. It was such a joy to see them establish lofty aspirations of their own.

If you need help setting your goals for 2015, consider enrolling in my time management e-course How to Write and Have a Life. This course features lessons on goal-setting and drafting vision statements because having clear and specific goals is one of the best ways to make the most of your time.

Write on, goal diggers!

 

The Year of the Writeous Babe

The Year of the Writeous Babe

Happy New Year! 

I declare 2015 to be The Year of the Writeous Babe. 

What’s a writeous babe?

A writeous babe is a woman who writes and lives a life worth writing about. 

A writeous babe is a woman who blogs like a boss. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and is ready to transform her writing into wealth and her blog into a business. 

A writeous babe is not here for the starving artist cliche. She knows she must be a well-fed writer so that she can nourish the world around her.

A writeous babe is a goal digger! She has the imagination to unearth bold and beautiful dreams and the courage to make them come true. 

A writeous babe has some stories and she wants to look good while she shares them. This is not vanity. Her stunning beauty is simply the result of self-care. A writeous babe rejuvenates her body with exercise, replenishes her body with delicious, healthful foods, and restores her body with relaxation and rest.  And everything with which she adorns her body — from the hair on her head to the shoes on her feet — celebrates her unique and authentic style.

A writeous babe believes in women’s empowerment and the sanctity of sisterhood. Thus, part of her life’s work is to help other women and girls find their voices and let them be heard. 

Are you a writeous babe?

Of course you are!

And this year you will begin to live the life of your dreams and I am here to help you do so. 

All year long every blog post I publish, every newsletter I send,  and every e-course, webinar or video training I release will be aimed at helping you accomplish your goals and build a beautiful life. 

Are you with me? 

If so sign up for my new weekly newsletter and for my new Facebook community

Let’s do this! 



Javacia Harris Bowser is the creator of How To Write and Have a Life, a time management e-course for women who write and blog. 

*Cross-posted at WriteousBabe.com.

Currently: The Writer’s Edition

javacia #bloglikecrazy

Currently is a feature Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet and several other bloggers I follow occasionally post on their sites. Currently is essentially a list of what you’re into at the moment and is a great way for your readers to get to know you better. Earlier this year I decided to start doing Currently posts with a twist — Currently:The Writer’s Edition. 


Freelancing for Birmingham Magazine. Be sure to check out this month’s issue which includes a profile I wrote on Shella Sylla, the founder of SisterGolf. SisterGolf is an amazing program that teaches women how to play golf and how to use golf to network and enhance their business relationships.  


Brainstorming ideas for business. I haven’t been doing much personal blogging lately because much because most of my attention has been growing See Jane Write. I even have a business coach now. That sounds so fancy! I’m working hard to build See Jane Write into a profitable, but meaningful business that truly empowers women who write. 


Pitching to WBHM. Each month I’m pitching story ideas to my city’s NPR affiliate. Each month you can find a new blog post by yours truly on WBHM.org. And on the last Friday of each month you can catch me on the air at 90.3 FM (or on the website if you don’t live in Birmingham) discussing my latest post. Last month I wrote about how despite the fact that I’m 33, the women who inspire me most are under the age of 21. For this piece I interviewed one of my former students who recently launched her own magazine. Color me proud!

And speaking of being proud, I must say that out of all my writing endeavors the one that makes me most proud right now is my column for B-Metro magazine — Write Like a Girl. Each month I write a personal essay on women’s empowerment and through this column I feel I’ve produced some of my best work. In this month’s column I examine the intersection of feminism and faith.


Blogging about #bloglikecrazy.  Every year I challenge the ladies of See Jane Write to publish a new blog post every day for 30 days in November. I call this challenge #bloglikecrazy. This year, for the first time, I’ll be publishing my #bloglikecrazy posts at the See Jane Write blog and I’m hosting a #bloglikecrazy kick-off workshop on November 1. To learn more visit the #bloglikecrazy page at SeeJaneWriteBham.com.


What’s going on in your writing life?

*Originally posted at WriteousBabe.com.

My Feminist Fingertips

My Feminist Fingertips

 

We ladies who love sparkly or colorful nail polish and other so-called “girly” things are often given a bad rap. We’re accused of being a “woman-child” who is romanticizing youth.  And even though we may be helping our friends start businesses or starting companies of our own we’re not real adults because we’re not knocked up.

Well, this woman child has an aqua green painted middle finger for all those folks buying into that nonsense.

I may have some pastel polish on my nails on any given day but that doesn’t make me or my fingertips any less feminist.

In July these feminist fingertips of mine wrote blog posts about balanceBlogHere-books, and Beyonce –all with the goal of empowering women. My feminist fingertips typed proposals, promotional material and panel discussion questions and I hosted my very own blogging mini-conference on July 19.

My feminist fingertips wrote an essay for B-Metro magazine on feminist fitness and tackled the question of whether or not it’s anti-feminist to want six-pack abs.

And my feminist fingertips wrote a piece for WBHM 90.3 FM (Birmingham’s NPR station) about my painful experiences with colorism.

As my pal Carrie Rollwagen once wrote, this “woman-child” business is just plain old chauvinism dressed up as feminism, because it says that what a woman does (like starting a business, honing a talent practicing a craft) is less important than the way she looks while she’s doing it.”

And don’t get me wrong — I do care about the way I look. As I’ve said on this blog before, I have some stories and I want to look good while I share them.

But don’t judge my work by my wardrobe and don’t judge the depth of my feminism by the color of my fingernails.

 

Originally posted at WriteousBabe.com

Hear Jane Speak on Biz Talk Radio

In the WAGG studio with Roy Williams recording my segment for Biz Talk

In the WAGG studio with Roy Williams recording my segment for Biz Talk

Be sure to tune in to WAGG Heaven 610 AM today from 3 to 3:30 p.m. I’ll be on Roy Williams’ radio show Biz Talk discussing blogging, See Jane Write and the upcoming Bloganista Mini-Conference.

You can also stream the show at http://www.610wagg.com.

If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, don’t delay. We have less than 20 tickets remaining.

You can get your tickets today at thebloganistaconference.eventbrite.com.

Check out Meet the Bloganistas to learn more about our speakers and read about our sponsors to learn what door prizes you could win at the event.

 

Originally posted at SeeJaneWriteBham.com

Finding Home Again

magic_city_sign

 

What made you want to return to Birmingham?

A few weeks ago someone asked me that question and I realized I didn’t know how to answer it.

This question is not the same as someone asking what brought me back to Birmingham. I know how to answer that.

Unhappy with the lack of opportunity for advancement at my newspaper job, I decided to pursue another career goal of mine: teaching. When my husband discovered that the Alabama School of Fine Arts was hiring an English teacher I jumped at the chance to work at my alma mater.

I can say without exaggeration that the Alabama School of Fine Arts changed my life. I left that school not only with a great education, but also a strong sense of self  and the courage and confidence to be true to who I am. I poured my passion for the school onto the pages of my cover letter and within a few weeks I had been interviewed for the job and hired.

I suppose you could say I wanted to return to Birmingham so I could give back to the school that gave so much to me. But when I left Alabama at the age of 22 I had no intentions of ever coming back. And I spent my first year back in Birmingham regretting my decision to return to my hometown.

Why is my water bill so expensive? Why is my rent more than the average house note? Why is Alabama still taxing groceries? Will Birmingham City Schools ever improve? Why does this city still feel so segregated decades after Jim Crow?

Then I found my people.

In my latest post for WBHM I explore my loving yet complicated relationship with Birmingham and how finding my people made my hometown finally feel like home.

 

Crossposted at WriteousBabe.com.

My Week As a Fashion Blogger

bfw

I had a blast at Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 hanging out with my pal Ivette Thomas of AllAboutBham.com



In my next writing life, I want to be a fashion blogger. 


So last week I dove head first into the wild world of style by covering Birmingham Fashion Week 2014


But first I needed something to wear. Early last month I enlisted the help of Megan LaRussa Chenoweth, founder of fashion consulting firm Southern Femme.


Chenoweth helped me put together two looks for Birmingham Fashion Week. For my first outfit we “shopped my closet.” Chenoweth showed me how to put together old clothes in new and unexpected ways. She paired a coral peplum top with a cobalt blue pencil skirt. It was actually look I’d wanted to try, but I worried wearing two bold colors together would be too much. Chenoweth explained that these colors work well together because they share the same vibrancy. And she advised that I go with neutral accessories, because “You don’t want to look like a Crayola box.”


I wore that outfit to Birmingham Fashion Week’s Homegrown night, which was a showcase of local designers. 

javacia at bfw 2

Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme and I shopped my closet for this look.

 


Then we headed to Target to shop for a maxi dress. I bought two and of those decided to wear the floral frock to Birmingham Fashion Week’s Lifestyle night. When I got dressed that evening my husband said “You look like you should be sitting on a rock playing a guitar singing India Arie’s ‘Ready for Love’ while the seagulls fly by.” 


I think that was a compliment. 

 

I sported this maxi dress to the Lifestyle night of Birmingham Fashion Week 2014.

I sported this maxi dress to the Lifestyle night of Birmingham Fashion Week 2014.

The best part of my time with Chenoweth, however, was a writing exercise she had me do. 

Write a sentence that defines your style, Chenoweth instructed. Like a good student, I pulled out my notebook and pen and quickly got to work.

“OK, I think I have it,” I announced a few minutes later. “Javacia is always effortlessly stylish, exuding confidence and power while still being approachable and feminine.”

Chenoweth smiled and said, “Perfect!” I’d made my teacher proud.

I wrote about my style journey with Chenoweth for WBHM, Birmingham’s NPR affiliate, and chatted about my experience last week on air. You can read my article and listen to my interview here

Elizabeth Singleton at Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 Photo by Brandon Pinola, Courtesy Birmingham Fashion Week

Elizabeth Singleton at Birmingham Fashion Week 2013
Photo by Brandon Pinola, Courtesy Birmingham Fashion Week

Birmingham Fashion Week was inspiring. I was inspired by Elizabeth Singleton, the winner of the Emerging Designer at Birmingham Fashion Week 2013. The designs she showed at this year’s Birmingham Fashion Week were inspired by a sunset. How admirable to be inspired by the simple yet spectacular beauty of nature! Singleton lives in New York these days but is determined to make Birmingham look good while she’s there. You can read my interview with her at See Jane Write Magazine

I also had the chance to interview Milo Beloved of the local vintage lifestyle brand Harold&MOD. During our chat I realized that writing and blogging are always on my mind. So much of what Beloved had to say about his work as a designer could also be applied to my work as a writer. And so I wrote 5 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn From Fashion Designers for SeeJaneWriteBham.com. 

I'm ready for my close up!

I’m ready for my close up!

The major takeaway from my stint as a fashion blogger was this: fashion is more about confidence than it is about clothes. From my time with Chenoweth and my interview with Singleton to my chats with other bloggers covering the event it was clear that when it comes to great style confidence is king. This was obvious in the daring designs I saw on the runway and the bold and beautiful models who wore them. 

And so I realized that perhaps being a fashion blogger is not what I really want. What I truly wish for is a blog that, as my style statement articulates, exudes “confidence and power” and inspires the same in my readers. 

 

How I Landed My Own Column (Without Writing a Pitch)

Photo by Sherri Ross Walters

Photo by Sherri Ross Walters



Just as I do at the end of every year, this past December I wrote down a list of goals for 2014. This time, though, I did things a bit differently. This time I wrote my goals as declarations not aspirations. So instead of writing “I want to land my own column in a local print publication,” I wrote “I will land my own column in a local print publication.” And by January 31 I had done exactly that.

I am now a columnist for B-Metro magazine. My first piece ran in this month’s issue and addresses the issue of whether or not there is a feminist aesthetic. In other words, can you tell a person is a feminist by looking at her?

My column, called Write Like a Girl, will tackle everyday feminism and women’s issues each month. You can read my debut piece “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” here.

When I wrote down my declaration last year I also determined that once I did snag this column opportunity I would write a post about how I did it. In the post I would examine the anatomy of the perfect pitch. But I didn’t write the perfect pitch. In fact, I didn’t write any pitch. I was actually offered this opportunity before I had the chance to ask for it.

Nonetheless, I do have a few tips to offer.

Believe in your goals. I’m a woman of faith. If you’re not, this tip might sound a bit weird, but it’s similar to concepts explored in books like The Secret. I truly think that one reason I got this opportunity is because I believed I would. I had faith, faith that I displayed by writing out this goal as a declaration and not simply as an aspiration.

Share your goals. I also believe in the power of simply saying your dreams out loud. You have to be careful with this. You can’t share your dreams with everyone. Some people are haters and will discourage you from going after your goals. But I am fortunate enough to have a group of women in my life who support me, women I met through See Jane Write. One evening at a coffee shop in Homewood I shared my dream with my pal Tanya Sylvan. The glow in her eyes showed she believed I could achieve this as much as I did and that gave me the confidence boost I needed to enter the new year with boldness. Furthermore, sharing your dreams can help in a practical sense as your friends can let you know when they learn of opportunities that may help you with your goals.

Support the goals of others. I have this mantra about blogging that I often preach: Focus on people, not page views. Some may think that the editors of B-Metro approached me about writing a column because I have a wildly popular blog that gets millions of page views each month. I do not. But this little blog you’re reading right now is part of a bigger project. For the past three years I’ve been offering panel discussions, workshops, and networking events for local female writers and bloggers through the See Jane Write organization and I’ve made name for myself among local editors in the process. I landed my freelance gigs with UAB Magazine and WBHM 90.3 FM because of See Jane Write. By striving to help people make their dreams come true I began to realize my dreams as well.

Have you landed a column with a local or national publication? How did you do it?

Originally posted at SeeJaneWriteBham.com.

Going Natural: It’s Not Just a Hairstyle, It’s a Lifestyle

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It was the summer of 2002, and I was probably on hour three of the tedious process of attempting to straighten my hair with all the heat my scalp could stand. This, of course, was in addition to the chemical hair relaxer occasionally applied to my tresses. While I wrestled with my hair, my roommate turned to me and said, “Maybe your hair doesn’t want to be straight. Why don’t you just wear it curly?”

Those words changed everything.

I was 21 at the time, and in my two decades of living no one had ever suggested that wearing my hair in its naturally curly state was OK. Many black girls grow up with everyone from the media to their mommas telling them that pretty hair is straight hair. So when an African American woman decides – as I did that summer – to forego straightening her hair with chemical relaxers, it can feel like a revolutionary act. Or even a spiritual experience.

“It’s not just a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle,” says Victor Simmons. Simmons and his brother, Jeffrey Simmons, started the Visions Natural Hair & Health Expo in Birmingham three years ago.

In my latest post for WBHM I discussed my decision to go natural 12 years ago and chatted with the creators of the Visions Natural Hair & Health Expo. Read the complete post and hear an excerpt my on-air segment here.

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