Category Archives: See Jane Write

Blog Like Crazy 2020 – Lessons Learned

Well…. I did it!  I blogged every single day of November 2020 and I lived to write about it! 

This yearly writing challenge was created by Javacia Harris Bowser of See Jane Write, a networking group for women bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs.  I’ve been a member of this group since I got started blogging six years ago and I’ve loved the information and camaraderie it provides. 

This is my fourth year to #bloglikecrazy.  I skipped last year but wanted to do the challenge this year to get my head back into writing.  It’s a definitely a head game for me.  Each time, after a few days of the challenge, I start to look at everything as a possible story. 

This year, I also did a lot of pre-planning.  I started writing my story ideas in my trusty notebook and the list grew rather long during the month of October.  I also went through my photos to pre-select the ones to accompany each post.  For me, my posts are about the photography as much as the writing.  I always want to be able to include the perfect photos to help me tell the stories I’m sharing.  I love being able to combine my photography with my writing.

For the first week and a half of #bloglikecrazy, I had posts pre-written and my pre-selected photographs all set to go along with them.  I scheduled the posts and was so proud of myself for planning ahead.  But before I knew it, I was out of prescheduled posts and I was struggling a bit to think of meaningful things to write about.  The ideas I had come up with in October either didn’t resonate with me for the challenge or I just wasn’t ready to write about them just yet.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll write about these topics eventually but several require a little more research and time so they are on the back burner for now. 

Then I realized something…sometimes ideas can come to you in the craziest places.  It was a Friday night and I was heading home from work when my husband texted me to ask if I would stop and get him a burger.  He had just had a chainsaw accident and couldn’t drive so of course, I said I would.  While in the drive thru, I was thinking about Eddie and his accident and looking through our text messages when the incident occurred.  Reading through the messages, they struck me as rather amusing.  Yes, the accident was serious, but both of our responses were typical “us.”  As I read through them, I thought – this is what I’m going to write about tonight!  When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of wine, opened up my laptop and in a matter of twenty minutes I had the story written.  Then I added few photos added from my iPhone (nothing graphic!) and the post was done! 

That Friday night I felt like I turned a corner and writing became easier for me for the rest of the month.  It was a great feeling and over that weekend, I once again was able to write and finish posts for the upcoming week and get them scheduled.  I think the biggest lesson for me this time was to actually schedule time to write and stick to it.  In previous years, I was easily distracted and let other things get in my way and then I would be scrambling at the last minute.  I didn’t let that happen this year. I realized that nothing in my life was as urgent as I was making it out to be and I could take time for myself to write. 

I’m always grateful for the #bloglikecrazy challenge when I complete it and this year is no exception.  It has given me the push I’ve needed to do more, try more and accomplish more.  Thank you for issuing this challenge, Javacia!  I’m so grateful!

Blog Like Crazy…Round Three!

If it’s November…it’s Blog Like Crazy month!!!  This is a month-long writing event created by Javacia Bowser, founder of the See Jane Write network, to encourage bloggers to exercise their writing muscles!  I’ve participated in this challenge for the past two years and loved it, but I wasn’t sure about doing it again this year…until yesterday.

I was taking my pup Lucy on her morning walk and thinking about my week.  I had just checked my emails before heading out the door with Lucy and saw one from Javacia with the subject line – “how to make the most of #bloglikecrazy.”  A few months ago I didn’t think I would do this again but the closer it was getting to November, the more I found myself thinking about the challenge.  I also found myself debating the pros and cons of participating and even talking about it out loud on my walk!   Yes, Lucy looked at me like I was nuts but sometimes it helps to hear my thoughts out loud!  Things like…what would I write about?  What if ideas don’t come through for me this year like they have in the past?  What am I afraid of, anyway???

One question kept popping up as I mulled all these questions over… did I have time to plan and write a blog post every single day in November?  Seriously, we have a weekend get-together with friends in two weeks, Thanksgiving planning is underway and we are also planning a trip to the beach…not to mention the Christmas decorating that has to happen at the end of the month before my December cookie swap party.  But the more I rolled that question around in my head the more laughable it became!  I mean, I’m recently RETIRED!  I have all sorts of time now, right?!  Well…

This writing challenge was quickly becoming a personal challenge since I no longer have an 8-5 job and structure has pretty much gone out the window these past four month!  Actually, I began to think that this would be a good way to introduce some sort of structure back into my life while doing something I love…writing and sharing my photography.  So…here I go again…about to blog like crazy for the third time.  You know what they say…third time is the charm!  Here we go…!!!

Blogging Like Crazy Didn’t Make Me Crazy!

img_3991Today ends 30 days of blogging every day.  Yep!  You read that right!  I blogged EVERY. SINGLE DAY this month!  And…I lived to write about it!

The incredible Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of the See Jane Write networking group challenged the women of the group to #bloglikecrazy for the month of November.  I did this last year and it was a fantastic experience.  I wondered then if I could find enough topics to write about for 30 solids days and I did!  And like anything you do, with practice you get better and ideas come a little easier.

This year the only snag I hit was a pesky sinus infection the week before Thanksgiving which is still hanging on today.  So even though I had some bigger ideas for topics to write about, I didn’t feel good physically and I think it clouded my ability to write on some days.  I chose easier topics to write about and figured I would reserve others for a time when I was thinking more clearly and not as exhausted from fighting the congestion.

I ran into my friend Audrey Atkins yesterday who blogs at Folkwaysnowadays.com and we talked about the bloglikecrazy challenge.  She did the challenge too and we were both excited that we were one day away from finishing!  Check that goal off our list!  Oh, and you really need to check out her blog and her series for this challenge on favorite idioms.  It’s terrific and hysterical!  I learned a LOT about idioms this past month thanks to Audrey!

Back to our meet-up – we discussed how important it is to really plan things out and write ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling at 8 p.m. at night to get a post completed.  I admit, that was me on several nights during this challenge!  But through this process, I’ve thought about other topics I want to explore and write about.  I’ve also been surprised by what people are actually reading vs. what I sometimes “think” will spark interest.  It pays to look at your analytics and see what is catching your readers’ eye!  I’ll be doing more of that as I move forward.

Javacia started See Jane Write to empower women to write and live a life worth writing about.  Thanks so much, Javacia!  It’s a wonderful goal to aspire to and I think by accepting this challenge…I’m on my way!

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Cheers to #bloglikecrazy Month!

IMG_0596Today is day 30 of something called “blog like crazy.”  It was a challenge issued by Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of See Jane Write.  The challenge was to write 30 original posts during the month of November.  (You may remember one of my posts this month about meeting “The Janes” back in July 2014 when I was working up the courage to start this blog.)

Javacia issued this challenge last year too but I was just getting started with my blog.  I launched on September 15th and I figured I had better get a few posts under my belt and figure this blogging thing out first!  So I tucked this in the back of my head and decided that if the challenge was issued this year, I would definitely do it!

I’ve learned quite a bit about myself through this process.  I’ve learned that I CAN blog every single day!  At first I thought I would run out things to write about but because I have been doing this consistently this month, ideas started popping up quite frequently.  To say I was excited and pleased would be an understatement.  Javacia said writing is like exercise and she is so right.  It takes practice to get better and I was definitely seeing this.  I also thought that people would get tired of seeing my posts.  Once the post is published, I would add it to my personal Facebook page, the See Jane Write and Alabama bloggers Facebook pages, my twitter account and finally, to my Instagram feed.  I started feeling like I was over saturating social media with my posts, but what I found out is that more people were finding me and commenting or “liking” my posts.

My family was also enjoying my posts and this is very important to me since I am writing a lot about them and our family history.  At first, I was a little worried that I would get some of the stories wrong or mixed up, but then I remembered – this is “my” voice and my recollection of things so once I internalized that, I would write the story.

Finally…since I always include my photographs in each of my posts, I realized just how any photographs I take in a month!  Yikes!!!  And this doesn’t include the old family photos that I have yet to scan, my dad’s slides and the photos I took before digital.  Of course, I have no intention of reducing the number of photos I take…  I really can’t help myself.  When I look at a scene, I’m always composing the picture in my mind when I don’t have a camera handy.  But I also take plenty with my iPhone too!

As I get ready to hit publish on this last post, I want to thank Javacia for the challenge and the encouragement.  If you are a blogger and have never tried this, I encourage you to give it a shot.  I’ve loved every minute of it!

Meeting the Janes…

IMG_9879A few weeks ago I wrote about Scott Dinsmore and how his website and a workbook he published helped lead me into the direction of becoming a blogger.  Part of this planning process involved doing some research and finding people and information on how to do this.

During my research I discovered something wonderful…I discovered See Jane Write. I had heard about this network – and The Janes – through my friend Nicole Thurston (Destination Unknown) a few years ago.  She is a blogger and attended one of the See Jane Write conferences and wrote about it.  I remember tucking that bit of information into the back of my mind for some reason.  Now I know why I did that.

After the self-assessment I did with Scott’s workbook, I went online and looked up See Jane Write and started reading.  I also noted that there was a mini-blog conference coming up at Homewood library.  I couldn’t wait to sign up for this conference!  I signed up and anxiously awaited that Saturday in July 2014…I was ready to meet The Janes and see what I could learn from them!

As I began gathering information about the conference and who the panelist and speakers would be, I dug a little deeper.  I looked up their blogs, took note of their blog design, read through some of their stories/posts. I really wanted to get a feel for what they were saying and how they were saying it. I didn’t know at that point if there was really a specific way to go about blogging. I also found all these bloggers on Instagram. Since I love photography, you know I LOVE Instagram! So I began following the panelist and looking through some of their photos to get a feel for their personalities and their lifestyles.

Then the night before the conference, a photo popped up from panelist – Chic in Academia (aka Bertha Hidalgo) and I commented on it.  She mentioned how excited she was to be a panelist at the conference.  Now, how many times have you commented on an IG photo of someone who has thousands of followers and you get a reply right back? That had never happened to me but it did with Bertha!  I commented that I would be attending and she immediately followed up and said to come see her and say hello!  Wow!  I was fascinated!

So….I did!  I got to the conference fairly early – I’m always an early bird and I quickly took a seat on the front row.  Can you tell I was eager?  I was excited to see Chanda Temple (Chanda Temple Writes) there and we sat next to one another on the front row.  I took a walk around the room a little bit later to explore, checked out the vendor tables and hen there she was…Bertha was sitting with two other panelist.  As I remember it, we made eye contact and it’s as if we already knew one another.  She jumped up and hugged me and I tell you, it made me feel wonderful!  We chatted for a bit, she  asked me about my blog – which I hadn’t launched yet – and I told her my ideas and what I hoped to accomplish.  She was so encouraging to me that day and continues to be as I take this journey.

Meeting Chic in Academia - Bertha Hidalgo - at the See Jane Write Mini-Conference.

Meeting Chic in Academia – Bertha Hidalgo – at the See Jane Write Mini-Conference.

As I met and spoke to other bloggers that day and shared my vision for Southern Senora, they were all so encouraging and liked my blog concept saying there really wasn’t anything like that “out there.”  I still had work to do to narrow things down but it made me feel good that everyone was so willing to share their experiences and offer advice.  I had come to the right place, for sure!

Morning panelist...

Morning panelist…

That day I learned so much and the mini-con also confirmed a lot of things that I had researched and discovered about blogging and myself in the process.  In addition to hearing from Bertha, I loved hearing from panelists Erica Bunker (Erica B’s DIY Style), Vanessa Culpepper (Budding Fashionista) and Heather Brown (My Life Well Loved).  Later in the day a great panel discussion took place featuring Carla Jean Whitley of Birmingham magazine, Tanya Sylvan of All in Stride, Williesha Morris of My Freelance Life, and Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different Day.  Alexis also gave the opening keynote speech and then Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme closed the conference out by sharing her success story.  What a day!

Afternoon panelist

Afternoon panelist

And all this was possible because of the vision of one woman – Javacia Harris Browser – founder of See Jane Write.  Javacia is quite simply a rock star!  I am forever grateful to her for creating this organization that has given me access to such wonderful and encouraging people.  Thank you, Javacia!

Meeting the Janes has been a highlight in my blogging journey…