Special Edition: #Blog4Biz A Writer’s Business

Blog4Biz Day 5

Out of Hiatus for a special cause….

 

My friend Shai  has me coming out of my blogging hiatus.  Per my post on my birthday, I am technically on a blogging break, but sometimes we have to make changes for good causes and this is a great cause.

 

What is #Blog4Biz?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s a  blogging challenge for the month of July for business owners created by Shai. It’s a blogging challenge to help you get your business off the ground if you’re a new entrepreneur.  If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a ‘serial’ entrepreneur it can help you get focused on the current or the next project.  And who doesn’t want that?  We get a new prompt every day.  Would you like to join us?  Check Shai’s blog daily and join the Facebook group.  We’d love to see you over there.  Tell Shai I sent you so she doesn’t think I’m slacking. 

 

Not only is this challenge to help you blog for your business, it’s to help you flesh out the plans and dreams you have for your business as well as connect with your customers, clients, audience and readers (in my case). It’s like a written business vision board. Sidenote: we love vision boards around here.  For the 31 days of July, there will be a different prompt and the word number increases – yes, the word number increases.  For those that don’t know me and are new here – welcome!  But word count is never an issue for me as a writer.  I’m wordy as hell.

 

My prompt for the day is:

Choose a word that starts with ‘mo’ like momentum, mobility, moving, etc. and write about how that relates to your current business incarnation

Of course, why would I end up with this one?

After pulling up all the words I could think of that started with ‘mo’ I chose the word….

MOXIE

mox·ie  (mks)

n. Slang

1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.

2. Aggressive energy; initiative:

3. Skill; know-how.

 

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who IS the business.  Basically, my words are my business.  I take them seriously.  If you’re a creative, an artist or someone who provides a service or a product, you’re still part of the business brand.  Many times, you are the brand.  As a writer, people come here to read what I’m writing and they pay attention to what I say – that was a scary thought when the blog took off.  I mean, people really care about what I say or don’t?  Yeah, no pressure. 

 

The reality is it takes a lot of moxie, on a daily, weekly basis to continue – with any business.  Some days are more successful than others.  There will be a number of failures, poor decisions, etc that happen.   There will be a lot of times you want to throw in the towel and quit.  Trust me, I know about this – I have seriously thought of deleting the blog a few times.  I didn’t.  I persevered because I realized what I’m doing right now is important.  To me and my readers.  What’s coming up is important.  But you can’t get to the other side of things if you stop in the middle.

 

The moxie is what carries you through.  Those are the days it becomes extremely important to dig in, tap in and carry on.  For me, it’s the moxie that gives you the momentum.  

 

When I first started blogging, I started just to test the waters.  As a writer I wanted to know was I any good.  I wanted to know how people would respond to my posts.  I wanted to know what people would say first-hand.  Did I have the nerve to publish?  Could I handle the negative comments that sometimes come an author’s way?  Was I ready to face the rejection or someone telling me my ish wasn’t good?

Yes.  Yup.  All day.

I also realized somewhere in there, I didn’t exactly have a concrete plan.  While I’m not posting daily for the challenge, I would like to say my ultimate client is mostly all of you – anyone who reads and finds the blog comforting.  My ultimate goal is to get these stories I’ve been hiding and housing for years, edited and posted into Amazon and then see where it goes from there. In the meantime, there is so much work to actually be done.  Despite the fact I’m a creative and I write, blog, etc., there is always business to handle.  Setting up business entities, handling money, making decisions for next steps, making sure the blog is maintained and handling the editing and the publishing of the book.

If you’re an artist or creative person, don’t ever let anyone let you think it isn’t a legitimate business.  There’s so much work that has to be done and considered on the back end of things – in addition to all of the creative work that has to be done.  Seriously.  It’s like double work.  However, it’s worth it.

What’s your word?  Let me know in the comments section below.

For all of those that normally follow From Rae with Love, I’ve started a new group vlog, called The Stepsisters with my friends Shai, Tanisha and Eva.  We’ve been having an amazing time.  Right now we’re discussing blogging, collaborative blogs and the #Blog4Biz challenge.  However, don’t get it twisted, we talk about EVERYTHING on there.  We tend to roll off on a good tangent every show and that’s when the magic really happens.  Check us out!  Mind you, the show is about an hour every Wednesday at 9pm and we do the show LIVE.  Seriously.  Stay for what happens past the business side of it and you’re guaranteed a good time.  Also, you can follow us here collectively on twitter @StepSistersBlog.

It’s been difficult to stay away from the blog, however, sometimes we have to take a break in order to reset ourselves and refocus on our purpose.  I promise I’m not going anywhere because there is so much more to come.  I have some things in the works and cannot wait to share them with all of you.  You also know you can find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.

Before I go let me give you a few really good books I’ve been read and talk about the business side of the creative field:

The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield

Blogging for Creatives: How Designers, Artists, crafters and writers can blog to make contacts, win business and build success by Robin Houghton

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life  by Anne Lamott

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

APE: How to Publish a Book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur  by Kawasaki/Welch

 

As with any business it’s about having the moxie to put yourself and your work/product/name/service out there.  More importantly it’s about doing the work.

Would love to hear your comments below!  Please make sure to visit and sign up for the challenge!  Hope to see you all there on the other side of completion and success!!!

Love,

Rae

 

Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

Like Cutting Teeth

During lunch today, I ran  errands and went in search for food.  I was also searching for what I wanted, for what I needed to say in the final #30IN30 post. I’ve been thinking about it since last night when I got home.  While at this new spot-I-won’t-name-because-I-know-I-can-make-a-better-version-of-what-they-made-than-what-I-was-served, I began to think about limitations and the ones we impose on ourselves and the ones we allow others to hold over us.

I started thinking about the blogging challenge this month.  I was thinking how even though I skipped days (of posting) I made it up those times and posted twice.  On one Saturday I had to post three times!!  Shiiiiid!  What?  Three posts?  In one day?  Yeah okay Rae, is what I was thinking.

Then there is the moment when I had to admit to myself as the month continued – I’ve been bullshitting.  Pussyfooting around and shit.

*slow blink*

This blogging challenge clearly showed me – bullshitting.  I jumped in because I needed something to anchor me down.  I needed to test my skills.  I keep talking how I’m a writer.  But I was playing myself.  A writer who wasn’t writing. Let me see if I can live it.  I can and I did.

I wrote about limitations and boundaries last October in a post entitled (Less Limitations +Less Boundaries +More Life) x More Love = Restoration.

But last October, I couldn’t see what was  to happen during that month and all of the things to follow.  We rarely do.  I didn’t exactly see what kind of space I was in at the time either and how that very space would influence other decisions.  I was writing in an on again, off again manner.  Scared to say the things  most on my mind.  Afraid people might have something negative to say.

I’ve found the posts where I’ve been afraid to hit the publish button, the most vulnerable posts, were the best posts.  I found out it’s how people connect with you.  I’ve found I care about what I say.  I’ve found it’s more important for me to be happy with the writing than others.  I’ve found my own blog posts ministering to me.  I found I’m much braver than I lead on or let myself imagine.

The thing is, this blogging challenge has  changed me as a writer and even as woman.  It’s bust my notion of myself as a writer wide open.   I’m vastly more capable than I have allowed to shine through.  I realize I’ve been placing all of these boundaries on myself – in more ways than with my writing.  Around the time of my birthday in May, I realized I have been in this major growth phase.  A phase where things are changing and I’m expanding as a person.

Expansion.  Enlargement of territory.  Growth as a woman.  Examination.  It’s been like cutting teeth.  It’s been painful.  The lessons I’ve (clearly) selected to sign up for have been challenging.  They have been expansive and life-altering.  Here’s the secret: All of it has been for the good.

How is that a writing challenge does all of this and makes me think about all of these things?  Maybe because when I had to write every day I couldn’t bullshit anymore…. writing for 30 days straight brings out all kinds of things – thoughts, emotions, feelings I’m holding on to, awareness of where I stand.  It made me take stock of things and examine myself.  It made me think about where I want the blog to go and showed me the possibilities of where it can go and what can happen.

I have sincerely loved every minute of it.  The cursing and the frothing at the mouth.  The moments when I had written a post and realized I was still too close to the situation to finish it well.  The moments I no longer loved the post I was writing and then had to scrap it in search of something else to write.

But really, it’s opened my thoughts on what I should be doing and set my sights on what I really want.  It also gave me the confidence I need to say I’m officially a writer at this point.  One who shares.  One who can possibly teach and save time. One who can connect people across the lines.  One who can let people know they’re not alone.  I surpassed what I thought I could do.  I did something I haven’t done.

Now to get to business about what happens after this challenge ends:

  • I am going to take a week off to focus on debauchery myself – which means next Friday I’ll have a live post for you.  If you need to find me follow me on twitter. 
  • I plan to set an official blogging schedule and tackle some topics/subjects I’ve been afraid to write about.  What days would you like to see posts? I’m thinking Mondays and Wednesday?
  • I will post short stories on the blog and would love to hear from you about your thoughts when that begins.
  • I am prepped to go through all of the fiction I have written in the past and look through what I love, what can be salvaged and what needs to be trashed.
  • I will FINISH at least three short stories and submit them to literary journals for publishing.
  • I will come up with three ideas to pitch, send the query letters and see what happens.
  • I will create a few photo posts.
  • I plan to incorporate a few vlogs into the blog before close of the year.

So the above is my task list for the next four months.  The challenge continues in my mind.  There’s much work to be done.

So look, I love y’all.  You have been so very very very (did I say very?)  good and gracious to me this month.  The wonderful people I now have in my life as a result of this challenge is nothing short of miraculous.  So I wrote, I broke my own record, discovered some things about myself AND I have new friends?

Shut the front door! Sugar Honey Ice Tea!!

It’s been a stellar month that has more than made up for the shitty ones.  Thank you.

Talk with y’all next Friday (or before if you tweet me!).
Love,

Rae

So Far In 30 in 30 and Write Like Crazy

On August 1, I decided I was going to participate in the #30in30 which is 30 blogs posts in 30 days presented by Aliya S. King.  In another space, the talented author Tayari Jones was running a challenge to “Write Like Crazy” for the month of August.  Basically, I decided to mesh them together to see what I could do.  This makes the twenty-third post and I couldn’t be more pleased with what’s been happening as a result of me writing.   On August 14th I started tweeting about a few of the things I have learned over the month:


I will say, sitting here at the kitchen table tonight, I’m thinking over everything the month has brought to me, introduced to me.  It’s been amazing.

I’m also over here bugging out because I know at the end of the month I need to be on a blogging schedule; I need to come up with topics; I need to submit query letters and finish short stories.

Just because this will end in seven days has nothing to do with what’s coming after ward.  There is so much work that has to be done!  I’m nervous and excited about it.  This month has sincerely stretched me as a creative, as a writer.  I also know tweeting, writing, working, loving and living all make for fierce competitors of one another.  At any given time there is one that seems more important.

For me it seems to be living and loving then writing.  I see work as a means to an end.  Thankful for my job and what it affords me, but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. It’s more important for me to live, love and write.  Work… well…

This challenge has been amazing in so many ways.  The blog was even added to a list of the 127 Best Black Websites Online via United Black America.  I was in shock!!  I mean, to think I am listed with some of the heavy hitters of blogging?  Yes please.  Thank you Jesus!!  Being listed, thought of and acknowledged is something all of us want.  It was an affirmation and confirmation.

But really, for me, it’s when I hear from all of you.  When someone tweets me they enjoyed a blog post.  When I read the comments and emails.  When I talk to people and they know the blog or my friends and they tell me about a specific post they’ve read that was helpful. Those are defining moments for me.

For the last 10 years I’ve been talking about writing and publishing a book.  Now I am writing and working on the book.  It’s a process.  It will be a learning and growing experience.  But the point is I’m writing.  It’s happening in real time and I’m thankful.

I cannot even begin to tell you all how this blog and putting myself out there in full force has blessed me over the course of the summer.  I’d like to think the blog has saved me in many ways and allowed me to be open, to explore, to be fearless.

I am ever so thankful for the platform.  Like I’ve said before, what’s the point in me having to have gone through all of the foolishness I’ve seen and been through if I can’t share it and save you some time and heartache?

Wishing you soul, love and peace on this Friday evening.  I’ll be blogging or tweeting for the remainder of the night to make sure I am on target.

Love,

Rae

P.S. I have to add this because it’s what I used to watch on Friday/Saturday nights growing up in Detroit.  By the way, “Sharevari” the song that’s playing, was created by two Detroiters and is one of founding songs for techno and electronic music.  At any rate, this is how I’m feeling tonight.  80s clothes, jherri curls and all.  Yeah – that good.