All Black Everything, My Life

#BWWPCHOU Meetup

A few weeks ago I attended a planner meetup with my mom. We had an amazing time in this room full of black women who plan their lives to keep it together. Some of these women were hardcore planners while we also had some that just started. As for me, I’m in between, with only 3 planners.

I stumbled upon this group when I found the main Facebook page for the entire country and didn’t realize there were smaller city chapters. Now I don’t feel so alone. I used to think planning and planners were for white women but now I see it’s for every woman, especially those of us who are mothers. How else are we going to keep from losing our shit?

Planning has helped me in more ways than one. Being pregnant, I forget things often. It can be something that was said less than a minute ago and already I have forgotten. I’ve found that with writing things down, I can go back and remember important information.

Budget planning helps to keep money in the bank. I have never budgeted j til now and when I sit down at the end of each month, I see where my money is going (mainly to food, shh).

I also have a teacher planner because, well, I’m a teacher and we have all sorts of dates and deadlines for things. I can’t keep up with all of that so what I do is take the district calendar and write down all the dates as well as my school’s calendar.

Below are some pics from the festivities. Definitely cannot wait until the next planner meetup.

All Things Writing

Writing a Book

I get asked all the time what kind of books I write and how to publish a book. Lately, I haven’t been writing and I actually feel bad because I am a damn good writer and I’m wasting my talent by not using it. People love my stories and what I have to say. I feel like I am letting people down. However, all of that will be changing soon, but I’ll save that info for another date.

You decided you want to write a book. You’re probably thinking about the title, the cover, the length of the book, if people will like it, how to market it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. None of this is important if you don’t have a book. Believe it or not, all of that stuff comes after the book is written. What you should be thinking about right now is actually writing the book.

I used to do outlines for my novels and it became hard because I would try my best to stick to the outline, never deviating. I found that if I had an idea and just began to write, it came easy. Planning out my writing has stopped working for me because I letting my fingers do all the magic on the keyboard has proven successful. That is not to say that planning won’t work for you. I am just saying it doesn’t work for me.

The first thing you need to have is a topic (nonfiction) or a plot (fiction). I dabble in both and find that neither is easier to write than the other. I can say that fiction is more enjoyable to write than nonfiction. So let’s talk about the process for each one, starting with fiction.

Fiction Books

  1. Fiction books require a plot, settings, characters, beginning, middle, end, rising action, climax, falling action, a genre and most importantly, an imagination, which is so much more than a nonfiction book. Usually an outline helps with this or some kind of graphic organizer/plot diagram. I do outline from time-to-time just to get the basics. An outline can be as in depth or surface level as you need it to be.
  2. Next, once you have all of your story elements, find a comfortable place to write that you know you won’t be interrupted. Make sure you have snacks and something to drink. Silence cell phones and maybe turn on some music if that helps. 
  3. Decide if you want a prologue or to just jump write in with chapter one. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure, and this is important, make sure that your first sentence, the topic sentence, is fire. If you don’t have a soul-snatching first sentence, your readers will stop reading. You want that first sentence to make your reader continue on. 
  4. Write the rest of the book. I honestly cannot tell you how to write a book. Many people go to college for creative writing to learn how to write a book, but in all honesty, you can’t teach someone to write a book. You can help someone to better their craft, but writing is something you’re either born with, or you’re not. I will do another post on how to develop storylines for fiction books, so stay tuned for that.
  5. After writing your book comes the most tedious part: editing. I swear this is not the part that I look forward to but it is just as important as writing the book. Editing is for fine tuning, making sure the story flows, there’s no grammar mistakes, spelling is on point, dialogue makes sense, and even though it’s fiction, it needs to have a real element to it. You can always pay someone to do it (yes, I offer book editing services) or you can do it yourself. I do all of my own editing.
  6. Then comes the task of deciding on a title and book cover. There are a number of websites that have premade book covers and I have used several. You can also create your own on Canva.
  7. Once it has been edited, get some beta readers, people who will read your book and give you honest feedback. This will also help when your book launches to have reviews that people can see so they know whether it’s worth a read or not. Don’t fret about negative reviews. Your book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.
  8. When you are ready to publish, decide if you want to go the traditional route (going through a publisher) or the indie route (publishing yourself). I will do a post on this later about the difference between the two.
  9. Last is promotion and there are different ways to promote your book: book promoting service, self promotion and word of mouth.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfictions books don’t require as much as a fiction book does but they can be harder to think of a topic for. There are so many nonfiction books out there that it’s hard to keep up and know whether or not your topic has been written about and how many times. this process requires research and reading other nonfiction books similar to whatever topic you are wanting to write about.

  1. Choose your topic and research that market. See what others have written, if it has been written, and if how yours will be different. Many people write about the same topics but each book is completely different.
  2. Once you have researched the topic, research if readers are interested and if so, what number (just a ballpark estimate). If it is not the number you were hoping to reach, choose another topic.
  3. For these types of books I do make an outline because each chapter is different. I have to plan out each chapter and what all I want to talk about. Length does not matter, but making sure I get all the information in does.
  4. If your book requires sources or for you to gather information from other places, make sure you have a works cited page, footnotes and you cite your sources within the sentences or paragraphs.
  5. Once you have finished your book, again, the editing process, title, book cover, publishing, etc.
  6. Marketing will be different than a fiction book because you will have to find the audience you are targeting. Most fiction books can be targeted towards anyone but when it comes to nonfiction, let’s just say there are more fiction readers than nonfiction readers.

I really hope these tips helped in some way. If you want me to elaborate on something, feel free to let me know. Also, click the services tab to check out my book editing/writing services.

My Life

JOMO

I listen to the Minimalist Moms podcast every morning and one thing they talked about that pertains to minimalism is JOMO: the joy of missing out. I have to say that I have a severe case of this because missing out on things does not bother me. When friends cancel, I don’t fear that I missed something. I am overjoyed. When friends have a get together or when I see my friends doing so many great things or going to events on social media, I don’t have a fear that I’m missing out or that I missed out on anything.

What I’ve learned on this minimalism journey is that I don’t have to attend every event. This also reigns true for my debt free journey. There will be plenty of times where I will miss out but who cares? What’s important to others is not always important to me and vice versa.

People tend to make fun of those who are homebodies, which really comes from their lack of understanding of why someone would choose to stay at home over going out, getting drunk, gossiping, living the wild life. I prefer to only attend functions that benefit me in stimulating conversation, networking, collaborating or a means to increase and better my business. If it has nothing to do with those, count me out.

Now that I have a baby boy on the way, I’m sure my priorities and wanting to go out will change, meaning, I will be more willing to go out to the park, meet up with other moms for play dates, and when he gets older, take him to places like an indoor trampoline park. That type of going out will benefit me in a way that my son is having fun and I am spending time with him doing something that he enjoys or that we enjoy together.

Do I feel like I’m missing out because I see my friends have sleepovers and I’m not invited? Absolutely not. I didn’t even go to sleepovers as a child (maybe one or two that I rememer). I feel as though I would be awkward in that type of setting.

I think the thing is is that I haven’t found a small number of women near me that share the same interests such as veganism, children, health, politics, racial issues, the universe, meditating, spirituality, creating (blogging, business, planning), etc. I have many interests that a lot of women that I know don’t share. Nowadays it’s Love and Hip Hop, the Kardashians and other people and things that are irrelevant to my growth and life.

It’s been said that it’s not okay to not have friends. I agree to the point that it’s not okay to not have friends that share the same interests or are on the same path. It’s not oaky to have friends that bring you down and would rather see you fail than prosper. Those types of people are the ones who give me JOMO because I know that whatever activity they are partaking in, I’m not with it.

Do you have the case of the JOMO? Why or why not?

My Life

I’m back!!

The holidays have past, and school has started again. These past couple of weeks have been nice being off from work. I am not one who cares much for holidays, but I do love spending time with my family. December was our first cold winter in a while. With temperatures in the 40s (that’s cold for us southerners). I stayed inside most of the break, which is what I normally do anyway.

I spent a lot of time working in my planner and getting things ready for the new year. I will show details of that at a later date in a YouTube video. I have recently gotten into heavy planning to really get my life together. I have a baby coming soon and I need to be prepared for their arrival. This will also help me to keep myself on track so that nothing changes when the baby gets here.

I also created a vision board (which will also be shown in at a later date in a video) so that I can visually see my goals and keep track as I achieve them. This method holds me accountable. I had a vision board on Pinterest but it just didn’t help because that meant every time I wanted to see it, I would have to log in to my phone. I should have created vision board before now, however, life sometimes gets in the way.

I have created a schedule for blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as planning out how I am going to work my Instagram. I have deleted a lot of photos (I have less than 100 now) and I want to start posting with intention, instead of how I was doing before (just posting to be posting). I want all content that I create across all of my platforms to be intentional and informational for those who watch, read and follow. I consider these to be leisure activities that provoke thought. I want to stay on a schedule and that is why I am intentionally planning with my planner.

Debthas been a burden on me for many years and now that my baby will soon be here, I have to stick to a strict budget in order to pay off debts and give my child the best life possible. I don’t want to struggle. Even though my child’s father is supportive and I have my family, I still need to be able to do things on my own so when my child grows up, they will know that mommy worked her ass off to make sure that they want for nothing. I have a budget planner, a debt thermometer and a snowball calculator to keep me on track and hold me accountable. I have already input my data for all of these tools as well as my projections for savings each month. I will succeed.

The above items are what I have been working on over the past couple of weeks to make sure that I entered 2018 with clear intentions, a set plan, a changed mindset, and a confident attitude.

What are some things you have been working on in order to make sure 2018 is your best year yet?