PEOPLE: See Jane Write by Javacia Harris Bower
Javacia Harris Bowser is the name behind the writing-feminist movement of the Magic City! As the founder of See Jane Write— a Birmingham-based membership organization and website for women who write and blog, Javacia demystifies the blogging and journalism worlds for women who want to use their voices and stories to change the lives of others. A high school English teacher by day, a fierce feminist entrepreneur by evening, and a doting wife by night, she is the ultimate example of the modern day woman living life by her own terms.
“Other women aren't your competition. They're your sisters, your tribe, your fellow goddesses. Treat them accordingly.”
She is a tie that binds the traditional biosphere of journalism to the new millennial blogging craze, singlehandedly creating a bridge that allows one to crossover to the other. Javacia is a passionate educator who is heavily devoted to the professional evolution of each of her “Janes,” as she affectionately calls the members of See Jane Write, and enriches their knowledge base with every stroke of her keyboard. Javacia Harris Bowser is millennial greatness!
“I couldn’t find the organization I wanted to join, so I started one”, Javacia said, on what compelled her to start her beloved jewel See Jane Write. “When I moved to Birmingham to teach I missed all the women writers I was surrounded by in the newsroom back in Louisville, Kentucky, where I’d served as a newspaper reporter. So, I started looking for an organization for female writers and bloggers. I found some for fiction writers, but I consider myself a journalist and writer of creative non-fiction, so that didn’t quite fit. I couldn’t find the organization I wanted to join, so I started one”.
Passion for profit is the short of it
Our greatest works in life are those we are most passionate about, and millennials of this era live by that creed more than any generation before. It is how SJW (the business) was born. Passion for profit is the short of it
“I actually had no idea that See Jane Write would become what it is today. It began as a gathering of about a dozen women discussing our writing goals over tacos and queso. Honestly, that’s all I ever thought See Jane Write would be— a small women’s writing group that met monthly to share our work and our struggles with the writing life. But for our second event - which was about how writers can use Twitter -- 40 people showed up. And for our third event -- which was a panel discussion on blogging -- 75 people showed up.”
Javacia loved her monthly meetups so much, that she even financed them. “For years I paid for everything out of pocket for the events and I didn’t charge admission. But my husband let me know I was slowly draining our savings account and that See Jane Write was turning into a very expensive hobby. So I had to start charging for events and I created a membership program.”
Javacia was asked to define success, here are her ideals: “Personally, I define success and greatness as the ability to make money and make a difference doing what you love.”
When asked what being a young millennial of greatness mean to her, she was modest—“I don’t actually consider myself a “young” millennial. I think I’m more of an aging millennial, but I am pursuing greatness, nonetheless. And for me greatness is about first defining what success means for you and then achieving that. This is what I admire most about young millennials today. They don’t care about following the traditional career paths or pursuing old notions of success. They’re defining it for themselves and they’re making it happen right now. They’re not waiting until the time is right or they have enough money or they know the right people. They understand that it’s not about getting it perfect, it’s just about getting it going.”
People of color sometimes face special challenges when trying to gain a break in mainstream America, and often turn to organizations with specific interest in black enrichment for guidance. Did Javacia face any special challenges in her field as a woman of color in her industry?
“When I first started See Jane Write I had a few people tell me I should make it an organization and website just for black women because people would assume it was only for black women anyway because I’m black. While I do think circles specifically for women of color are still very necessary, that wasn’t my vision for See Jane Write. So I didn’t listen to those people (who were all men, by the way) and I’m glad I didn’t. The diversity of See Jane Write is something I’m very proud of. Turns out most of the women writers of Birmingham don’t care what color I am.”
The greatest reward
“The most rewarding thing about my work with See Jane Write is celebrating the successes of members. When I see members building businesses from their blogs, writing and publishing books, and getting gigs with their favorite publications I am elated. When my Janes win, I win!”
An empire state of mind
“I am definitely building an empire. This is something I’ve only been able to admit to myself recently. I used to be reluctant to say this for fear of sounding cocky. But Beyoncé -- whom I call the patron saint of female millennials -- and many of the female entrepreneurs I follow on social media have inspired me to dream big, bold, and beautiful dreams.”
Javacia offers a bevy of resources— “In addition to the events and membership program, I also offer coaching, consulting, and e-courses.”
Big, bold, beautiful dreams
“Taking my brand beyond Birmingham is what I must do in the next 10 years if I want it to grow. I’m not sure what that will look like. Perhaps that will even require some rebranding. As for my own writing career, I want to write a few books and see my byline in all of my favorite magazines and online media outlets. “
Tacos and freedom
“I once posted on Instagram, ‘I just want to write for money and eat tacos, every day.’ But I’ll try to give a more serious answer (she gives her signature giggle). I see myself staying in Birmingham because I have completely fallen in love with this city and so has my husband. I want to create a life of freedom. I want financial freedom that not only allows me to have the things I need and want but also allows me to be a financial blessing to others and to donate richly to the causes and organizations I believe in. I want the freedom to control my own schedule. I want the freedom to take a break and to take better care of myself, my health and my husband. I want the freedom to be myself and get paid for it, which is essentially every blogger’s dream.
A message to young millennials
“If you want to be an entrepreneur because you don’t like working hard, please throw in the towel right now. Being an entrepreneur, especially while also juggling a full-time job, is one of the hardest things you will ever do. You will stay up late, get up early, and work on weekends. Sometimes you’ll have to be a bad friend because you can’t go out every Friday or Saturday night like you used to. You’re going to make mistakes and some of those mistakes will cost you time and money. But all of the hard work is worth it. The reward far