FullSizeRenderWhen you’re a kid, the possibilities of what you can become seem endless. Some want to be doctors, firefighters, policeman, and ballerinas one day, but the next day the answer can change to pilot, astronaut, or chef. I knew I was going to be a writer. I had learned to read earlier than most of my classmates in Pre-K and always excelled in literature and writing. I knew that I had found my calling in life, but there were a ton of obstacles that took me off track. After years of sitting on my gift instead of walking in it and using it, I knew it was time for a change. I had a great group of inspirational friends who I knew would support me every step of the way so, a year and a half ago, I began a journey down a path I never thought I would. I opened up a legal notepad and outlined what would be the blueprint for my FIRST book. It was in some way a blueprint to also help me make sense of the last 24 years of my life at that time. So I entitled it “Wanderlust Musings: First Hand Guide for The Girl in Search of Herself.”  I was searching for myself and I knew that there would be thousands of other women doing the same. Now at 25 I’m still growing and learning, but the wisdom I have acquired is so overwhelming that I must share it with others.

I recall a time when I attended Pose ‘N Post Symposium with Chrisette Michelle in Newark. The event was filled with bloggers, writer, entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators. We were all women and all dreamers. Someone asked the question, “How do you stand out in industries that are heavily saturated?” The answer was quite simple, “Be you.’ I thought about ways to make myself stand out and it came so easily to me. We each have something no one else can take from us and that’s our stories. Our lives. Each of these women authors I have encountered whether via social media, or in person each open themselves up to share parts of themselves. There is beauty in vulnerability and I believe that you will be inspired by making the choice to invest in their stories.

Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins. Available for purchase on Amazon.
Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins. Available for purchase on Amazon.

Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins  (Amazon, $15.00)

Because who said you had to have life all figured out in your twenties? If you consider yourself to be a woman who dances to the beat of her own drum and creates her own standards, Ty’s work will certainly be a breath of fresh air to you. I love how she challenges millennials to think for themselves and think about the things that really matter in our lives through her personal stories. Navigating life in the 20’s is difficult as hell and it can be hard to find your footing and reading Twenties Unscripted was no typical “how-to” guide. As a writer, I totally identified with her journey. I especially love how she tackles this new age form of dating and the standard of relationships nowadays. She questions the traditional norms on whether they are as relevant today as they were in the past. She kept it real. I found myself nodding in agreement, laughing, and seeing myself in a lot of her journey. Readers will close her book with a fresh outlook on life.

419JZDvxEWLAlexandra Elle’s “Words of a Wanderer” (Amazon $5.39) & “Love in my Language” (Amazon, $16.19) 

31AlRS4L+FLFrom the moment I followed her on Tumblr, and then Twitter, and then Instagram it was instant inspiration. I get my life with every single post whether it’s her self-love notes, finding love and being an amazing role model to Char Baby, her daughter that is so full of life. Her first book, “Words of a Wanderer” definitely helped me during a time where I was struggling to find my own identity. I was fresh out of a long term relationship and I was trying to figure out who I was outside of the guy I had been with for six years. Reading her poems of love lost, motherhood, growth and self-image made me revel in her strength. I was amazed by it. Her “Note to Self” can be seen plaster all over the internet for daily inspiration. Her sophomore album is a continuation her journey. She really opens herself up to her readers and shares short stories and poems on her struggles, the joys of finding love again, daddy issues, being a mother and teaching her daughter important values. She challenges readers to journal and write their way to finding their own peace.

71jLDP1OODLGo Girl Astrology Guide by Bindu Kabba (Amazon, $19.99)

I am a huge fan of astrology even though I have studied it seriously for fifteen years like Bindu. Her book is very unique. As a psychology major, Bindu has been able to use her knowledge of astrology and psychology to better understand people. A lot of folks say we should rely to heavily on the stars as a deciding factor in our destiny, but I think the stars are on to something when it comes to the way my life is set up. I read through her chapters and she really gets people. I’m a Sagittarius and I’ve dealt with my fair share of people and for some reason Bindu seems to be the only person to understand the evils of the Geminis. Lol. If you enjoy her book, you’ll also enjoy her candid radio talk show The Buzz Klub.

We are halfway through 2015 and for some of us we have found several ways to balance our finances and to keep our bank accounts in check with the hope of a summer full of travel and adventure, but for some you find yourselves scrambling to save your pennies, living paycheck to paycheck and can’t seem to find a balance between your expenses and the social activities you want attend. You constantly have to sit out on any fun events and activities with friends because you had to pay a big bill or a late fee. It sucks when you make plans with your money only to find an overdraft took half of it because with a pending balance to your account you mis-budgeted your funds

One thing that I’ve noticed however is that there are more black women and men stepping up and taking their lives back from the debt that trapped them. There is a financially fit movement sweeping across our young generation. If you find yourself needing a beginners class or some 101 help on where to begin here are three women at your service.

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Marsha Barnes CEO/Founder of The Finance Bar

Marsha Barnes is a certified financial educator with over 12 years of experience. She founded The Finance Bar as a way to provide financial support and help to young women, couples and adults. The Finance Bar is a mobile bus that offers face to face and virtual consultations as well as instructional session. There’s even a mobile app that is completely free for Apple.

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Interior of the Finance Bar mobile bus

The Finance Bar mobile offers a Member Club to women that includes Monthly Expert Guidance, Forums, Networking opportunities, accountability, challenges, discounted services such as one on one consultations.

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Where fashion meets finance Carrie Pink has branded herself as your go to woman if you’re the type who loves to splurge on Louboutins, take trips to Paris and live the luxurious life WITHOUT breaking the bank. Carrie offers a Budget Bootcamp that enables her clients to save close to $12,000 a year. She offers a service Shopholic Anonymous where she helps you track the areas that you splurge on the most, she taps into your closets and helps you make and save some money by selling items that are no longer needed.

CP_homepage_picCarrie offers services such a free consultation, budget reviews using printables and templates on her site, coaching sessions, shopping trips to help you make wiser decisions as well as yard/wardrobe sales where the proceeds go directly into your savings. Carrie teaches that you don’t have to be an old, greasy accountant with a bland life in order to make smart choices. You can still have fun while spending, you just have to be smart about it.

Tiffany-AlicheTiffany Aliche aka The Budgetnista can be seen on Good Morning America, in Essence Magazine, and a plethora of other media platforms sharing her expertise on smart budgeting and money management. She was smart enough to learn the importance of budgeting and saving at a very young age when she like any typical kid wanted a bike.

Services that Tiffany offers range from keynote speaking, financial literacy series for all ages, college planning and even lesson plans and curricula for schools and educational institutions. Tiffany is an award winner who has dedicated her time to educating all ages on being financially smart.

As I work to market a recently published book, edit and finish a manuscript for another, freelance for a media company with a huge readership, and generate content for my own sometimes I sit and wonder how I can stretch my brain and come up with enough writing ideas to spread across all platforms. Some days even with a deadline approaching, I find myself just not “feeling” what I am working on. I’ll pitch a story idea to my editor, get it approved, but when it’s time to actually start writing it, I don’t like it anymore or I don’t know which angle to write from. I come up with so many amazing ideas on a daily basis, but the hard part is actually writing them and pouring my thoughts out on to paper or on to the web. People ask me all the time how I deal with writer’s block and how often does it happen to me. Honestly, I get writer’s block all the time. Sometimes I have so many thoughts circulating in my brain that I can’t make sense of it. Sometimes my mind is so scattered I can’t focus on one thing long enough to finish it. Writer’s block isn’t the end of the world though. Here’s my process:

1. Assemble my Think-Tank: When I’m stuck on a topic and can’t figure out which angle to present it from, the first thing I do is assemble a think tank of friends and family and generate a discussion around the topic. I seriously value the opinions of others, after all, they are my readers and I want to know what they think. This even gives me the opportunity to write a single topic from several different viewpoints. On “pitch days” for Madame Noire when I find myself stumped on what kind of topics to present, I simply ask what’s trending right now and I ask my think tank “What are some things you would like to read about?” Never underestimate the ideas and opinions of those close to you.

2. Jot Down Keywords: As my think-tank is dishing out ideas and angles, I jot them down in keyword form. Instead of sitting and writing down paragraphs and paragraphs of ideas, it’s quicker for me to just write down words that will help me recall what was said. It’s similar to creating an outline before writing a paper.

3. Sleep On It: Pretty self-explanatory. I literally take in everything I wrote down and think about all the thoughts and ideas that was shared with me and I internalize it all by sleeping on it. Whether I wrote my notes in a notebook or used Notes on my iPhone, I lay down and read over them and think about anecdotes or examples to use before I write. Once I figure it out, I allow myself to sleep with the idea that I’ll wake up with a fresh perspective and definitely energy to actually write my article or blog post. This was a habit I picked up in college around finals when I would pull all-nighters. I found that napping in between studying or after studying helped me retain information better.

4. Write in pieces: Sometimes I’ll know how I want a story to end before I even write it. Sometimes I’ll know what the turning point is going to be before I know the beginning or ending. So I write and develop my stories or post around them and allow the pieces to come together.

As someone who aspires to make a career out of writing, I don’t sweat it if I get writer’s block which seems to be happening more often now that I have so many projects going on at once. I hope you found my strategies to be helpful whenever you find yourself struggling with what to write or how to write it.