Wandering WordsWomen Launch Day!
Updated: Jan 8, 2019
Last Sunday, August 26, was Women’s Equality Day in the United States, a day to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
I spent Sunday afternoon at a local viewing of the heart-wrenching and yet, inspiring movie, Iron-Jawed Angels, the story of Alice Paul, Lucy Stone, and the countless other courageous women (including a brief nod to Ida B. Wells), who secured my right to vote. This viewing was organized by VARatifyERA, Virginia's campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) since Virginia is among the thirteen states who haven’t already done so.
This event served as a launch party to make Virginia the thirty-eighth and final state to ratify the ERA. It’s time that women, wherever they are across the United States, are recognized as equal citizens. The 2017 Virginia state elections were a windfall in terms of elected women and people of color, so the ERA has the best chance in years, if ever, for passage in 2019.
Just in case you’ve forgotten the language of this controversial amendment, it says:
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
It sounds straightforward because it is. Under this amendment to the U.S. Constitution, women and men would be guaranteed the right to be treated equally. It’s that simple.
So, what’s this have to do with launching a website?
Why I’m launching Wandering WordsWomen now
We are two years away from the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. In the fight to pass the 19th amendment, for one of the first times in US history, women’s voices were heard in large numbers. Hundreds of thousands of women (and supportive men) marched, signed petitions, picketed, and organized to secure its passage. Even after the amendment was ratified, it took many years for women, especially women of color, to be fully enfranchised. Now that we are, we will not be silenced again.
It feels like a fitting time, then, to launch Wandering WordsWomen, a learning community focused on lifting women’s voices through the written word.
Wandering WordsWomen’s target audience is outdoor-loving women writers who want to strengthen their voices, build their audiences, and support a traveling lifestyle.
So what does that mean?
What is an outdoor-loving woman writer?
If you’ve ever left your writing desk to walk in a park, gaze up at a harvest moon, paddle a kayak, or drive along a mountain road, you are an outdoor-loving woman writer. You know that, whether you write about the sights you see or the experiences you have in nature when you spend time outdoors, you signal the muse so she can find you once again. The beauty of the natural world and the mystery of its wonders conspire to restore your spirit so your creativity can’t help but make its way to the surface.
Simply put, an outdoor-loving woman writer finds inspiration through exploration and isn’t afraid to get dirty along the way.
For an outdoor-loving woman writer to be free to do the things she loves, she needs to:
Strengthen her voice
Build her audience
Support her lifestyle
Here’s how I see Wandering WordsWomen playing a part in these three things.
Strengthen her voice
As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to be better at what I do, whether that’s blogging, writing an essay, or working on the memoir that’s been languishing in my proverbial desk drawer. Whether you’re an accomplished writer or a novice, a fiction writer, journalist, memoirist, blogger, travel writer, poet, or how-to author, mastering the craft of writing takes practice and persistence.
At Wandering WordsWomen, you’ll find practical strategies, tools, and ideas to apply to your writing. I’ll share resources I’ve found useful and ask you to share things that have made a difference for you.
I’m hoping that the Wandering WordsWomen community becomes one that helps each of us nurture the voice deep inside until it springs forth from the page with clarity, passion, and truth.
Build her audience
A writer without an audience is like that tree that falls in the forest—who knows if a writer has something to say if no one knows she’s written anything? Gone are the days when an author writes a book, sends it off to a publisher, and leaves all the marketing and selling to them. Writers today have to be active participants in building and nurturing their audiences, including developing email lists, attracting social media followers, establishing their web presence, strategizing how to maximize book sales, and arranging for personal appearances.
Through Wandering WordsWomen, I’ll be sharing what I already know about:
the world of 21st-century publishing from indie publishing to traditional and everything in between;
marketing yourself and your writing;
how to find markets for your work; and
how to build your online audience.
I’ll also be sharing what I learn from you as I experiment with different ways to build the Wandering WordsWomen audience and develop this platform. I’ll be looking for your ideas and input as you share your successes and challenges.
Support a traveling lifestyle
I know the pull that so many of us feel to ditch our jobs where we’re working for someone else and do what we love. Today’s mobile economy makes things possible that were not imaginable even ten years ago.
So how do we make money—enough money—to write, travel, and live lives where we feel fulfilled and happy? Wandering WordsWomen will be exploring these topics in depth so you can choose to live the life you want.
As I try out my own ideas, I’ll be sharing what’s working for me. I’ll also be sharing the stories of women who are making it work for them, in some cases by re-defining what’s enough, and in others, by generating incomes beyond their imaginations.
If you’re finding success in generating income, saving money, making ends meet, and being generous with what you have, I hope you’ll share your experiences, too.
My personal travel commitment for 2018-2020
As part of my commitment to lifting up women’s voices, especially between now and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the US, I plan to visit and share as many sites as I can find that recognize the impacts women have had on the development of this country.
In the past few months, for example, I’ve visited:
the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, in Washington, DC, home of the suffragist leader Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party
the Maggie L. Walker Monument in Richmond, Virginia (my home base)
the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Maryland and Delaware
Visiting these sites gives me a sense of what’s possible, even when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The women honored at these places where they lived, worked, and dreamed inspire me to finish the work they started.
I hope that as you travel around the country, you'll look for monuments, markers, historic homes, and other places that commemorate the contributions made by women, and when you find a place,
learn about the woman or women honored there
write about your experiences
share your reflections, and
be sure to send it to me
I’ll be developing a database for the Wandering WordsWomen website of all the places we visit so that other women can take pilgrimages to these sites to be inspired and learn the incredible stories of women in this country.
How to become involved in the Wandering WordsWomen Community
You can help Wandering WordsWomen become a vital, active community of outdoor-loving women writers who are learning and growing together. I plan to make it possible to interact with the community on the Wandering WordsWomen website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, through writing retreats, meetups, and other opportunities for us to gather in person, and if I can find the courage (and the time), maybe even a podcast!
To be a part of Wandering WordsWomen, I invite you to do the following five things:
Sign up for the Wandering WordsWomen email list. You’ll get updates when I’ve posted resources, material, and stories to help you on your journey.
Like and follow the Wandering WordsWomen Facebook page. Even better, click the Follow button and choose Follow First, so you’re sure the page shows up in your newsfeed.
Join the Wandering WordsWomen private Facebook group so we can get to know you and share information and resources with each other. That is where the Wandering WordsWomen community will come alive as you share what you’re writing, what challenges you're facing, or how you connect with the beauty of nature.
Consider traveling to Virginia at the end of March to participate in the inaugural Wandering WordsWomen Writing Retreat.
Share these links with your friends and family who might be interested in Wandering WordsWomen.
I look forward to meeting you on the road. And please let me know what you’d like to see from Wandering WordsWomen.