business · writing

Writers Wednesdays – March Writing Accomplishments

It’s time for another writing accomplishment update! I have some good news and some not so good news (nothing life-changing or devastating, just a little disappointing) about my writing practice. Let’s dive in!

Photo by OVAN on Pexels.com

The good news is, I worked on my book in the month of March, and, as of the time of this post, I’ve edited more than 70% of it! If I’m diligent, I can be done with this first round of edits by mid-May. Then I can put the book down fora bit, then come back to it for Round 2 of my edits. I am so happy to see some progress on this work!

The not so good news comes down to two things: firstly, the amount of time I spent editing in March, and secondly, the gaps that need to be addressed in the story. I did my last edit on March 14, because my life suddenly got much busier (if you saw my Monday post, you’ll hear part of what was happening in my world). So, while I understand why I spent less time editing, I was still a little disappointed that I lost some of that precious editing time. The disappointment has passed (thankfully) but I learned a valuable lesson: even a few minutes of work on my book every day will feel better than thinking I’ve lost a block of time.

The second point refers to something that isn’t great for my editing timeline but a fantastic “find” when it comes to the story. I uncovered multiple “gaps” in the story that need to be addressed either directly or indirectly. I’m thankful for the editing process, which helps me to see where my story can be improved, but I know that this adds quite a bit of time to my timeline (hence the mid-May completed editing goal). I’m okay with that, since the discovery of these gaps will help make my story much smoother and cohesive.

That’s my writing updates for the month, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this all comes together in the next few weeks (mid-May will be here before you know it!) Take care friends, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

life curation

The Art and Science of Being Focused and Flexible

Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!

This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.

Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.

In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.

It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.

Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.

After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.

Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:

  • If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
  • If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.

Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.

I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)

That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

books · reading list · writing

Writers Wednesdays – February Writing Accomplishments

Happy Writers Wednesday! This post is the February update (obviously).

I wasn’t able to read all of the books on my reading list because I had some unexpected obligations pop up throughout the month that took up a LOT more time than I anticipated. No worries, though: I’ll be able to read these books in March instead. I will focus on finishing my women author books first (since it’s Women’s History Month).

As far as my writing goes, I made some progress. One of my “finished” works would be far more impactful if I included some peer reviewed research and journal articles, so I started compiling a list of sources to reference.

So, that’s it for the update! I’ll have more details to share next week. I’ll talk to you all soon!

books · culture · reading list · relaxation · words of wisdom · writing

Writers Wednesdays: What I’m Reading This Month

Happy Black History Month! I know I’m a bit late with this post, but I’ve been trying to get back on track with my writing and filming schedule (no easy feat, but I’m getting there!)

I posted a video on my YouTube channel last week, discussing the Black authors that I will be reading this month (I originally had five hardback and paperback books, but also added some digital books to the mix, just in case I finished before the end of the month). I’m focusing on reading up on a few different topics (not just self help!) and branching beyond American-centered stories, which is new for me.

Here is my book list for the month: I’m looking forward to diving into these.

I Am Your Sister by Audre Lorde is the book I’m reading first. You all already know about my love for Audre (I posted some of my favorite Audre quotes a few years back). This book is DENSE, so I already know it’s going to take me a bit more time, and a subsequent read (or two, or three . . . ) to get a good grasp of what she believed and taught. After I finish that, I’ll dive into Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I’ve heard the title before but I’m completely unfamiliar with the plot of the book so I’m really looking forward to this one.

It wouldn’t be my book list is I didn’t include at least one self-help/advice book. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu promises to show me how to achieve more while doing less. Less effort, more results? Sign me up!

The next two books are about the history of Black entertainment in the US. The Power of Pride by Carole Marks and Diana Edkins spotlights the superstars of the Harlem Renaissance, including some lesser-known luminaries of note. Then, I’ll be enjoying Brown Sugar by Donald Bogle which focuses on Black actresses, singers and other entertainers from the 1920s to 1970s. I’m really excited for both of these books, since I’m in love with all things vintage.

*If* I can get through the main book list, then I have a few others that I can read, that should cover me until the end of the month. The first is The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison, a book that I purchased last year in anticipation of a book club meeting that I planned – and failed – to attend. In any case, I’ve always loved Toni Morrison (I’ve posted about her here and I also wrote about her here, after her passing) and enjoyed her works immensely, so this should be a great one.

Finally, I have one more book that made it onto my back-up list: Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler (I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind, in this set: “Seed to Harvest: The Patternist Series“). As a huge Octavia Butler fan (I posted about her ages ago), I’ve been eager to get back into reading her books, and Clay’s Ark was next on my list. And, since March is Women’s History month, I can always continue my reading streak and carry this book and the Toni Morrison one into the next month, if I run out of time in February.

That’s my reading list for the month: I’m looking forward to each of these! Do you have any books you’re reading this month? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below. Also, here’s my YouTube video, discussing these books a bit more:

(This post contains affiliate links)

business · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

December Goal Updates

Hey friends! This is my last goal update for the year, and I wanted to take some time to look over the things that I mentioned as my “goals” in 2021. Of course, you can look up my old goal posts for more info (like this one here, here, here, and this one here, too). But in this post, I’m going to re-share my original list, and let you know how all of this turned out for 2021.

Here’s my 2021 goal list:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

So let’s take it point by point, shall we?

I published my 5 books, and actually published more than that. Yay me!

I gained weight, instead of losing it. I figured out that I am likely heavier because of my prescription medication, and that’s fine. I’ve transitioned off of those meds, and now I’m getting my body back into balance. It’s a process, and I’m giving myself time to figure all of this out without judging my body for being a bit heavier. In most cases, you gotta make peace before you can make progress, so that’s what I’m doing.

No international travel! But, I did manifest a local trip for free, which was nice. I also have several international trips lined up for 2022 (as in, flights purchased and deposits paid). I’m confident that I’ll have my wings again in no time.

My businesses didn’t earn 6 figures however, I did reach an all-time income high for my businesses, which was very exciting. It only goes up from here!

I read somewhere between 85-90 books. I had to slow down during these last couple of months of the year, which was the time I scheduled to catch up due to some slower periods during the first part of the year. However, I’m still SUPER proud of how many books I’ve read. I’m sure I’ll read more than 100 books next year with no issue!

I bought some luxury items, but I decided I’d rather support Black American luxury designers in the future. I’m saving some coins for my next big luxury purchase, which I’m pretty sure I’ll have before the end of the season (if all goes well).

My fibro isn’t cured, but I’m learning a LOT about how to heal my body, and I’m seeing that eliminating the symptoms is possible. I’m also seen some positive effects after removing my medications (not nearly as exhausted or achy as I thought I’d be). For all of this, I’m thankful, and I’m going to press on and share information as I get it in this upcoming year.

Well, that’s my super-fast summary of my 2021 goals. I don’t anticipate posting a 2022 goal list because it doesn’t quite resonate with the direction where I want to take this blog, but if I’m inspired to do something different, then you’ll see a goal list in 2022. But, if you want to know more about my upcoming 2022 plans, check out Tuesday’s post (two days ago), or click here.

That’s all, folks! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

goals · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

2022 – What You Can Expect from Bronze Butterfly

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing great. You all already know how much I love the new year: it is literally my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday!). The energy of the new year inspires to do retrospective, introspective and future-gazing exercises. In the spirit of looking forward, I asked myself a simple question,

What do I want to do with Bronze Butterfly?

This blog has been my pet project for several years, and I want to set a theme for 2022 that will guide and inspire my writing. I thought about the things that matter to me right now, and what I want to explore more in the future. I think of my previous posts as reflecting a sort of larva stage (staying with the butterfly analogy here): I consumed a lot of information, engaged in a lot of activity, and I had a chance to use some of that knowledge but not to the maximum expression. I want to enter a bit of a chrysalis (cocoon) and eventual butterfly phase with this blog: reducing information consumption and instead being focused on using my energy stores. I will use this energy to actively craft the life of my dreams, instead of simply theorizing and experimenting here and there.

On that note, here are some of the things you can expect from the blog in future posts:

More interviews and deeper conversations – I had one incredible interview this year, and I want to add more to this space. I want to get the actionable tips, wise counsel and pure inspiration that comes from interacting with people that have done “hard things” and succeeded. So look out for more interviews in the upcoming year.

More Kibbe discussion [with a twist] – I think of how much our wardrobe reflects the times we live in, the things we value, as well as how we want to be perceived by the world. I really want to explore what certain Kibbe-verified celebrities expressed through their wardrobe, both pointedly and inadvertently. So that’s another topic I’ll be sharing more about in the months to come.

More book chats and writing tips – This is a continuation of the past couple of years of Writers Wednesdays, but here’s hoping I can share even more about the writer’s life and events that are relevant to writing. Also, I’ll be going back to doing book reviews (which I put on hold over the past couple of years, for the most part). I’ll be focusing on books that impact my life significantly, not just reviewing books simply because I read them.

Diving deeper into curating a beautiful life – This is also a continuation of the past few years, but I want to go deeper than the surface, and discuss the underpinnings of high quality living and all of its components.

More finance discussions – This is a topic that I’ve touched on briefly here and there, but I really want to dive more into this, exploring how to live well regardless of your current income, as well as how to increase your income to the level that you desire.

On a side note, I’ll be incorporating more of my previous blog content, my other active blog (which is finance centered) as well as my YouTube channel content into this space, as some topics are best explained via video.

Whew, I think that’s enough for one day! I’m so looking forward to you all joining me on this deeper journey into the Bronze Butterfly world. Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow. Take care!

writing

Writers Wednesday – The Latest About My Writing Practice

Hey everyone! There is only one more Writers Wednesday for 2021: can you believe that 2022 is almost here?

I’m still working on a few writing projects, so I don’t have any major publishing goals that I’ll be accomplishing this month. However, I did finish the last chapter on a BIG writing project that I’ve had for a while, and I’ve even done a mock cover to the book (I may end up changing it, but for now, I like it). In a way, the book is “done”, but because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I will be editing some more and maybe tweaking the cover a bit before I publish it. However, I’m excited that the writing is finished, and I can focus on polishing it up and preparing it for publication. I’m thrilled that the book will definitely be published in 2022.

My business coach advised me to write daily, and, while I understood the importance of practicing my craft, I had been slacking and she pointed out that this needs to be a priority. So I’ve been writing almost daily and I’m enjoying how I’m making this part of my regular routine. I suspect that I’ll be done with my NaNoWriMo 2021 book before the middle of January 2022, and my edits for a previous NaNoWriMo story should be completed before the end of March.

I haven’t taken on any “new” writing projects over the past few weeks, because I really want to focus on completing the projects I’ve already started. However, every now and then I’ve gotten a book idea, and I job it down and put it aside until I have more time to work on it. It feels good to put my energy toward a project in motion and to see my current works-in-progress move steadily toward completion.

That’s all for my update, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my 2022 writing goals next week. What are some of your writing updates? I’d love to hear all about them!

reading list

Books Read in October 2021

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I made great strides toward my monthly reading goal, and I’m still on my way to hitting my annual reading goal well before the end of the year. Here are the books that I read in October:

One of the books I read, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Thomas C. Hinkle, How to Eat: A Cure for “Nerves”

Melanie O’Hara Salyers and Susi Galloway, The Traveling Tea Ladies Death in Dixie

Admiral William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

Jamie Fleming-Dixon, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Cassie Parks, Retired at 32 (not available for sale)

I initially intended to read more than 10 books this month, and I was well on my way at the beginning of the month. However, I actually put in major efforts toward my October writing plan, so I simply didn’t have enough time to read, write, edit, publish, and maintain my offline life. I still count it as a WIN that I got to read 6 books this month, and, while I’ll be throwing most of my energy into NaNoWriMo, I aim to read more than 10 books during the month of November. I’m also considering doing a review on one or two of the books that I read in October, but we’ll see: I don’t want to overextend myself!

Do you have any reading or writing goals for the remainder of the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

business · goals · health · life curation · luxury · travel · writing

October Goal Updates

It’s that time again: I’m going to do a quick round-up of my 2021 goals and tell you all how things are going.

Here are the goals I had for the year:

  • Publish 5 books – done!
  • Lose 15 lbs – working on it …
  • Manifest 3 international trips – finalized the details for my next 3 trips!
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases from Black-owned companies
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

As you all probably recall, my publishing goal was reached (and exceeded, as of yesterday’s post). I’m going to still try to get a few more books published before the end of the year, and then I will try to embark upon a nice little campaign to promote my books and hopefully connect with my ideal customers.

As far as weight loss goes, I put that on hold temporarily. I am transitioning off of my fibromyalgia medication (more about that in a future Fibro Friday post, I promise!) because I concluded that those medicines were contributing significantly to my current weight. However, it still takes some time for the body to adjust to this change, and I still have to figure out how to manage my symptoms outside of using medication. So I have my work cut out for me, but this process will likely help me to meet my goal of “curing” my fibromyalgia. My hope is that transitioning off of medicine will result in major weight loss (hopefully exceeding 15 lbs) before the end of the year.

I didn’t yet manifest 3 international trips this year (I remain hopeful!), however, I did manifest a free dinner cruise (all expenses paid) and I also have started making my 2022 travel plans. I already have selected a few trips, and now I’m putting my money aside to pay for them. I’m still open to more trips manifested in this year, but for now, I’m satisfied with what I’ve already received as well as what’s on its way to me.

My business hasn’t yet reached 6 figures, but I can state confidently that, between my regular job, passive income streams, and my tutoring business, I did hit my highest earning year! Everything from this point on is simply setting the momentum for next year. Also, because I can see where I dropped the ball in 2021, I’m better prepared to exceed my performance in 2022! I’ll still keep an eye on how my businesses perform in these next two months, because I’m amping up my marketing and I anticipate that this will improve my bottom line tremendously.

I’m still reading my books, and I expect to hit 100 books read before the end of the year. However, I need to stay focused: it’s easy for me to get sidetracked with work, writing, and life in general. I’m increasing my reading during the next few weeks, just to ensure that I hit my goal (I wrote all about it in this post).

I put my luxury purchasing on hold because I had some major repairs to complete in my house. I may not be able to purchase a lot of luxury goods during the next couple of months, but I’m still relishing my luxury purchase from earlier this year (my Sophia Webster shoes that I won’t be able to wear until the weather heats up again!)

I’m still working on “curing” my fibro, and I’m feeling confident about the fact that I’m getting closer to a solution. I’ve been experimenting with dietary changes and herbal supplements to see how these support my health. It’s a bit of a long-term project, but the more I experiment, the more I learn, and the closer I get to finding the perfect combination of routine, supplements, and personal practices to help eliminate my symptoms.

That’s it for my October goal updates. I’m looking forward to seeing how things shape up over the next couple of months and finishing the year strong!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – The November Writing Plan

Happy Writers Wednesday! As I wrap up the month of October, I’m so pleased with the writing progress I’ve made. My October writing plan went like this:

  • Finish writing a book
  • Finish editing a book
  • Publish a book

The question, of course, is, Did I do all of that?

Yes, I did! I published Let’s Go to Kenya, my first children’s book that explores one of my favorite African countries. I also finished my first round of edits to my mystery novel, the first full-length book that I’ve ever written. This is only one round of edits (there will be more!) but it feels really good to complete those edits for the first time. Finally, I finished writing one of the books that’s been on my laptop for years, needing just a couple of chapters to be officially “completed”.

Now that I’m done with my October writing plan, it’s time to move on to November. And for November, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). I haven’t even begun to think about what I may write next month, which is kind of the point. I want to just let my fingers fly across the keyboard and let the ideas come to me as I type. I love allowing the story to unfold as I write instead of overthinking about what to include.

During the month of November, I’m taking a break from publishing some of my books, and focusing instead on writing. I’ll also be posting weekly updates of my NaNoWriMo experience on this blog, because we all know how important accountability is.

Are any of you planning to participate in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below!

*****This post contains affiliate links.