What You Can Learn From Carla Jean Whitley


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a See Jane Write members only event  with Carla Jean Whitley at the Dessert Island Supply Company (D.I.S.C.O)  in Woodlawn.   Whitley, who is currently the managing editor of Birmingham Magazine, released her book Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music this July.  Whitley spoke about the writing process, time management, and becoming more business minded. “I learned to give myself more grace”, said Whitley.  Learning to forgive herself when she missed a deadline was apart of the learning process. Whitley, who refers to herself playfully as CJ, was teaching at the collegiate level, working full-time at Birmingham Magazine, freelance writing, and becoming a certified yoga teacher all while writing her  first book. Whew, talk about a busy woman!  #BossChick

After hearing that, my ears were open to hear how she managed her time. She used various planning tools from google to an office calendar, but no matter what she scheduled time to write not only before work, but also after work.  CJ privately shared with me one more big way she managed her time. She doesn’t have a tv in her home folks! Whoop, there it is! However, on the weekends, you can believe she’s on someone else’s couch watching some SEC football.


I respect Whitley not only for her work ethic, but also because she uses honesty to shame embarrassment. Whitley openly shared some of what she learned in therapy and how seeing a professional has helped her process difficult situations. Whitley explains why it’s okay not have all together,  “… because I’m not perfect, and if you’re honest with yourselves, you’ll find that none of you are either.”  Word.

Here’s my summary of some wisdom she shared for all the bloggers/writers/entrepreneurs out there :

  • Is your business growing, but you don’t have the money to afford accounting, legal, or other services? No problem. Trade services with friends or people in your network. Ghost write for your accountants blog. Do some publicity for your lawyer. You have something to offer, so find out who needs it. #Everybodywins! IMG_5181

I watched (and loved) the documentary entitled, simply, Muscle Shoals, last month (via Netflix). If you are unfamiliar with the swampers and the rhythm section, you would be surprised to know that hit records, such as Aretha Franklin’s Respect, came out of a “small corner of Alabama”. I’ve only been reading for a day, but this book does not look to disappoint. Check out Carla Jean Whitley’s list for the top 6 songs recorded in Muscle Shoals here. Whitley is now focusing on writing her second book about the history of beer in Birmingham. Be on the look out for that some time next year.

You can purchase Whitley’s book at a local bookstore or on her website www.carlajeanwhitley.com. On here website, you can also find the dates for upcoming book signings.

Special thanks to Javecia Harris Browser, founder of See Jane Write,  and D.I.S.C.O  for hosting this event.  Both of these organizations have an amazing mission. Click on the  links to find out more about them.





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