Category Archives: Career

On Being a Corporate Creative

February 21, 2017

I’ve teamed up with State Farm® as part of their Color Full Lives campaign, an initiative that promotes positivity & empowerment and celebrates all women in the African American community through a multitude of experiential and digital engagements. You know how this works-views, opinions, and musings of the unscripted kind are all my own. 

Somewhere along the line, I threw away either/or and picked up this and that. Somewhere along the line, I quit trying to commit to just one, linear, easily identifiable road and instead started making sense of my identity as a corporate creative. To paraphrase a tweet I recently read, I started to realize my plurality. I began to understand that the path I’m sculpting is complete with twists and turns, but it does not necessarily include some sort of fork in the road that will require me to choose one route.

My heart doesn’t vibrate accordingly to one passion. Instead, I am an assortment of layers. Interests. Skills. Talents. I am equally invested in my career in corporate communications and my creative journey as a writer. So, these days, my mindshare is devoted to everything from considering heading back to school to get my master’s to outlining what’s in store for my second book. And while I’d like to think this path, its consequences, and its sacrifices are unique, they are not. Instead, more women–both those close to me and those I observe from afar–are balancing multiple businesses, deriving income from various sources, and leaving their mark in more than one way.

I listened to strong examples of women like this in the latest “special edition” Color Full Lives podcast episode. As you may recall from this blog post last year, the Color Full Lives podcast, sponsored by State Farm, combines the influential voices of American radio personality Angela Yee, self-proclaimed “Duchess of Tech” Tatiana King Jones, and lifestyle influencer Francheska Medina, known for her brand Hey Fran Hey. The ladies are back with a limited edition run of the show, and they kicked it off by giving us a glimpse into how they’re running businesses, taking risks, and making headway on their goals.

We reunite with the ladies just as Angela has recently opened a juice bar, Fran is planning an 11-city wellness tour, and Tatiana is beginning work on a science fiction novel. Outside of these key projects, they are all also nurturing their personal lives, developing self-care and wellness regimens, and growing other professional endeavors. I identify with each of their demanding balancing acts and gleaned several gems from their conversation.

 

On writing“You have to allow yourself the slot to write, but allow yourself the slot to think. There will be times when you set aside time to write and that whole time, nothing comes out. ” – Tatiana

While I once considered writer’s block to be a complete cop out, Tatiana’s words now ring more true than ever for me as I work on my second book. Curating a body of work from the ground up is equal parts thinking and writing. A book is ultimately just as much what the author thought and felt as what that person ended up pouring on to the page. I’ve learned how to be more graceful with myself so that the thoughts and feelings have time to take shape, trusting that the words will always follow.

On understanding your worth and the value of your work:  “You can’t work for free forever; it’s just not sustainable. But how can I do that and still be fair and still be a businesswoman?” – Fran

This was one of those quotes that stuck with me long after I listened to the podcast. Fran, like many other bloggers and online content creators, has offered tons of quality content for free for years. She’s now transitioning to offering services at a price. It can be a tough and uncomfortable passage to move from free content to paid products and services, but I have found most people, myself included, usually reach that tipping point. It’s a natural evolution if whatever you’re offering is filling some sort of void in the universe. So, I’ve learned it’s important to confront your value head-on and stand firm in what you know you’re worth. When you do that, your magic reaches the right people.

On remembering to show gratitude:  “With the people that work with me, I just like to make sure I’m very grateful…when people mess up, we’re so quick to get upset, but it’s really important when people do things well to let them know they did a great job.” -Angela

I’m a sucker for handwritten notes, and thank you notes are no exception. I just recently sent out a slew of them for everyone who participated in the Love Me Well project and also dropped a few on my colleagues’ desks after a big event we hosted last month. It’s easy to move through life at hyper speed and forget to thank people along the way. But, I’ve never seen a boulder pushed uphill without at least three or four pairs of hands behind it.

I’m unsure where my windy corporate creative path will take me. I can’t quite pin down what’s next or even what it will take to get there. But, I do know that there are timeless tenets like allowing myself time to think, acknowledging my value, and remembering to show gratitude that will always keep me lifted and move me through.

This post was sponsored by State Farm, as part of their Color Full Lives campaign. For more information, or to contact an agent, please click here.   

Like It Or Not

February 23, 2016

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My life’s story is chock full of unpopular truths. Raw truth. Stark truth. The kind of truth that does not fill people with the warm and fuzzies or always leave them coming back for more. Perhaps I’ve always known this, but I didn’t realize it fully until Sunday night.

During the first episode of Startup Is The New Black it was my job, alongside cohosts Briana and GG, to discuss the business of writing. I prefaced something I said with, “I don’t think a lot of people like to hear this, but…” My suspicions were confirmed because in real-time, people had the ability to like what I was saying, or more accurately click a button to give me “props.” As I spoke, my eyes couldn’t help but dart to the props emoji and notice if something I said received a flurry of likes or not.

We’re typically affirmed or invalidated via likes in retrospect–an old photo we post, a status update we publish. But, we’re rarely substantiated by those insatiable and intoxicating likes real-time, where every little word escaping our lips is on the chopping block. It’s like the jury deciding the verdict before the prosecution has had a chance to rest its case.

I walked away from that evening feeling out of sorts and disjointed from my purpose. What was a new and exciting opportunity so graciously offered to me dissolved into my own internal battle for a social media stamp of approval. For the first time in a long time, I questioned my own story and how I chose to tell it.

I closed the laptop and called one of my friends.

“I told people that I still work full time. That none of this happened overnight. I told them that it took five years before I made my first dollar from writing. And I don’t know if they liked any of it,” I said.

“But, that’s the truth, isn’t it?” he asked.

Of course it’s the truth, albeit not a resoundingly resonant one. And how could I blame the audience? Anytime I learn someone is an entrepreneur, artist or anything outside of the 9 to 5 mold, I’m instantly drawn to them. I want to pitch a tent in their mind, stay awhile, and learn the lay of their land. I want to ask questions and extract every single ounce of advice. People who thrive outside of the mold intrigue and inspire me, simple as that.

At the same time, life outside the mold is not my current reality. Not now, anyway. My truth is that I still have 20k+ in student loans and $1300 dollars a month to pay in rent. My truth is that I am solely responsible for keeping the lights on in apartment 202 and keeping a feisty feline named Roxy fed. My truth is there are these silent moments when I thank God for stability and the chance to build my dream without it hinging on a dollar.

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There are other unpopular truths. The things that have happened for me have taken a lot of work, patience, sacrifice, juggling, resilience, and lost sleep. They didn’t appear overnight. I never went viral. No one aside from my mama gave a shit about what I so freely wrote online for an entire year. I’ve burned bridges; I’ve lost battles. I’ve cried over emails lexically ripping me a new one. I’ve kicked myself for words I wish I would have garnered the guts to say.

None of us this has come easy. All of it has been a fight. And even four years in, I feel like I’m in the most nascent stages of my creative career. See, my truth is that I still battle inadequacy, doubt, and the temptation to give up on a routine basis. But, somehow, my passion pushes me out of the cave and back into the sun every single time.

These aren’t statements or stories that people immediately gravitate toward. They do not feel good and they certainly don’t paint a rosy, easy-to-come-by portrait of success. My pursuit of the American Dream, obtained by way of balancing gigs while pulling myself up from the boot straps, is a narrative people hardly want to hear, let alone live. Nonetheless, if you want anything remotely worthwhile in this life, you have to both put up and shut up. You have to do the work. If you want it overnight, you clearly do not want it badly enough.

So, that is the story I have to stand by. It is the only success story I can tell. And maybe I have to remind myself to tell that story unwaveringly, like it or not.

Xoxo,
Tyece

The Other Dimensions

October 7, 2015

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I couldn’t write this one in second person. Couldn’t hide behind poignant paragraphs or punchy sentences. Because sometimes truth is not poignant or punchy. Sometimes truth is simply necessary.

I’ve been away. Blogging less. Tweeting less. Event planning less. Strategizing less. Checking my numbers less. Thinking about Twenties Unscripted less. At a time when there’s unprecedented pressure to hustle and “build your brand” I have deliberately taken a step away from mine. c Only a few days after I announced several things on the horizon for Twenties Unscripted this autumn, I canceled most of them and turned my focus toward other parts of life starving for my attention.

My fingertips are bloody from clawing my way to a balanced life.

After two years of making Twenties Unscripted the alpha and the omega, I have finally accepted responsibility to nurture other dimensions of my life. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I talked a good game about trying to find balance last year, but I didn’t do it. I still catapulted myself into a flurry of projects. I still let my identity as Tyece of Twenties Unscripted rule, reign and influence me the most.

But, I am not a one-trick pony. There’s a blessing and curse in that. Some days I think it would be easier if there were just one thing I were good at, one thing I could chase with my whole heart. But, there are other parts of me that deserve to rule, reign and influence. It doesn’t mean those identities are at war. It doesn’t mean silencing one aspect of myself so other aspects can shine. But it does mean that to whom much is given, much is required. It does not mean listening to the other parts of myself when they whisper that they need my attention so I can give them the love they deserve.

I don’t write much about my full-time career in communications, but it is incredibly important to me and is one area where I’ve recently made a change. After four years of kickstarting that career in one place, I acknowledged it was time to evolve. Move on. Grow. Do something different. Take on a new challenge. So I did just that.

I’ve also thrown more energy at my spoken word. Spoken word has always been something I just sort of dabbled in, but the poet in me has recently been rattling the cage. She’s ready to get out. So I’m prepping for my first ever feature performance next week.

I can’t say it feels good to step away from the machine. But, I can say it feels right and it feels necessary. I always knew this time would come, and I cowered from it for awhile.

Twenties Unscripted will always be the pulse of the entire operation. And nothing I’ve written here implies I am abandoning my beautiful little corner of the Internet. But, at least in the foreseeable feature, I will be writing less–probably once a week. I won’t host any more events until “See. Speak. Feel.” in March 2016. I have a project on deck for the end of the year that will highlight the voices of nine other incredible women and the work of my amazing friend and photographer, Jazz Williams. Even when I step away, preserving and growing this space still tugs at my heartstrings.

It’s easy to get lost in building a brand. It’s easy to dissolve in the deluge of tweets telling you ten ways to grow your following. It’s easy to throw every bit of yourself into this thing you’ve built and love with every fiber of your being. But, it’s much harder to trust that the very thing you built can stand on its own two feet. It’s harder to look at the other parts of life where maybe you’ve grown complacent and make a concerted effort to evolve. It’s harder to step away in favor of nourishing the other dimensions of yourself.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Clear The Runway, I’ve Only Just Begun.

July 30, 2015

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I have this thing about dates.

July 24, 2011. August 18, 2011. October 21, 2014. April 27, 2015.

Those are all dates I can’t forget. See, some days are bad days, and some days are rock bottom days. Those were all rock bottom days, for reasons ranging from minor to mammoth. They were days when I took voyages to the most doubtful, dim and demonic places in my head and camped out for way too long. They were days I pitched tents on every insecurity and uncertainty I ever had. They were days when I told myself I would never make anything out of my dreams and I would never make it out alive. Those were days I could not walk away from unscathed.

There are other dates I can’t forget.

March 12, 2013. March 1, 2014. April 8, 2015. July 16, 2015.

Those are dates that catapulted me to new places. Dates that wrapped duct tap across the mouths of everyone who ever uttered one phrase of doubt about my capacity and calling. Dates that put a full tank of gas in the machine that is Twenties Unscripted. Dates that reflect conviction, sacrifice and resilience after the rock bottom days.

There will be more days like March 12, 2013 and April 8, 2015. I do not hope, and I do not wish, but I know. And I know because there will also be other days like October 21, 2014 and April 28, 2015. They will all balance one another out. They’re all fuel for the engine. Life is very cyclical that way–it’s all about riding the high when you’re up and banking on the comeback when you’re down.

So, I’ve learned to say a quiet prayer of gratitude. I know that it all stitches together the fabric of my journey. I know I am on a journey worth taking. I’m on a path worth trekking. I am in a deep sea worth treading.

That knowledge about my purpose is scary for some people. Unnerving. Off-putting. Planting my feet firmly in the very reason God put me here is not something everyone can handle. I’ve learned that. People love you when you’re up-and-coming. When your words are free. When you can be their protégé and don’t establish yourself as the prototype. When that thing you do on the side is simply a “hobby.” When you still blanket your words with self-deprecation. When you hope and don’t know. When you wish and don’t do. When you wait and don’t act. When you will still play in mud. When you focus on the drama. When you waste your days tweeting away.

People love you then.

People love it when you’re up-and-coming, but they don’t quite love it once you’ve come up.

They are worried you are going to arrive and leave them somewhere in the dust. You’ll surpass them. You’ll take their dream deferred and turn it into a dream done. You’ll manifest the very thing they have sat on for years.

What they don’t realize is that you may leave them in the dust, but, you will never arrive. You should never arrive. If you arrive at one destination, there is always another one to turn toward.

I don’t want to arrive. I want to keep pushing, keep driving, keep thinking, keep inventing and keep expanding.

Publishing the book anchored Twenties Unscripted. That’s how I saw it–an accomplishment, sure, but also an anchor. I’m proud of it. But, nothing for me is ever one and done. Tomorrow ends a month that has been a behemoth in the lifespan of my work. But, I’ve only just begun. Everything is strategic. Everything feeds the next thing. Everything is just one more anchor. You want to know my secret? There it is.

If you see something drop, I’m planning something else. If you see something launch, I’m on to the next thing. You should always be wondering what’s next. There is always a next. Everything clears the runway for me to keep going and see just what the end is going to be.

Thank you for everything this month–congratulatory notes, book purchases, shop purchases, showing up to the book party, texting me, tweeting me, saving me from myself and having my back. It could not have been a colossal month without your love and loyalty. I mean that from top to bottom, beginning to end. Thank you. And thank you again. One more time–happy third anniversary to Twenties Unscripted.

Xoxo,
Tyece

book blog tour promo

 

August is all about a Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity blog takeover! Join me and 14 other bloggers as we dive into everything about the book–everything from the writing process to finding an authentic tribe to root for me. Head over to the blog tour page to learn more, follow along and buy the book if you haven’t done so already!

Book Release | Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity

June 25, 2015

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What you need to know

Official release date: Thursday, July 16 | $15 | Available on Amazon, as an ebook and all of that good stuff.

A limited number of copies are currently available for pre-sale here at a discounted rate of $12. The book will be shipped by yours truly with a personal note during the week of July 19.

Book Launch Party | Thursday, July 16 | 7 p.m. | Culture Coffee Washington, D.C. RSVP and buy tickets here. (Selling. Signing. Spitting spoken word. Indulging in adult beverages. Thanking every God you ever served that I am finally done with this maddening process.)

Official press release available here.

It’s absolutely absurd and scary and nerve-wrecking and exhilarating and WTF that this post begins with the phrase “book release.”

But, that is indeed the reality.

I have been locked up for months finishing my first book Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity.

That is why I have been dropping cryptic tweets and going off the grid for two weeks at a time. The secret is finally out.

The Book

After years of blogging and nearly 600 posts, it occurred to me that my book was right there on my blog. Buried underneath a lot of inane things I’d written from a place of millennial angst, there was a book. I just had to sift through thousands of words, and pluck the essays I felt stitched together the fabric of my ever-evolving journey.

“Everything will change. The only question is growing up or decaying.” –Nikki Giovanni

This book is only a wrinkle in time. Like Nikki Giovanni said, everything will change. I’m still a work in progress and a woman in her mid-twenties who screws up all of the time. But, like Giovanni also said, I have chosen to grow up, not decay. I have also opted to document the best and worst of growing up on my blog and in this book.

If you’ve been reading my work since the beginning of time, there are essays in the book that you’ve probably read before as well as a sprinkling of new ones.

I’ve also included “Beyond the Essay” commentary through the book. The “Beyond the Essay” snippets unveil a little bit more about what was going on in my life while writing those pieces as well as some of the aftermath that ensued once the pieces were published.

Putting this bad boy together has been no small feat. Revisiting my work has been cathartic and maddening. Rereading some of the absurd things I have written really made me question my sanity and intelligence. But, I am happy with the essays that made the cut. I can confidently say that these are the hallmark pieces of my journey. These are the pieces that best exhibit how I have changed and evolved as a woman, writer, and twenty-something.

I hope that there’s a little something for everyone in this book. It would boost my ego to no end if you read this thing cover to cover. But, I know it’s the 21st century, so it’s hard to hold anyone’s attention beyond 140 characters or less. So, I split the book into three sections that most represent my identity and work:

Womanhood: Essays about growing up and becoming the woman I want to be

Writing: Essays about writing and finding my niche as a writer

Relativity: Essays about seeking and sustaining a connections to others (namely men)

I do not even think I have processed what I’ve done enough to put it into words. I wanted this to be some profound post about this process of pulling together the essays that have been the connective tissue of my blog for the past three years. I wanted to talk about the process of writing new essays. I wanted to tell you about the dozens of manuscripts I have printed and how the people at Fedex now know me before I even ask for my order. I wanted to tell you about this miracle that happened recently in the form of a mass order of the book for a conference, someone exhibiting that kind of faith in me before the product was even done. I wanted to tell you how crazy and uncertain and lost and unsure I have felt during this entire process. I wanted to tell you how I really didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I wanted to tell you a lot of things. I still want to tell you a lot of things. I still will tell you a lot of things. But, right now I am just exhausted and so happy that I can finally tell you this: my first book is done. So, I hope you’ll join me for a wild ride this summer and into autumn as I party, push this thing and promote like crazy.

Thank you, whoever you are and wherever you are, for making this possible. Thank you for reading Twenties Unscripted when it only received 20 hits a day. Thank you for showing up to brunches and showcases. Thank you for commenting and retweeting and emailing. Thank you for signing up for Sunday Kind of Love and snail mail. Thank you for allowing me to finally believe in the power of pulling together my work and elevating my product. I couldn’t list everyone by name in the acknowledgements section of the book, so this is my hymn of gratitude. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, to the tips of my toes, and back to the crown of my head. Thank you.

Now go get one of the few copies available for pre-sale. See you on July 16.

Xoxo,
Tyece