Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Monday everyone!

Our very own Serena Wills asked if she could guest blog today, so of course I said yes! This video makes me want to go back to the 90's, even if only for a day. They don't make music and videos like this anymore :) Anyway, to the blog...let's go!

What About Your Friends? Serena Wills.

I'm at a real crossroads these days and decided to ask other artists and entrepreneurs how they felt about being supported. I always assumed that when I finally became published and took stage that I would have a sea of friends in the crowd buying my books. Everyone talked about supporting me as an artist, but once my dreams started taking place and happening, I saw different.

At first I was heart broken (still am sometimes) that I have friends that don't have any of the books I'm published in, or say they will come to an event where I'm the feature or an open mic and bow out on me at the last minute.

When I asked artists and entrepreneurs if they were going through the same thing, most of them answered yes. One artist out of Dallas said she's had her art exhibited in multiple shows and galleries, and maybe a couple of friends attended. A musician I interviewed said something so honest that I had to take what he said and write it on a wall. He said, "At first I was upset. People are happy for me, but when it comes time to buy my music or come to shows, they don't. However I'm not pursuing my dreams because of them! I have to keep moving forward, there's a whole world out there that wants to hear me."

He's so right...there is a whole world out there. We can't keep relying on our comfort zone. We just automatically assume that the zone will support - but sometimes it won't.

In 2012, I'm going to take a lot of what others have said and re-brand myself. Reach out to more people and places. Since I've been back east, I've had a lot going on and now I have to refocus. In Dallas, I either did shows or was vending every month! I met so many people from all walks of life that ended up supporting me because they liked or loved my writing and framed poetry collection.

In closing, pursue your dreams despite who really supports you or not. Also remember you have to move forward with your dreams because they are yours! God gave them to you. Lastly, reach out to the world with your gift and step out the zone. I have to do so because right now I'm stuck in it and frustrated.

Questions for the group - if you're an entrepreneur/artist/etc. what's your gift, how do you market your product, do you or did you feel stuck, and what's your plan to build on your dreams? Do you want to retire the 9-5 world and just work for you?


- Serena Wills


Jay said...

First bitches!

Take dat!

Serena W. said...

Yeah Jay!!!! Now you have to leave a comment lol.

Sillouette said...

Hi Serena!!!

I support you !! You go girl!

Jay said...

Here is my comment:

Later for your so-called friends and your "zone." Let no one discourage you or hold you back from your dreams. You are a strong, amazing woman who is very talented, so reach for the stars and DO YOU!

Brooke said...

You already know how I feel Serena - you have God'favor upon you. All that you desire is yours for the taking and I will always support and encourage you :)

Stef said...

Your "comfort zone" friends can kick rocks. That's when you can tell who TRULY loves and supports you. True colors come out when other people hate to see you shine...cuz they're not shining themselves. Like Jay said, DO YOU! You will be successful, with or without them.

Sillouette said...

I would rather work for my self if I could rely on the economy, but im a scardy, But Im can work for someone as well, Im indifferent.. My boyfriend has his own business, its a Tattoo Shop called White Tiger Designz that has been in business for 3yrs... and I am by far his BIGGEST FAN and supporter...Not because he's my boyfriend but because he's also my best friend. and hes a PHENOMENAL artist, his work speak for itself. He does his marketing himself very well thru social networks and events. And it works grest for him.

I have found out and have just comes to terms that sometimes our so called "friends" are more so our worst enemies sometimes. They hide behind fake smiles and false enthusiasm because they are to cowrd to show how they really feel about our success. They cringe at the very thought of you basking in you own self achievement and accomplishment. They would rather have a mouth full of angry hornets than to show support to their friend. Will they tell you this ?? NOPE!!! Why??? Because they dont want to appear what they already are.. and thats envious. And maybe also they just may not care period.. This kind of thing happens to the best of us unfortunately. True friends are friends all the way around, some people are "seasonal friends"...bascially when its convienent for them.. Its disappointing and hurtful but it happens.

I say just do YOU....and be the best that you can. and enjoy the gratitude that your real supporters and friends give you. You will be able to tell the difference. In which is always way more rewarding... :)

Yolanda said...

I feel you, Serena. I can pimp Brew t-shirts and merchandise to my friends til I'm blue in the face but ultimately, people support whatever they want to support. I find lots of people don't 'get' what it takes to be a starving artist (who hopefully doesn't starve often), but they'll publicly big you up and love all over your stuff but never *buy* it. You and I have been in similar boats lately but I am definitely going to buy your book and I'll keep sending you those Rita's coupons. LOL

Happy Monday everyone!

Rameer The ILLAbstract said...

First off - HI SERENA!!! I will never hide my love for Serena - that's my girl!!

As for the subject at hand - I can't speak for the specific people that you're referring to, and the truth is most people consider others to be friends when they really aren't. I've been criticized for flat-out telling people I've known for a long time and have gotten along with very well "we're not FRIENDS". I have a specific definition in mind when I give that label. Truth is, we have a lot of associates, buddies, etc. - but not FRIENDS. And when people who aren't friends do things, I'm not really surprised. I have few stories in my adult life of an actual friend betraying me - in fact, I only have one.

When it comes to ventures that we may be involved in, I feel we need to understand our passion is not the passion of others. It is quite possible for someone to want to lend support and cheer for you, but not to want to do it in the manner YOU want. Now if you ask me, would I show up to an event one of my friends was involved in if available? Not doubt! But when it comes to purchasing things, that becomes cloudy. Reason? I'll give a specific example.

One of my boys, who is like a brother to me (from the SU days, Serena) wanted to become somewhat independent years ago, and wanted to peddle a product. All of my crew supported him, wished him the best, etc. He eventually began sending us e-mails asking for us to buy this product. Now here's the thing - the product he was selling, none of us used, nor did we have any need or desire to buy it for others close to us. Simply put, it wasn't for us.

After a few months, he became distant and moody. One of my other boys called me and said that he had been in a down mood and saying he had no real friends. I tend to be the guy who settles issues in our crew (even though I'm impetuous one), so I got him on he phone with another one of our crew. He went off - saying how hard it was trying to do this, and how hurt he was that none of his so-called friends or families supported him. I told him we support him 100%, but weren't going to buy something we didn't want and had no use for. I told him that he knows we're honest and real, and if he asked us for other ways to support, we would.

He then told us how he had at one point become financially strapped, and had trouble paying bills and making ends meet. I stopped him right there and told him flat-out - I wasn't going to buy his product. But as someone I loved, if he called and said he needed money due to hard times, I'd gladly give him 1,000 or whatever I was capable of giving directly. My other boy said the same thing.

We talked longer, but eventually he understood our love for him and our relationship didn't compel us to buy his product. But it didn't mean we didn't support him, or that we wouldn't help him in various ways. I was not going to buy the product, but had he needed 5,000 dollars, I'd have given it to him just because he needed it - not because I had to buy his product and store it in my basement and/or throw it out.

Rameer The ILLAbstract said...

Serena, your endeavor is different, as you are an artist. But I will say, if these friends don't like or don't want the books you're published in, it may not mean they don't support you. Perhaps if the book was YOURS, it'd be different, but I don't want to speak for others. They could truly not be good friends, so I don't discount that. But there is another side to things, like the example I gave.

Have you spoken directly to all these people about how you feel, like my boy did? Once we spoke about it, he understood and felt better about things. It was true that there were people who said they were supportive of him and weren't, but he realized it wasn't us. We always did, always have, and always WILL be there for any of the crew if needed.

A lot of people go through this. I felt the same thing any time I've done things on my own - that people say one thing and do another. My direct family and my closest friends never disappoint in support for me, though. I'm very careful about the label, however, and when I sense that someone has qualities that aren't like the people I love, I don't let them get close and I expect "typical" behavior from them.

Keep focused, and follow your dreams. You will make it through belief, perseverance and hard work. I can't really excuse people skipping out on events you're involved with, but I'd say talk to people first on why they aren't purchasing books your work is in, rather than just think they're not in support of you.

If John's (I'll say his name, cuz you KNOW how ridiculously tight we are) kids ask me to buy candy they're selling for school, I may decline. But that doesn't mean I won't give them money for something else, or I won't pass the word to others to buy candy from the kids if those people are looking to purchase candy in the future. Feel me?

DMoe said...

Hi Serena,

Every exchange I've ever had with you affords me the opportunity to see your spirit through the window of this blog. The view is terrific.

Aside from wishing you continued success, I'd love to help with support whenever I can.

As for those friends that cannot be counted on when you need them in the audience, well, I think that speaks for itself.

Please keep me posted on your artistic endeavors...and know that you've got a fan right here.


Serena W. said...

Great comments everyone!!! Sillouette, I'm so happy that you support your boyfriends shop! What's his website? One thing I believe in is supporting others, even if its sharing websites. Someone might not buy stuff or get a tattoo but someone else will :) Also don't be scared girl! The world is a scary place, but if you want to start something up then go for it. Even if you're working a 9-5, do it as a side hustle and see where it goes. This way you can't say, "wow I never tried it out."

As for Rameer (I LOVE YOU TOO MAN)! Now tell John if his kids are selling candy to call me lol. I love chocolate! But yes everything you said is so on point. After talking to a few here is what I discovered...people are waiting for "my" book. I told them I'm waiting for it too. Books need $$$ in order to get them published. The other hurdle I'm running into because I'm published its not my's not electronic.

Will I make my books available through e-book or damn right! We are in a technology world! Gotta go with the times.

Then I have swallowed it over and over but my writing isn't for everyone. I don't want people to buy books and they just sit on the shelf. Not cool. So I thank those people because they are real but have passed my info onto those that do love the kind of writing that I put out into the universe.

And oh yes...there are people that have said things that aren't cool. I'm looking at it as them looking at their own life and instead of being happy that I have a child and still able to get back on my feet and push my dreams baffles them because they haven't done so.

Yolanda when I get a dag on job I want a Brew shirt now that I'm my proper size again! I'll rock it at open mics! But yes we are in the same boat too many times. But the boat we are about to get on will take off and we'll be successful.

Keep the comments coming!!! Thanks for your honesty. I wrote this blog not just for me but because there are others that needed to read this and get out of the frustration zone.

Serena W. said...

Jay and Stef!I saw your comments and thank you. I'm realizing that I do have friends that support me by spreading the word, encouraging me to keep going and helping that way. I have those that buy products and then there are those as Rameer stated aren't friends. Associates...and I had to come to that conclusion just now. rock man! I'm waiting for you to have a blog radio station with DMoe's greatest hits list!

Rameer The ILLAbstract said...

Serena - I used John as an example, but realistically - his little girl has me wrapped around her finger. I don't think I could actually tell her "no" on anything like that. And his boy - that's my wrestling buddy. He thinks he's the champ, but I'm gonna pin him!!!

I'm a chocoholic - so I def wouldn't tell them no myself. Lolz...

Powerz said...

Hi Serena - Write for you. Rameer hit the nail on the head. There are so many friends I wish I could support more than I do but that doesn't mean they are less of a friend or I don't care that they are trying to make moves. I used to teach stepping to a group of kids and one is now a singer. I've been trying to make it to one of his shows but have yet to do so. I support by spreading the word and keeping up with him on Facebook (google Lancelot Adrian Drummonds). Its tough starting off (Real Estate wasn't easy at first) but as you get it out there, shoot for the moon. You will make it with all of your supporters, new and old.

Rameer - very insightul, you da man!

Stef said...

I never even considered it the way Rameer put it. I found that I use the friend loosely alot, so maybe the people you thought would support you aren't really friends, but ARE associates. And then there are some people who you consider associates, that turn out to be real friends. Something to think about.

I know we all say that if Brooke wrote a book, we'd all buy it, but what if she wrote about someting none of use were interested in? Are we obligated to buy it? Maybe, maybe not. Good question.

Brooke said...

My first "real" published post went up on yesterday. Although I have no real writing experience professionally, this online magazine decided to take a chance on me and let me post for their Sunday Inspiration spot. If all goes well, that will be my assignment with room to grow.

I asked all my friends to read it on FB and share/repost - some did, some read it and "liked" it - and Yolanda gave me a shout on Witches Brew. I appreciated it all.

Would I have loved it if EVERY person I knew reposted and shared my little 2 paragraph post? Absolutely, but I've learned to be grateful for the love I receive and the new people I may attract in the future. I'm trying to develop my writing into something bigger than it is, and I'm doing it for me. Love and support are always great, but in the end, it's what I think and do for myself that will be most rewarding.

Jay said...

Brooke! congrats! Can you post the link for those of us who are NOT your FB friends? ;)

Why didn't you share this in your email distribution? That's great!

Sillouette said...

@ Brooke.

So B what you saying is that you dont mind if people repost your blogs? Im making sure I get it clear because your posts be SOOOOO GOOOODDDD and I be wanting to repost them. But I didnt want to do it without asking.. and then I didnt want to ask because I didnt want to step on your toes and look like I was trying to take credit for your writings and ideas.. So I left it. lol.. But if you dont mind I will.. :) You be having some JUUUUSAYYYY topics..!!!! lol

Serena W. said...

Wow Brooke!!! Congrats and yes post the link so I can read it. (I'm on their site now looking for it).

And yes Rameer hit it on the head (he's been doing that since we sat on the porch of Haven Hall together in 1993) lol. But I hear every word!

One thing I have to keep in the front of my head is that starting out isn't easy. If it were then I'd have to question it!

Austin I'm going to google your boy! Yes I have to keep my dreams in front of me despite who's on board and who isn't.

One "friend" or "associate" that knows I'm a poet said blatantly that he hates poetry. Wow oh I see why some people don't like you dude!

I believe there is a way in saying things. Like Rameer told his boy honestly without offending him. I told this associate that I wouldn't say I hated what he did because it's what he loves to do. Whether I like it or not.

Another associate said, "No one reads any more so don't be surprised if no one buys your books, etc."

Ummmm another wow. (Rameer these 2 guys are SU heads by the way).

Mom always said, "Some people don't know how to positively express themselves and hurt others in the mean time."

I took it too personal but in the long run had to keep it moving.

Sillouette said...


Thanks hun.. you can find him at Thanks for the support!!

Brooke said...


I don't mind if you repost at all. The more that can join the conversation, the merrier :) Thanks!

I didn't want to get all gung ho just in case they chose not to run it, but here it is:

Jay said...

Brooke, your piece was awesome, but I wouldn't expect anything less. You're on your way.

Brooke said...

Thanks Jay!

By they way, I want that Witches Brew apron and the "That's My Witch" t-shirt, but not sure it'll wrap around my body :)

The Cable Guy said...

I'm late to the discussion, but everyone pretty much said what I wanted to say. And honestly, I'm not really a BLOG person. I supported B originally because I wanted to get to know her and take her ass to dinner. I discovered what a great writer she was by accident :) She has a nice little blog family going on here, so that's why I read her blog daily. Otherwise, I don't read blogs.

So maybe Rameer is right, maybe some people just don't read. Or like poetry. There are nicer ways to say it, but maybe people say they'll support so they won't hurt your feelings. Either way, you should write for you and not care what anyone thinks. Someone wants to read your writing , so write for them...but most importantly, yourself.

Congrats Brooke on! It was great :)

Brooke said...

Thanks Cable Guy :)

Serena W. said...

Well said Cable Guy...and that's for everyone. Pursue your dreams because YOU want to do it. People will support you regardless if you know them or not. I got a lot of food for thought today and I totally appreciate it. Please keep commenting if you want too. This is great discussion.

Ms. Penn said...

You have a very supportive group here, so focus on the people who DO encourage you, not the ones who don't. I know it can hurt, but it's also VERY eye opening. Keep your eye on the prize and you'll do great!

Stef said...

Brooke, do you have Serena's book? When are you gonna write your own??

Brooke said...


I sure do have Serena's book - do you?? ;-) LOL

Baby steps...I have to find something to write about. Maybe if this Sunday Inspiration thing takes off, I'll write an inspirational book like Serena :)

or I can always expand my Brooklyn contrast to say the least :-) LOL!

Stef said...

No, I don't have it yet, but I'll get it! That's great!

Hurry up with your book already!

Yolanda said...

I appreciate the love and support within our blog family here. I know we are ALL well on our way to more greatness. Screw those stingy friends. They'll be hitting us up when we blow up!

Serena W. said...

Hey Stef! Let me know if you want a copy. I now have 19 books left. This morning I had 30 (God is good)! Once they are gone that's it ;)

Yolanda I so want a "That's My Witch" shirt! LOVE IT!

Hi Ms. Penn! Thanks for the encouragement!

Sillouette! I found your man on FB and liked his page. I have a tattoo and would love another one. Maybe I'll save it for when I visit Florida ;)

My last comment about dreams and business! I once submitted a piece to a book (anthology type) and they rejected it. They said there wasn't enough emotion. I told them that I was writing the truth and if I put more emotion into it, then it would be embellishing the story (mind you it's a true story).

Long story short...I had it edited. Not a lot of edits and submitted it to another anthology and they loved it. Like the old saying goes...what might be trash to someone else is another's treasure (or something like that).

I didn't give up and since that one publication I've been published 5 times and next year will be in 2 more anthologies and with God's blessing 2-3 of my OWN books will be released.

Keep striving no matter who says what and you'll go far in this world!

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