For the past eight months I have been part of a leadership program that emphasizes identifying and following your dreams. Since I was in elementary school I have wanted to be a writer. I was good at it. I loved seeing my ideas take form on a page. Writing papers, stories, articles all came easily to me through high school. [I should note that I was never a good poet]. By high school I was sure I wanted to write professionally. I was the co-head editor of my school newspaper, majored in print journalism in college and even earned a doctorate in political science with a specialization in political communication. Almost everything I have done educationally and professionally reflects my love of the printed word. There is only one problem. At some point I stopped writing. I am starting to figure out the why and how of it all. My writing simply faded away. Looking back, I think that the publish-or-perish nature of academia is what contributed most to my not writing. I am a bit of a perfectionist. It actually hurts me to read bad writing, it crushes me when the bad writing is my own. So when I would start to write for journals I spent more time deleting my work than anything else. I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted, always thinking: What if this isn’t any good? What if nobody likes it? What if the journals don’t accept it and I don’t get tenure? That’s a lot of pressure and it became simply easier not to write anything at all.
It’s been four years since I left academia full-time and my words are coming back. I credit the leadership program. We have some tough love coaches and though they never said it to me directly, I could hear in the back of my mind Carol Susan Delaney and Caroline Hines thinking: Just get over it. Writers write. Period.
So that’s what I am doing, getting off of my duff and writing again whether it is perfect or not. I hope you enjoy it, but if you don’t that’s ok. I take criticism well (or at least I hope I do) so let me know in the comment section of this blog what you think is written beautifully and what you think needs a bit of work. In the next entry I’ll explain in detail what this Song-in-Action blog is actually about, but here’s a hint: Leaders Lead no matter what field they are in. Within music communities around the world, musicians, activists, teachers, producers and others are taking the challenge and becoming leaders in their communities in the hopes of bringing about positive change. This blog is going to celebrate leadership in the music community. I hope to tell the story of song-in-action one blog at a time.
Posted originally on my blog Song-in-Action located at KatinaRaeStapleton.com