What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. —Albert Pine
Pine’s words embody the overwhelming sentiment that flooded my emotions as I finished my first book. What I had written would endure for my daughter, for subsequent generations and as long as the earth remained. Written words transcend their authors and readers, traveling from generation to generation. And if they inspire, illuminate, challenge or move you—in any way at all—they become living things with which you grapple. They are the physical representation of thoughts and as such become the voice of not only individuals but also organizations, communities and nations. You can wrestle with words and smile and cry because of them. They can fuel your emotions, lift your thinking and provoke you to purpose.
–Lenita Reeves, Author, Writer, Content Creator
My Writing Journey
My writing began as a necessary ingredient to an educational recipe, progressed in skill as required during my employment, evolved into inspired ideas and now lives and breathes as an integral, life-giving part of my purpose. I am blessed to have discovered its important role in my life and interestingly enough, dance had a lot to do with my discovery.
Dance? Yes, in the beginning of my writing, there was a ballet barre. But what does a ballet barre have to do with a byline? I acquired the first drops of courage necessary to embrace the title, Writer, while pursuing a graduate degree in Dance Education. I wrote movie reviews and commentaries on dance, art and culture for Showtime magazine, Theatermania.com and Dance Insider magazine. They weren’t well-paying gigs but they usually came with free passes to performances and, my name in the paper or on the Internet! What more could a struggling graduate student want?
For more than a year, I was a freelance writer for the Call & Post Newspaper, a small Columbus, Ohio-based weekly publication, covering a variety of entertainment and feature stories. In addition to generating my own story ideas, I arranged and conducted interviews and did my own photography at remote locations. At the same time, and of less glamorous stature, I was an assistant grant writer at the Wexner Center for the arts. My entire life was dancing, writing, eating, sleeping and my son.
I discovered that, like dancing, writing satisfied a creative craving within me. Suddenly, the book ideas that had been confined to a dormant existence (as mostly empty, saved files on my old laptop) now seemed like possible realities. I could write—at least my editors were convinced that I could. Now, I had the courage to keep writing. New York was calling.
New York, New York
New York, New York big city of dreams, as Grandmaster Flash called it, became my city of dreams for a summer during graduate school. I interned with Elizabeth Zimmer at the Village Voice, learning that making your point with less words actually makes more impact. I never dreamed that a dance degree would lead me to taking the train from Brooklyn into the Village Voice office every day. I was dancing free, a young woman experiencing a dream unfold before her eyes. And I was learning how to write from the best minds in the business and taking African dance classes from the best New York had to offer. It was a dream come true!
The Dancing Stopped: The Dichotomy Began
Then, the dancing stopped. Winter had come. It was time to graduate and bills needed to be paid. I had a son to care for; so, I returned to the traditional workforce. Now, instead of dancing free I was a slave to a paycheck. My writing was no longer a free, living and breathing thing—it had restrictions and confines and was told what to care about. As Delatorro McNeal says, I was “Caught Between A Dream and A Job.”
I pressed on and eventually, there was a saving grace. I gained experience creating student-facing copy for online courses in Social Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Storytelling and Film. In addition, I used that time to improve my writing and gained exposure to other styles including APA, MLA and Chicago Style.
The occasional, intermittent moments of daydreaming on the job led to ideas archived on my computer. But this time, I refused to leave them unfinished. I began blogging and wrote my first book while keeping my day job. Now, I have self-published 3 books and have plans for more in the coming years. I feel blessed to write and privileged to help others do the same. Perhaps your purpose also awaits in an odd place–like a studio full of ballet barres.
More about Lenita
My services include:
- On-Demand Publishing
My writing experience includes:
- Assistant Grants Writer for the Wexner Center for the Arts
- Contributing writer to the Call & Post weekly newspaper
- Intern with the Village Voice Weekly Newspaper
- Freelance, Published magazine and newspaper article writer (published under Lenita Williamson)
- Village Voice
- Columbus post
- Dance Insider Magazine
- Blogger since 2009
- Instructional Designer with over 10 years of experience