Community Conversations: Where Will The Writer’s Go?

This is a new series to highlight insights in my local community.

Local newspapers provide access to communities in a way that makes in depth connections that a regional or national newspaper may not have time to cover. For Akron, The Devil Strip (TDS) was unique in filling that role while also highlighting the area artists, creatives, and nonprofits . When I was younger I moved up and down the east coast. When I get to a new city or town the first thing I tend to look for to assess a community are its library and its community newspaper. When I came to Akron four years ago, I was sold when it was clear to see that this city poured into both investments. The demise of TDS was disappointing, but the biggest loss was the hole it created for community journalists to connect and create based on their expertise, passions, and experience. While several digital and print community media, TDS captured a diverse and inclusive picture of Akron, but shine the unique artistry of our city’s shared culture. Dara Harper, Director of Programming at ArtsNow and creator of the Akron Black Artists guild, sees the importance as knowing that someone is, “recording our story” not just major headlines, it opens us to see how Akron “shares a narrative”. The culmination of the team in place was a bright spot that shared a special place in the heart of Akron. What was more important is the position the organization was taking to provide a pathway for the everyday Akronite to submit their voice towards covered content. At the beginning of 2021, they offered training for citizens on the foundations of reporting and writing the news. The pilot program included around 25 members and many went on to publish throughout the year.

While my experience as a writer for TDS was short meeting the people behind the paper showed a dedication to a mission that was bigger than the news. It was a mission to shine a light on Akron, both the achievements and challenges. There are credible newspaper publications in the region, like the Akron Beacon Journal. Susan Zake, professor from Kent State University and former photographer for the Akron Beacon Journal, points out hyperlocal newspapers, “filled a void of the local coverage of the art, culture, and music scene” and also provided an “an aesthetic” that was unique to the area. Unlike a regional newspaper it allowed a pathway to fill both “informative and creative needs.” Now once again it seems there is a void of coverage in this area. How can a community return to filling this void in hyperlocal journalism? As Susan Zake notes, “collective voices and take submissions.”

Ken Evans, a former community journalist, shares “there is a desire to invest in it, there is a desire to have voices. The biggest thing is we have to be okay with risk in the city and run with their ideas.” The biggest desire is the power of community-based journalism to be a tool for the people and by the people. So the question is where are those tools now?

What could be shaped and formed into a viable pathway for the community to share their vision and voice?

One such place where the writer can continue to send their submission is the Serve the People newsletter. Wren, their contributor, describes as a “radical mutual aid organization founded in Akron after the protests of 2020. Their newsletter is the Revolutionary Akron Press, or RAP, for short. It is a Patreon funded paper that dives into critical topics in Akron such as the housing crisis. The newspaper speaks to the mission of the organization. RAP writer Wren says it is a “tool of accountability” that sheds light on issues that Akron needs to know. They started their paper in 2021 with the hopes to illuminate how people are struggling in Akron. Wren hopes the paper can position itself as a “shield and sword” for the city. She welcomes writers to go through the membership process and get writing! While it may be a small niche spot, writing as an Akron tool for change, will revive itself one way or the other.

One More Move: Let Out Your Excuses

2018 was a year of introspection for me.

A new career, personal commitments, and community projects made me step back and assess what I was doing. I took time away from writing and  I focused on the internal and external challenges that I had to recognize and explore at the roots. I learned my main priority needed to shift towards projecting my truth into the world. Yet, I know my most truthful voice comes through my writing. Sure, for 2019, I set goals to communicate with my teams more and to make more videos, but deep down I could never escape my calling to write.

What is a part of your calling you could never escape?

Not sure what your calling is?

With time and observation you will hear your calling  within you or see it in the actions that you take. Yet, some of us do hear our calling and then we find ourselves avoiding, ignoring, or neglecting it. We fill our days with excuses to do other things besides what the universe gently asks of us.

So the One More Move challenge is to: Let Out Your Excuses.



Notice I didn’t say Let Go (that’s another move), but to let them out. My mentor suggested I read The Goddess Warrior Training by HeatherAsh Amara. She discusses the importance of knowing the stories we lean on everyday to explain why we are the way we are. Knowing what those stories are is the first step to take before attempting to transform them. Listen to yourself throughout the week and observe where you stop yourself from taking action or where you make up an excuse for not moving forward on something . Hear those stories and write them down.

At the end of the week, look at those stories and ask do those stories still serve my growth? 

Your stories (including your excuses) are powerful tools to influence how you act in the moment. When you begin to identify how you use your stories on regular basis, you can begin to build the awareness that allows you to leverage them to build your progress towards success.

So want to hear more about 2018? Check out Cultivated Sisters group built for real women who aim to pursue their passion in an authentic way.



Writing is a calling, not a choice.

-Isabelle Allende

I’ve written less since spring season.

New job, new challenges, and a big focus on the day-to-day of my passions pulled me into my introverted nature to sit back and take in my new surroundings.

So I made a decision, to give myself space from writing, while I adjusted to these rapid, yet pivotal, life changes.

After a while, though, the yearning returned. My true passion, writing to draw out your success. To make you, us, the world feel the inspiration and magnitude of pleasure from doing our greatest good.

These words do not come out, they escape, as if they were always there, a kyuubi, waiting for me to tap into its infinite power.  No matter how far I push it away from my deepest desire to write it pummels back to me.

What is a calling that you can not ignore?

Finding your calling may not always be easy, but following your calling is twice as hard, but you HAVE to do it for it to be realized in your life. So what do you do as an alternative to putting-it-off forever?

Take a break.

Find time to walk away in a calm, controlled, and consenting manner.

You may think …now Zinga…how could you suggest putting-it-off as a remedy to putting-it-off?

At first the idea does seem like a contradictory, but taking a break, involves some key factors to keep it from falling on the dark side of the procrastination line.

Here are some quick factors to taking a break:

Have a reset time. The main difference between taking a break and procrastinating forever is that you get back to doing what you were doing. Maybe you use an exact date and time, maybe you use an event in your life, or maybe you have a season in mind. Just know, visualize, and even write down when you will return to your original activity. Please note, the length of your timeline should be set realistically to how important it is that you get back to what you’re doing. For instance, if it’s your goal to get an A on a test in two weeks, but you need to take a break, then a two week break wouldn’t make sense.

Choose honor over guilt. Find the admirable reasons for making your choice instead of reasons that make you feel guilty. If you are in a state of rest then respect your wish to let your body restore itself. If you need to reshift your priorities for pressing matters, then appreciate your ability to adapt to new situations and see things through. Whatever narrative you build,  it should be one that is from a positive perspective.

Use what you learned. During your break, try to find one-to-two learning nuggets you can implement once you reset. Maybe it’s a shift in your schedule or reaching out to form new partnerships. This sets up two bonuses to your break:

1) You can be assured your break fits into your larger master plan

2) Your break serves an immediate purpose of helping to improve your your path to success.

So…this is how am I making an honest reset with writing for this page. I allowed myself to adjust to the pace my new situation before getting back to get back to writing. I committed to a goal to write again before the year was over. During my break, I learned that given the new responsibilities to be consistent, I will give myself time to ease into it, starting with twice a week! 

Are you ready to hit the reset button on something in your life, what is it?

Til the next time,


The Simplest Way to Build a Discipline Map

Zinga Hart Success Quote (2)

Let’s say you’re starting from scratch.

Sure you’ve gotten things done in the past, but your reliability is 50/50 on your good days. You know you need to get more done to get somewhere, but life — ever-distracting life — draws you away from your personal bigger picture. It happens to the best of us, as we make room for new family responsibilities, changes in professions, a call to civic duty, or the gamut of things we have to deal with as we paint our life vision into reality.

What keeps you going? 

For me, my biggest skill to develop has been the habit of discipline, which I see as doing something even though the thought of doing it brings one discomfort. Putting off that 50-page thesis or skipping a morning run all stem from the ideas that come into our heads when we think about doing them…

ugh so many pages to write…

but I’ll get all sweaty…

Whatever the situation or thoughts may be…it is the sensation of discomfort the forces us to choose whether to stay with the discomfort and do what is important anyway or find a way to escape the sensation by another binge session of Shameless on Netflix.

Discipline is the act of going forward anyway.

How does one use discipline?

While we can be sporadic about the ways we are disciplined (you should see me buy the whole town on Sims…), if you are interested in creating your authentic vision of success you exercise discipline in meaningful ways otherwise, you run the risk of life molding your discipline muscles for you. Creating a routine for yourself allows you to apply your discipline to your personal mission.

 So here goes, here’s the simple way to create that routine:

  1. Figure out what you want to do with your life (i.e. write your vision)
  2. Write out what you want to achieve in the next 10, 5,  and 3 years
  3. Develop goals to get done within 1 year
  4. Figure out what you need within 1 month
  5. Write down what you need by the end of the week
  6. Jot 3 things to get done by the end of your day
  7. Check 1-2 (once a year), 3 (once a month), 4-5 (once a week) and update 6 every day.

And we’re done. Sure there are tons of tools you can use, and please remember, you have to actually do the things on these lists for them to be real, but if all you had were a pencil and paper, this list is all you would need.

Build your routines around finding time to achieve what is on these lists and let life fill in the blanks.

Here’s a great article from ZenHabits on mastering discipline.

PS Posting are switching from Tuesday Mornings to Thursday mornings.