“After a stressful divorce and an emotionally abusive marriage where I found myself at my highest weight of 337 pounds, alone, without a home, and devastated by grief, I needed something to help me recover,” she says.
That something was writing.
“I found a writing class — Women Writing for a Change,” Salaam says. “This is where I found healing through the power of words and community. Writing to release brought me freedom to declare I am a Poet and that writing is a tool of recovery. I have been with the same class and group of phenomenal writers for over six years.”
Earlier this year Salaam became a member of See Jane Write, too, and she has started a movement of her own through the Literary Healing Arts Foundation, a business idea she has brought to fruition in part through the guidance of Create Birmingham’s CO.STARTERS program.
On August 27 I had the honor of returning to my alma mater, the University of Alabama, to serve on a panel at the Blackburn Institute, one of the nation’s most unique and dynamic leadership development programs for college students.
The panel I was on was called “How to Find the ‘Truth’ in the Shifting Media Landscape” and was all about how to discern fact from opinion in a world full of blogs. podcasts, alt-weeklies and more.
Despite my experience as both a full-time and newspaper reporter and a freelance magazine writer, I was there mostly to represent the world of blogging.
During the panel discussion an audience member asked, “These days how do you determine if someone should be called a blogger or a reporter?”
I have notebooks on notebooks filled with tips, tricks and strategies that I need to implement to grow my blog, business, and writing career.
Some of the advice on these pages I’ve actually put into practice. Much of it I have not. I tell myself I haven’t done these things because I just don’t have the time. And to be sure, my schedule is quite chaotic. But last month I managed to blog five days a week and keep my business afloat despite family drama, sickness and a heavy workload at the day job. To quote entrepreneur Melanie Duncan, “Successful people don’t have the time to learn and grow; successful people make the time to learn and grow.”
But I recently realized it’s not the lack of time that’s truly holding me back. It’s me!
Last week I looked at that stack of notebooks and asked myself, “What are you waiting for?!” And I realized I’ve been waiting for perfection.
I’ve been putting off a much-needed brand photo shoot because I’d convinced myself I needed to lose 20 pounds first. I’ve been putting off trying to collaborate with my favorite bloggers because I’d convinced myself I needed to revamp my website and Instagram feed first. I’ve been putting off submitting story pitches to my favorite publication because I’d convinced myself I needed to improve my writing skills first. And I’ve been putting off taking See Jane Write beyond Birmingham because I’ve secretly wondered if anyone outside of my hometown would care.
But this is all bull shit.
I recently heard someone say, “You don’t have to get it right; you just have to get it going.” It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. I say this to the women of See Jane Write all the time. Now I need to take my own advice.
So as I sat down to set my goals for September, I decided to pick five things I’ve been putting off and just go for it. Ashes to ashes, dust to self-doubt. (You’ll catch that on your way home.)
I’m sharing my bold goals in hopes that they’ll inspire you to set a few of your own.