To Achieve It, Write It Down - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Most daydreamers are familiar with the euphoria that accompanies a vision. But empowerment is not realized until that vision is supported by a viable, sustainable plan with concrete goals. That’s the philosophy of Rev. Nathaniel Gadsden, founder of the Writers Wordshop, a not-for-profit organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that helps poets develop their inner voice.

Gadsden has found that his techniques are not only helpful in poetry, but in many areas of goal planning. “I (write) everything down, which has allowed me to hone in on my ministry and understand my calling for life,” explains Gadsden, 54, who serves as pastor of Imani African Christian Church. He is also the author of Learning Self-Therapy Through Writing (Universal Publishers; $19.95). In his book, Gadsen details four bridges: I am, I can, I want to, and I’ll do it today.

For anyone who is going through a transition in life, whether it is starting a new career or launching a business, Gadsden says the following:

Before giving birth to the Writer’s Wordshop ( in 1977, Gadsden took personal inventory of what he had in stock. “Each one of us is a living human document. Your experiences are critical to who you’ve become as an individual.” Gadsden suggests that before you switch careers or begin writing a business plan, take stock of your experiences (the successes and the failures). Also, take into account your family of origin and your family of choice, since they are both important in how you see yourself as an individual. Write down whatever you can remember from when you were 2 years old to two weeks ago, Gadsden advises.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are often told to assess what they can do. The Small Business Administration ( suggests that writing down your experiences will help you answer questions like: “How good am I at making quick, difficult decisions under pressure? Do I have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? How well do I plan and organize? How will my new career affect my family and personal relationships?” Answering such questions honestly will also determine the depths of your desire to turn a new corner in life.

Since its inception, critically acclaimed poets like Sonia Sanchez, Etheridge Knight, and the late Gwendolyn Brooks have presented at the Writers Wordshop. Gadsden met many of these writers long before he started the Wordshop. “The ‘I am’ and ‘I can’ had been answered for me, but after meeting them I realized this is what I wanted to do,” says Gadsden. “Out of that passion grew a plan. I put my ideas down on paper and began to conceptualize how I would do it myself.”

Put your plan into action. Gadsden looked to more than poets for help. He worked with a grant writer at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to create a proposal for funding and to develop an organizational framework. He not only received free professional advice but also a $3,000 grant. “The worst thing you can

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.