Lead Like a Tree – #BLOG365 Day 1

I’m starting this today in the midst of a hurricane warning in North Florida. Tropical Storm Hermine, which will most likely by a hurricane by later today, is expected to make landfall not far from me. Schools are closed for the next two days. We are history buffs in our house and I am a proud #theatremom. Lin Manuel Miranda’s song from Hamilton, Hurricane, keeps replaying in my head:

In the eye of a hurricane

There is quiet

For just a moment

A yellow sky


When I was seventeen a hurricane

Destroyed my town

I didn’t drown

I couldn’t seem to die


I wrote my way out

Wrote everything down as far as I could see

I wrote my way out

I’m hoping to channel a little of Hamilton this year as I blog. Hamilton biographer, Ron Chernow once said in an interview about Hamilton “he felt that part of his mission was not only to do, but to speak and to write and to explain.” Chernow even called Hamilton “a human word machine.”

In third grade I knew I was going to grow up to be a writer. Every weekend I wrote stories with my spelling words. My family received stories from me as birthday and Christmas presents. During my senior year of high school my classmates predicted I would be at our reunions signing copies of my bestselling novel. When I graduated from college with a degree in Creative Writing I gave the important people in my life a poem as a thank you for helping me get to where I was. I was one of those writers who carried around a little notebook jotting down ideas and character sketches. I read Anais Nin and William Blake and Flannery O’Connor and took notes in the margins of their books. I identified myself as a writer before anything else. And now here I am pushing 40, a Creative Writing major who never writes. No more journals, no more notes in the margins of my books, no more poems. All those words that once defined me, the ones I couldn’t get out on to the page fast enough, the ones I spun in my head in the shower and in the car, are gone. Somewhere between graduation and now I lost them.

Recently I was at a conference. We did an activity called “Lead Like a Tree.” We created trees to define professional goals. The roots were where we had come from, the trunk where we are now, the leaves our goals, and the branches how we would get to our goals. Here’s mine:


I took a long look at my tree. In my roots you will find “writer”. In my trunk the word “writer” is missing. But my goals and my branches say “get back to writing” and “write every day”. It took me putting this all down to paper for me to recognize how far I had strayed from who I really am and to give me push to start this. #BLOG365 is both an opportunity and a challenge. I can’t wait to see what happens because I have no idea where this will lead me. Hopefully by the end of this I will be a “human word machine” like Hamilton.


2 thoughts on “Lead Like a Tree – #BLOG365 Day 1

  1. Jill, inspiring and poignant. Much the same happened for me. But #Blog365 is going to be a fantastic journey for all of us. To lead us all back to reflection and writing. I look forward to read all your blogs.


  2. Pingback: It Starts With Intentions – #BLOG365 | Jill Cross

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