A TIME TO WRITE
AN INTERVIEW WITH PATRICIA MIDDLETON
By Nathan Aponte
1. What is your definition of success and what determines whether or not a person has achieved that level of success?
The meaning of success for me has changed over the years. When I was younger, success meant a high paying career, no financial woes, receiving love beyond measure, and my name in lights. Today success means setting and accomplishing personal goals, having a reasonable portion of health, giving love beyond measure, and most importantly walking in the purpose for which I was created.
2. What influenced you to become a writer, and who are your current influences?
I first began writing poetry at the age of fourteen, the same age I began keeping a daily diary/journal. I grew up in very tumultuous household and reading and writing poetry became an escape for me. It was a safe place where I could be calm, confident and comforted. My greatest influence then was Nikki Giovanni. As I grew older and my faith became the central focus of my life and my writing, my influences changed to Helen Steiner Rice, James Weldon Johnson, and the Holy Scriptures.
3. Are there any other forms of writing that you enjoy doing, such as journalism or technical writing?
In addition to poetry, I write song lyrics, short stories, workshops on biblical principles and inspirational messages. I also really enjoy editing and proofreading for other writers. Journaling also continues to be something that I enjoy, although now instead of daily journals written in a "dear diary" fashion, I have several different on-going "theme-based" journals.
4. What was your background before you became a published author?
I spent over twenty years working for a Verizon and five years working as an administrative assistant for a non-profit agency that mentored children of prisoners. Since 2006, I've been working as a Traffic Manager and Announcer at a small Christian Radio Station in Camden N.J.
5. What was the determining factor that led you to the decision to leave corporate America, start your own business, and subsequently pursue the true American Dream of the Free Enterprise System?
My department was declared surplus, and we were let go. When I left, I had large and lofty dreams of become an overnight success in the literary world. That fantasy was quickly challenged as I discovered just how much work goes into pursuing your dreams. Re-entry into the work force continues to challenge just how much time and energy can be poured into my small publishing company, but I have learned that faith and patience are my strongest weapons in continuing to pursue and accomplish my dreams.
6. What obstacles and challenges have you had to overcome to get to the level of success you are at now, and do you view your adversity as something that pulled you down or something that helped you and made you stronger in the end?
If you had asked me this question ten years ago, I would have said being a struggling single parent, being a woman, being African American, maybe even being a Christian. But now I know that my greatest obstacle and my largest challenge is one word, and that word is fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, even fear of success. Realizing that my greatest adversary wasn't a particular set of circumstances, but rather something from within was half the battle. Discovering what weapon to use was the other half. Faith became that weapon. Not only the set of beliefs that make up my faith, but faith itself: faith in God, faith in myself, faith in my dreams, faith in my writing.
7. What are your ultimate goals in life not, just in regards to your poetry, but general life goals as well?
My main goals in life will always be intertwined in my poetry. To use my gifts and talents to express myself, to share my life experiences, to portray the love of God, and to encourage mankind.
8. How did you get published and who is your publisher?
Poetricia Publishing. It's who I am and what I do. I decided long ago that I would self publish. Back then I didn't know what that really meant. It has been an exciting, educational, encouraging - and expensive - journey, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
9. What advice can you give to other aspiring writers/entrepreneurs that wish to reach your level of success and accomplishments but have limited resources?
I would say that as you discover, develop and display your natural gifts, talents and abilities never forget that success takes time. Read the autobiographies of those you most admire. You’ll see that for many, that’s the common denominator. I'll say it again: success takes time. I am no where near where I desire to be in terms of success.
Also I would add the following: learn how to rid yourself (and your life) of hatred, anger, jealously, greed, unforgiveness and low self-esteem. Carrying these poisons (and being closely associated with others who carry them) will halt your progress and stifle your gift. If you think this can’t be done, think again. It can. Ask me how.