By day, Mary Banks works as a Technical Writer-Editor for the federal government, and “by night” she is a published author with who runs La Muse Press, LLC. Having published her first book, Street Magic: Stories and Tales, over seven years ago, Mary seeks to not only publish her own books, but also to publish the works from other writers of color and women. Mary knows that through her own publishing company, she will have the opportunity to provide writers with a platform to get their works into the hands of readers.
But, in order to further her dreams to help others, Mary understands that she has to equip and prepare herself. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Arts in Professional Studies in Publishing at George Washington University. In 2011, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore.
Elevation requires growth, and we can never be too equipped with knowledge. Dreamers, how are you equipping yourself to further your dreamS?
And equipping yourself does not only mean obtaining advanced degrees. Mary discusses how for two years she worked as a customer service representative for an academic book distributor. At the time, she felt frustrated because she thought by working at the organization, she would have the opportunity to work in other departments, such as the editorial division. However, this was not a lost cause. Mary did have the opportunity to learn about book distribution, fulfillment, discounting, and other aspects of publishing that she would not have learned about.
Dreamers, we have to be able to recognize how our experiences can render knowledge on all levels even when we do not get out of those experiences what we initially hoped and expected.
Aside from gaining practical and educational experience, Mary advises people to interact with others who inspire them or who work in the industry they want to start a business in. Who inspires Mary? Generally? “Any woman who has defied the odds.” Specifically?
I really admire Noëlle Santos, who is establishing The Lit. Bar bookstore in the Bronx, NY. I follow Noëlle’s stories on Instagram and I am impressed by her focus and discipline. Of course, there is Oprah Winfrey. I love how she has made such a major impact on the culture. My good friend Sherna Ann Phillips is also an inspiration. She is committed to her craft of writing and performing. I like how she creates opportunities; she isn’t waiting for them to happen.
Dreaming. Learning. Networking. Meeting. Planning. Pursuing.
It can all feel a bit overwhelming at times. Mary says to those who do not think it is possible, “renew your mind.” While she says that finding a balance can be challenging, remember to learn every day and KEEP YOUR VISION INTACT.
When you keep your vision at the forefront of your mind, you minimize the risk of it getting lost in the midst of every other thing and dream you have going on in life.
Ultimately, Mary finds her drive in her Christian faith. She relies on Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Mary explains that if God gave her the vision, then she knows that He will also equip her with what she needs. Her faith and her resilience will not allow her to settle. She is compelled to make her vision become reality!
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