Ignorance—in the purest definition of the word—will always be part of my life because, for as much as I know, there’s so much more to discover.
Diana R.A. Morris is an educator, writer, and editor who helps people reach their “aha” moment.
In March 2018, Morris released her first novel, Lachesis’ Allotment. While this is her first full-length publication, Morris’ penchant for language and passion for teaching and learning have landed her speaking opportunities at education conferences, written works in several education-focused publications, and opportunities to help writers from all industries bring their projects to life as a freelance editor.
In addition to her editing business, Morris currently helps college students navigate the freedoms and responsibilities that come with their postsecondary experience. Her passion for working with this population started at Boston College where she earned B.A. in Communication and guided her to Vanderbilt University where she earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration.
Originally hailing from Mount Vernon, New York, Morris resides in Nashville, Tennessee, a city perfect for trying new restaurants, foraging for local art, and exploring nearby hiking trails.
Where did the idea for your book, Lachesis’ Allotment come from?
The idea for my book, Lachesis’ Allotment, came from my core beliefs that things happen how and when they’re supposed to and that we’re all part of a bigger picture. I’ve had so many questions and reflections about why people act the way they do and, as an avid reader, I wanted to get them on paper and share them with others. During the day, I challenge college students to think critically about the decisions they make and the ways in which seemingly isolated actions affect their lives and, by extension, the lives of others. As an editor, I help my clients identify and tell their stories so that they can effectively engage with their audience.
When I took a step back, I realized that this notion of connectedness and having something to share with the world extends to all of us. This book is a culmination of my work and philosophy. Hopefully it helps people realize that they’re not alone in their challenges and triumphs.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
During the workweek, my typical day starts at 5am with at-home yoga or in the gym. This is a recent addition to my schedule because I realized that, between 8am and 5pm, I am helping other people reach their goals and bottom line. Taking this time in the morning is my way of making sure I invest in myself just as much as I invest in others. Once I’m done, I answer emails, work on projects for my clients, and then get ready for my day job.
One thing that’s great about my commute is that I can walk to and from work, so I listen to music or an audiobook and take those moments to clear my head. I get into the office around 8:30am, move through meetings with students and campus partners, and handle the other responsibilities that come with my role at a university. By 5pm I’m heading home to make a quick dinner, settle in with work for clients, and catch up on some TV before heading to bed by 9pm. The weekend is where I throw this schedule to the side a bit and add in time to hang out with friends, travel, and relax in preparation for the next week.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by taking the time to listen to what people want and finding the best way to fulfill that need. As an editor, clients come to me with a rough draft of their documents—whether that be resumes, cover letters, books, or journal articles—and it’s my job to enhance what they’re saying and hone in on things that might be left unsaid.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m very excited about the way technology is connecting us. I know there’s a lot of concern about how our grip on reality is getting warped as we’re inundated with other people’s highlight reels, but I do see spaces where people are coming together to say, “You know what, I’m not okay. Today was hard.” I think the pendulum is swinging in a direction that helps people redefine success and discover alternate ways of existing that they might otherwise not have come across. As we’re able to share messages at faster speeds, these real-time exchanges allow for a more authentic, relatable look at what it means to be human.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My productivity comes from keeping a calendar—I allot specific time to nearly everything I need to do so that I know I’m using my time as wisely as possible.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that ignorance—in the purest definition of the word—will always be part of my life because, for as much as I know, there’s so much more to discover. During my freshman orientation, a professor named Father Himes spoke to my classmates and me and said that the sign of an intellectual is being able to say “Yes, but…”. I would tell my younger self to lean into that “but” and to find joy in searching—and waiting—for the answers.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is such thing as a stupid question—especially if you could have found the answer out yourself, but were just too lazy to do the research and legwork.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend that everyone get comfortable with failing. Once you know that failure is always an option, you’ll stop letting the fear of it keep you from taking risks that could lead to rewards.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A strategy that has helped me grow my business is to put myself out there, either through in-person events, networking via social media, and by being authentic with my current clients. The nature of my work is very personal, so it’s important that people see me beyond a desk (for my college students) and beyond an email (for my editing clients and readers).
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the early stages of my editing business, I was so uncomfortable with the business side of the house. I got into the work because I love reading and writing and I wanted to share that with other people. However, as an entrepreneur I had to learn how to make decisions as if my business was counting on it—because it was. I leaned on friends who are more business-oriented than I am to help me learn how to determine rates, turn down clients, and handle the inevitable hiccup that comes along the way.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see a crowd-sourcing app for freelancers built on a barter system (e.g. I do copywriting for a CPA’s website in exchange for them doing my taxes). If someone makes this happen, sign me up!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on a vendor table at a local author’s fair. It was my first in-person event since publishing my book, and it was a great way to get in front of potential readers and editing clients.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
My iPhone synchronizes to my work and personal calendars, so I have everything I need to do and every place I need to be in the palm of my hand.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mine–”Lachesis’ Allotment”—because it challenges readers to think about the whys and hows of where we are. As we look to be the best in our fields, are we letting doubt and hesitation stand in the way or do we have enough faith in the unknown to take a leap? As we work towards our dream project as entrepreneurs, what are we sacrificing? Do we really take the time to think of the costs? The book asks us to reflect on what we’re doing with the one life we’ve been gifted, and on the ways people we encounter along the way play a role in who we become. One of my favorite chapters in the book talks about Imposter Syndrome and the ways it can convince me to tell myself “no” before anyone else even gets a chance to say “yes.” As a maker and doer, this is something I have to actively fight against and it’s always helpful to realize that I’m not alone in that battle.
What is your favorite quote?
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.” This is a quote that my father used to say to me all the time growing up. While I used to regard it as just one of those things parents said (complete with an internal eye roll as I listened), I now carry it with me as a reminder that there’s always more to do and greater heights to reach.
• Screw doubt and go for it. The worst that can happen is “no.” The best that can happen remains to be seen.
• Every story matters—tell yours because no one else can.
• Invest in yourself as much, if not more than, you invest in other people.
• Figure out what your weak points are and build a team to help you fill in the gaps.
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