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  • Writer's pictureDebra Williams

Writing, Unblocked: Debra Williams, Black Female Empowerment Coach, Author & first-time Filmmaker

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Debra Williams, Executive Producer - Church Hat The Film
Debra Williams, Executive Producer - Church Hat The Film

Welcome to my Blog! I’m Debra Williams, a Black female empowerment coach, new author and filmmaker, and the creative force behind this blog. So, let's start off by asking the obvious; why should you read anything I have to say? I’m excited to share my experiences with you about the creative process behind writing my first book (and the next one), promoting it, how it is evolving into being made into an animated short film, and the fear, aspirations, learnings, mistakes, and successes along the way. So if that sounds interesting, this blog is for you! I hope you enjoy reading it, and following me on Instagram at @storytoscreen and @mybestlifebooks, on Facebook at and on my emerging YouTube channel @storytoscreen.

All of my books will focus on the multicultural reality of people who are Black and living in diverse BIPOC communities. The work I do as an author under the banner of “My Best Life Books” is focused on my journaling, writing, and publishing activities. Each book will have the intent to show a range of personalities who may be faced with barriers, both internal and external, but who will eventually live their best life. What I share under the theme of Story to Screen is about how my writing is evolving, and being transformed, in the case of my first children’s book CHURCH HAT, into an animated short film.

I have been so fortunate over the last three years in my creative journey that I want to share the power of believing in your own voice, the importance of making and maintaining connections, and how to navigate the necessary but more mundane and unfamiliar territory of the logistics of the publishing world, fundraising, and getting your art to the production stage where audiences can enjoy it.

Before I go on, let me introduce you to my book CHURCH HAT. This was a result of me wanting to pay tribute to my mother and maternal grandmother during the pandemic. They both passed away prior to the start of quarantining in 2020 due to COVID-19 and I missed them very much. One day, I was going through old photos and came across a series of photos with them and other family members wearing enormous fancy hats. Each photo occurred during an occasion like a wedding and some were taken on Sunday around church-going activities. When I was growing up, dressing formally for church was expected in our Caribbean community, and one of the first photos I have of myself is in a dress made for Easter service, wearing my own hat.

The idea of the story is about how my mother and grandmother were dedicated to making sure our family was happy and included everyone. Including one uncle who early on was showing that his orientation was outside of the binary construct. There are many communities where this is either not talked about or tolerated or both. But in my family, no rejection or stigma was tolerated about his questioning as a child, and eventually growing up living his best life as a gay man. In fact, my Grandmother walked her son down the aisle the day he married his husband. In the story, a young black boy is caught by his mother, posing and trying on her fancy hats. Instead of being in trouble, she offers him safety, guidance, understanding, and love. It is a children’s book for the whole family to encourage conversation. There is no wider agenda, just the reality that children should be able to trust the adults around them to at least listen to what they are going through and provide them with the feeling that they belong, just as they are.

In the isolation of the pandemic, when I was able to work remotely, in safety at home, I had the time to turn my years of writing stories privately into a poem that paid tribute to the women who made an important decision in our family; that generational trauma can end when we want it to. In another blog I’ll talk about how I researched and met the brilliant illustrator, Janine Carrington, who’s artwork brought my words to life in vibrant color.

You notice that I have not called myself a writing coach, because I’m not. Nor am I an expert on what will work for everyone. This blog is about empowerment and positive vibes. I want to leave you with words of encouragement. If you are thinking of telling your story, or a story of something you know about, or if you have envisioned totally new worlds of fiction with new beings, people and places never described before that you are hesitant to illustrate and write about….do it. In future blogs I will be letting you in, to my thoughts of imposter syndrome, to how I traveled through grief by journaling, how I got my writing unblocked, the importance of a support system and being vulnerable, and, if you want to, how to take that inner ‘no’ and turn it into a resounding YES!

Remember to follow me on Instagram at @storytoscreen and @mybestlifebooks, on Facebook at and on my emerging YouTube channel

Thanks for reading this far. More to come. Ciao4Now.

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