Joan Leotta, author and performer

Joan Leotta, author and performer

A blog for writers, Women and Adversity: Joan Leotta

Besides being a writer, Joan Leotta is a story performer. That is, she writes stories, dresses in costume and gives folklore programs, thus combining writing, acting and speaking. She assumes the character she’s representing and tells about the person’s experience. Her wealth of custom programs range from adaptations of fairy tales to figures in American History to events in world cultures, such as the Chinese New Year and African Safari.

What was the biggest obstacle she had to face when she decided to become a writer? Her answer will be one that many women will echo.

Joan: The biggest obstacle to becoming a writer was not knowing how I would make a living as a writer. I started out in journalism in college, but then was diverted by the social action of the sixties to major in something else, so I could write “About” something. From there I drifted into wanting to make policy instead of writing about it, and so I went on to graduate school and then on to work for the government.

During the time I worked for the federal government, my writing was all reports, policy papers, and budget items–hard lessons in learning to write well, persuasively and quickly. NO time for my own poetry or fiction.

When I got married and decided to give up my job to stay home with the children, I began to write again for real. I found the organization skills (for writing) that I had learned while doing business writing suited me to do general news reporting, feature writing and even some business writing for clients as diverse as Washington Post and Washington Business Journal and Parent Weekly. Money became an issue and my difficulty became fitting interviews and writing time around ‘mommy and wife’ work. Poetry and fiction took a backseat, but I did dabble. Time became my friend and my enemy.

What is the biggest obstacle she faces today?

Joan: The biggest obstacle now is also time—it takes me longer to do work that I could do oh so quickly in years past. My severe migraine headaches are a bit less frequent, but they do interfere. Now that we live in North Carolina, I do less journalistic writing and book fewer performances. I reach out to the public with fiction and poetry—my dream—as well as articles. I have had some success with fiction and poetry. My blog site has a free short story on it.

One piece of advice to those who want to write but find obstacles—be patient, keep writing, no matter what. Submit your writing. Work on your craft. Keep writing.

Joan can be reached at her blog:, and on Facebook at

Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I published three ebooks in 2020: Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women; Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers; and Women and Adversity, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. These books are meant to be study guides for all students from grade school through college to help in choosing topics for assignments and to learn more about these noteworthy women. Go to, and to learn more.

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