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Friday, April 02, 2010


Friday Speak Out!: "The Write Life," Guest Post by Sherri Kuhn

The Write Life

by Sherri Kuhn

I have always considered myself a writer, even when everything I wrote remained in my head. Of course, I would never have called myself a writer to anyone else. This was more of an imagined second life, nestled in my head along with the grocery list, shoes sizes for my kids, and phone numbers of my next of kin. Words have always intrigued me, especially those twisted around to create sarcastic humor and wit.

Several years ago, I decided that to actually call myself a writer, well, I would have to write. I signed up for a fiction writing class at the local community college. The eclectic group that attended this night class would have made the basis for a great short story, except I was too busy trying to read the assigned books and do the assigned writing to write it. By the end of the course, I had learned a lot about writing fiction, successfully kept from breaking into tears at the constructive criticism, and written my first real short story (which, I might add, had a surprise ending that even the professor didn’t see coming). I still, however, would not refer to myself as a writer.

Fast forward several more years, during which I did little to no writing at all. Then one day while I was working in the yard, a story just came to me so clearly that I just had to write it down. It felt so good to feel the words flow! After some editing and re-reading, I sent my essay to the local newspaper for their reader submissions column. When I heard back that my story was chosen, I was so surprised! A few months later, another story came to me and I frantically wrote it, edited it, and sent it off to the newspaper again. I got an almost immediate response from the features editor that she loved it. I still didn’t quite feel like a “real” writer, but I was getting the idea.

Now with two mini successes under my belt, I started to wonder if I could really let the writer inside me live in my daily life. Would we get along, or would she be fighting for my time? Would the other parts of my life suffer when the writing part took over? How many of “me” can there be? Would my family resent her?

I decided to start slowly. As long as I did something related to writing each day, I was making progress on merging my second life with my first. I became a fan of writing pages on Facebook. I found a few writing blogs and started following them. Since having a blog requires you to actually write, I started my own blog. I read information on writing contests, online workshops, conferences, and self-publishing. I submitted an essay to a publisher.

Now I am a writer. But then again, I always was.

* * *

Sherri Kuhn works with at-risk elementary school students, nags her two children, loves her husband, exercises once in a while, and is a newbie blogger. She has had several personal essays featured in the Contra Costa Times. Follow her observations about everyday life on her blog at


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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