Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Perseverance


A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire


A Writer’s Challenge


There are some days when I wonder why I even keep writing at all. So far, even though I’ve had nearly twenty essays and articles published, I still haven’t gotten paid for a single one. I’ve submitted what seems like hundreds of pieces that have never been acknowledged...not even by rejection.

As the tenth of the month rolls around and I park at the drive-up ATM, I find that my checking account balance sits at $100. I rack my brains for ways to earn some cash. I consider applying for seasonal jobs at Macy’s or UPS, or maybe the local Mud Bay, my favorite locally-owned pet supply store. If I worked on weekends, in addition to my full time job with the school district, we might be able to make it through the month without charging vet bills or groceries.

If only I could get paid for my writing. It would be the perfect solution.

The prospect of earning money was one of the major reasons why I started writing in the first place. I figured it would be a side job that would fit into my already packed schedule without having to sacrifice any more time with my kids.

When I made that pledge to get published, I had no idea how freaking hard it is to earn money for your words. I am in awe of those writers who have managed to secure paying gigs. The challenge of trying to become one of them keeps me going.

But then there are days, weeks even, when I am overcome by doubt. Like the weekend when my preschooler gets the flu and I lose my few hours of writing time. My kids want so much of my attention when I am home. I can’t place my writing before them.

Maybe I should quit. It’s a pipe dream anyway. The odds are against me. It might be nice to sleep in on the weekends. Why bother?

I think about the last essay I wrote that was accepted for publication. I started it in the summer after I saw the call for submissions. I decided to write about a part of my life that has not seen print yet, a part that I simultaneously fear sharing with the world and yearn to share with others. I want to read more stories like mine. I am curious to know how other women handle this experience.

My query was met positively. The first draft, not so much.

I rewrote that essay five times before it was accepted. It took time, revision, and reflection. Just like getting paid will.


Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

Kezia Willingham is a writer who lives with her quirky multiracial family in the Pacific Northwest. She is a frequent contributor to the print ‘zine Hip Mama.

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Love love love this!
So much to relate to here, Kezia. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding me of the importance of finding a way to pay writers for their words.
Great post! Very easy to relate to- thank you!
I recently took a class on freelance writing, and the teacher introduced us to The Writer's Market book. Have you checked it out? I am not sure how I lived so long without knowing there was such a book out there, but it lists lots of writing opportunities that pay.
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