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


A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire


Encouraging a Writer’s Heart


Once in awhile, a teenager will stumble onto my blog and leave a comment. I consider those words gifts because they offer me a glimpse into my children’s future, a heads up, a reminder to stay present and connected to my precious ones.

This particular young lady’s comment was different. Yes, it contained powerful insights that revealed what children need from their parents, but there was an added element that could not be ignored. Using carefully chosen words and a unique writing style, the young commenter described a vast space that had developed between her mother and herself. But she did it with eloquence that is rarely found in a comment box.

In her third paragraph, the teen disclosed that she loved to write stories as a child but stopped due to her mother’s discouragement. Almost as an afterthought, she added that she’d just started writing again.

That’s when I stopped reading.

In my mind’s eye, I saw an elevator door quickly closing. I yearned to do everything in my power to stick my hand between the metal panels, causing them to open wide … wide enough for an escape.

I reached for my laptop and responded with words of encouragement—words I hoped might prevent the doors from shutting on a future of writing, a message that might free her from the confines of a passion unfulfilled. This is a portion of my note to her:

I was only a few sentences into your comment when I said to myself, “This young lady is a writer.” You are a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I was a teacher for ten years, an English major, and a life-long writer; I know good writing when I see it. Please keep writing. Even if you show no one, write. My friend, writing saved me. My problems are different than yours, but each time I came to my blog and wrote about my struggles and triumphs to let go of my distractions, I got one step closer to healing. After two years of writing, I have come pretty far. I’ve uncovered hurts in my soul that are on their way to leaving me forever. If you need encouragement to write, come here. Even if you leave comments to let the world know what we need to know, this space is open to you. You have so much to offer.

I printed my response to the courageous young lady and find myself referring to it when the words in my head can’t seem to make it to paper. And if you are a writer, then you know there is almost always an obstacle between you and your writing. Perhaps it is your inner critic; perhaps it is your job, family, or other life duties; perhaps it is someone telling you that you’re not good enough.

Today I am urging you, as I did my young commenter, to push away the obstacles and write. Write on scraps of paper while waiting in line at the grocery store. Write on the margins of the book you are reading. Write on your hand. Write and show no one. Write and show the world.

Don’t let the elevator door close; it might take you to somewhere you don’t want to go.

Instead, burst open the doors of your writer heart … and set yourself free.


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

Rachel Macy Stafford is a certified special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in education and ten years of experience working with parents and children. In December 2010, this life-long writer felt compelled to share her journey to let go of distraction and grasp what really matters by creating the blog Hands Free Mama. Using her skills as a writer, teacher, and encourager, Rachel provides readers with simple, non-intimidating, and motivating methods to let go of distraction and connect with their loved ones. Rachel’s work has been featured in USA Today,, The Huffington Post, and Reader’s Digest. Her blog currently averages one million visitors a month. Her first book, Hands Free Mama, recently became available.

More from

Rachel, Thank you for this piece. It just about made me cry. We all need encouragement, and I appreciate your thoughtful reminder on this. Lovely post.
I am truly honored to have my piece published on your wonderful site. Since the writing of this piece, I have heard from the young writer from this article. It fills me with joy to report she is not only writing short stories, but she is working on a full-length book in the fantasy genre. I will be the first one to buy it! Thank you for letting me share our story.
Thank you for again, writing something so honest and beautiful. Your writing reaches into my soul and make my heart stay open. Well done!
It breaks my heart for this young girl..... Each one of us has gifts that God has given us...... I have 4 children (20,17,12, and 6) each one is different and unique. One goes to college and one to flight school, one loves to read whole the other loves to create masterpieces :). Years ago I remember asking the Lord to show me how my children were bent, what their gifts were and how I could encourage them in how they were created...... My prayer is that this young lady will be encouraged over and over again ......
Rachel Thanks for sharing this awesome empathic story and responses. The power of healing and hope embodied in writing down one's thoughts and feelings cannot be over estimated. Many psychotherapists ask their patients to write to supplement the talk portion of therapy. Writing is therapeutic and your encouragement to do so is wonderfully expressed. Powerful overall!!!
Comments are now closed for this piece.