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

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A guest post to motivate, encourage and inspire...

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Right on Time

Not long ago, I overheard my husband and son discussing my son’s request for a watch.

“Daddy,” he said. “I’m getting bigger now. I’m ten years old! I think it’s time I had a watch.”

Of course the eventual promise of a timepiece is not the end of the story, it’s merely the beginning--at least for me. Because my son then announced, “Hey, maybe this can be Mommy’s next article.  About me wanting a watch.”

Shortly before the watch incident, I had experienced a momentous occasion in my life: my publishing debut. An essay I wrote appeared in a national paper.

Before that, I had been thinking about “being a writer” for some time. I worked in Development at a major University, where I wrote a lot. Of course, grant proposals and requests for funding don’t often make the Pulitzer shortlist, so I never considered myself a “real writer.” The newspaper submission was my first attempt to write something people might actually want to read.

It’s often noted that writers are plagued by insecurity and self-doubt, and in this way I proved suited to the job. I spent as much time working on that piece as I did questioning my right to do so. What made me think I could pen something worthy of publishing? Who was I to call myself a writer?

Despite my hesitation, I worked on, and eventually hit the send button. When I received a call a few weeks later informing me of my publication date, I was elated. Yet behind the joy lurked my uncertainty. I assumed it was beginner’s luck. Or maybe a slow news month.

And so it went, my dreams of picking up pen and paper (or mouse and laptop) subdued by a devil on my shoulder asking Who the hell do you think you are? Until, that is, my son declared the watch incident could be the subject of my “next” article.

Later that day I asked him, “I hear you want a watch?”

“Yes Mommy. Daddy said I could have one.” He paused, then added, “Hey, and I thought you could write about it. You know, how you write. About me.”

Then it hit me. To my son, the act of writing rendered me a writer. The question wasn’t would I do more, but when.

There is a time when we believe the only obstacle in life--to being or doing something--is action. It’s hard to pinpoint the year, month, day, hour, when that childlike certainty leaves us. If we’re lucky, though, we know exactly when we get it back.

My son’s request for a watch did become the inspiration for another essay, not only in subject matter as he imagined, but in the certitude to compose it. While I still fear I lack the talent and mettle to ever be a “real writer,” the sage affirmation of a ten-year-old compels me to just get on with it. What am I waiting for? After all, time’s ticking.

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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. Submit your posts to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com.


Ann Cinzar writes about family, culture, and negotiating the complexities of modern life. Her work has appeared in The Washington PostMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyMotherwell and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @anncinzar or Facebook,  or schlepping her kids between Kumon and swim practice.


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Ann, as always our children can be wiser than we are. Keep writing.
I love that "just get on with it" reminder. And yes-- time's ticking. Could not have ended this essay more perfectly, Ann.
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