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

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

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The Unpublished Writer

I love reading.  I am obsessive about it, to the detriment of those around me. During a good book, the dishes stack up, the kids watch too much TV, and I don’t notice my husband talking to me. I love watching my kids dive into a book, unable to put it down.  Two hours after ‘lights out’, I’ll discover my oldest has secretly been reading the whole time. I can’t be mad; I totally get it.

Maybe feeling the raw power of a good book leads to wanting to be a writer. Or wanting to give someone else the pleasure you feel when gripped by a story. The why of the question isn’t something I’ve considered, but I want to be a writer nonetheless. Yet, thus far, my efforts have resulted in nothing but rejection letters. Albeit some have been encouraging, each was still a rejection. Encouraging rejection letters are like being pulled in two opposing directions: the encouragement makes me want to immediately hunker down and produce a flawless masterpiece, yet it’s another rejection, which makes me want to take out my laptop and repeatedly run over it with my car.

Photo by Amanda Morris

Photo by Amanda Morris

Which may not be a bad thing. I like writing. But the energy and time it requires means less energy and time for everything else: making dinner, helping the kids with homework, reading a book by a Really Talented Writer. I’m preoccupied; I have a story or a thought bouncing in my head that must be written, and my other responsibilities get shelved while I oblige.

The intensity, the energy that writing requires! I love it, I hate it. It’s a “vortex”, as Louisa May Alcott said, and I wish I had more time to give it. But I don’t. I have a life.  A big, fat life that is so full I’m not sure it can handle an obsessive hobby like writing. This is why the encouraging rejection letters are frustrating. Either encourage me or reject me, don’t do both! Help me answer my internal writing struggle: do I quit and find some crafty thing to make my laptop into, or will succumbing to ‘the vortex’ eventually yield fruit?

Over time, I’ve come to realize I’m already writing an amazing story. When I wipe a nose, cook a meal, or clean up vomit, I am adding to my story. It is this story, my family, my masterpiece, that I am fully committed to. We’ve got ups and downs, heroes and heroines, and unexpected plot twists. My devotion to writing actual words will ebb and flow. It is not my first priority. Getting published will not make or break me, or bring me unsurpassed happiness. I won’t deny that’d it’d be sweet and satisfying. But writing a living, breathing story in the lives of my family already brings me happiness. My first priority will always be them. And I wouldn’t trade that for all the published books in the world.

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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. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects. 


Carrie Lambourne finds joy and inspiration in reading, the outdoors, and in the chaos of raising five daughters. Despite the rejection letters, she is currently working on a children’s nonfiction book. She resides with her family in Nevada’s beautiful Sierra Mountains.


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