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...


For me, every writing project is an opportunity for self-discovery. My love of writing began in middle school, when I wrote a short story as an assignment and realized that words came easily to me. I felt a rush of adrenaline as a world I imagined in my mind came to life on the page. In high school, I spent many hours typing out stories that came effortlessly. I joined the school newspaper and literary magazine. I decided I would be a writer when I “grew up.”

Photo by Amanda Morris

Photo by Amanda Morris

My passion continued in college, where I majored in English and took many creative writing courses. Being Jewish, I also took a number of courses in Judaic studies. In one class, we were assigned Night by Elie Wiesel.  Here was a story told very simply but powerfully about one boy's experience in the concentration camps during World War Two. The story touched home because of my own family's history. I knew at that moment the story I needed to tell . . . the story of my own grandparents' experiences as Holocaust survivors.

But time and again, when I attempted to start, I was met with a blank screen. I didn't know how to tell the story. I had never faced such writer’s block before. I tried writing it as a novel, a biography, a series of short stories. I struggled because the "main character" was my grandmother, a living, breathing woman and not some made-up figment of my imagination. I wanted to be as accurate as possible, but what I enjoyed most was writing fiction—making up stories and creating new characters and situations. Many times I put a pin in the project and moved on to other things. Then my writing took a further detour when I became a wife and mother. Before I knew it, I had two beautiful daughters who were my only priority. Between midnight feedings, play dates, and PTO meetings, writing took a back seat.

A few years ago, I found a bunch of home movies that were collecting dust on the top of our entertainment unit. “Hey, remember these?” I asked my husband excitedly. As a family, we sat down to watch hours of footage, from the birth of our first daughter to our first trip to Disney. But when I saw the video labeled “Interview with Grandma,” my heart raced. In my hand was an interview I’d recorded of my grandmother, made years before my girls were born. I'd forgotten all about it! Long after everyone else had gone to sleep, I stayed up to watch my grandmother tell the stories about her life and the family she’d lost. I decided it was time to try again.

This time when I sat down to write, the words flowed. The emotions and images that had once eluded me came flooding out. I realized that becoming a wife and mother had given me the depth and perspective I needed to write about something so difficult, something I wasn't able to do as a twenty-something-year-old. It was a story waiting for the right time to be told. That time is now.


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. 

Melissa Hunter is a freelance writer and editor who has worked in the fields of non-profit, education, and public relations for over 15 years. She is currently writing a novel based on her grandmother’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Most importantly, she is mom to two beautiful girls who are her daily inspiration.

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I love how finding something from the past triggered your ability to write. It does feel like certain stories have their time, doesn't it?
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