Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Why I Write

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

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Write What You Know

Much of what I know for sure is mom knowledge. As a college senior, I directed Our Town, coaching Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb to pantomime making breakfast believably. Decades later, as I move through my familiar morning choreography—emptying the dishwasher, grinding coffee, feeding the pets—I realize I’ve been tending to my own family for more than twenty years. There is a lot of knowledge stored in my mom muscle memory. What I know as a mom enhances what I know as a writer: show, don’t tell; choose strong verbs; mix up sentence patterns. Write what I know.

I know a lot about loading and unloading the dishwasher. Sorting silverware annoys me, but I don’t mind placing glasses on the shelf. I like hanging mugs from hooks.

I know the right dosage of Pediacare for my son without squinting at the tiny chart. I fill up the plastic cup.  My son hates the grape flavor and requires a chaser of cold water.

Photo by Amanda Jaros

Photo by Amanda Jaros

Here’s what else I know:

There’s always more laundry to do and never enough time to write.

I’m the best in our family at locating lost possessions. I’m the one who discovers the missing library book, the soccer jersey, the list of what to take to school on Wednesday. This is knowledge born of desperation.

I know too much about avoiding conflict, making nice, overlooking a curt tone or a cutting glance. I am my mother’s daughter: peace at all costs. This is not necessarily the healthiest motto, but it’s the one I live. I hate being at odds. I want to skip the messy drama and get to the resolution. I wonder if that’s true in my writing, too? Do I skim over the agonizing bits to be finished? I don’t think so. As a reader, I am suspicious of the bow tied brightly around all the loose ends of the story because that’s not how life goes.

I understand that I write to make sense, to figure out what I think or feel. In my school, there’s a big push to teach coding to prepare girls with the computer science skills they need in a technologically complex future. For me, writing is coding. I am looking for the patterns, testing, solving different kinds of equations.

My writing gets chucked when there are other pressing duties—though I write each morning pretty much without fail, there are mornings when I do fail. And some mornings, to call what I scrawl writing would be a stretch.

Worrying is a habit that is of little use.

The fuchsia rocket roses in our backyard make me joyful.

I’m nicer when I write.

As a little girl, I spun elaborate stories of orphans in mysterious circumstances.  What I knew was derived from fiction; it was what I knew. Now, I’ve substituted life experience for longing. I write what I know.

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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. 


Ann V. Klotz is the mother of three and the Head of Laurel School in Shaker Heights, OH, where she follows the lives and learning of 645 children, ages 2 to 18. Her house is full of with too many books and alive with the shenanigans of 3 rescue dogs, 3 cats, and one long-lived gold fish (who was the subject of a Literary Mama essay!). Her essays have appeared in Literary Mama, Mothers Always Write, The Manifest Station, The Grief Diaries, Mamalode, the Brevity Blog. Her chapter about becoming a teacher was included in the recently published anthology, What I Didn’t Know, published by Creative Nonfiction. You can read more of her writing at: annvklotz.com or by follow her on Twitter: @AnnKlotz


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Another wonderful piece and so relatable. I always look forward to reading Ann's missives.
Another refreshing piece by Ann Klotz that leaves me feeling understood.
A lovely post!
wonderful!
Beautifully penned and her words, mirrors for us all.
Write what you know. Parent the same way. Love this, Ann Klotz!
Such a charming read!
You have such a way with words!!!
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