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

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


Finding My Words Again

I’ve been a writer all my life, until one day I wasn’t. The realization hit me hard, like something precious had been lost and I’d just noticed. It had slipped away without my knowing, a casualty of life as mother to three young children.

As a kid, I chose reading and writing over just about any activity. The library was my safe place. Instead of going to the playground at recess, I would hide in the biography section behind the giant bookworm beanbag chair, devouring the stories of famous people. I tried my hand at writing my own autobiography, complete with crayon self-portrait cover art, which made both me and my mother very proud.

Once I had read my way through biography, I moved to fiction. I discovered worlds I’d never known as I traveled through time and space with A Wrinkle in Time, met Wilbur on the farm in Charlotte’s Web, and zoomed with Charlie through the roof of the chocolate factory in The Great Glass Elevator. These classics and more formed the basis of my literary canon and inspired me to write my own stories. Lacking a literary agent or interested editor, I self-published my books throughout elementary school. As I got older, my writing became more personal, journals and letters and stories primarily intended to process my feelings on the rollercoaster of adolescence. I kept up the journaling as a young adult and as a lawyer, I wrote mostly for work.

When I had children, I vowed to instill in them a love of literature by helping them learn to read and write, amassing a small library of picture books to read together. I encouraged them to write, taking down their dictated stories to make construction paper books. My own writing was relegated to brief journal entries about them—their first steps, new words, and funny things they did. And then, with all the busyness of life, I just stopped.

Until a few years ago, when my oldest daughter, an accomplished writer herself, asked me why I wasn’t writing anymore. I didn’t have an answer.

“But you need to write. You taught me how, because it’s part of who you are.”

So she sat down at my computer and spent the rest of the afternoon setting up a blog for me. It was impressive, with pictures and graphics and lots and lots of blank space. For a moment, I panicked. What if I couldn’t write anymore? What if I had nothing left to say?

But she wouldn’t let me walk away, setting a deadline for my first entry and following up with me. And so I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more, more than she’d asked me to do, because deep down inside, my words had been waiting. And that’s when I knew I’d found myself again.

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. Read more about submissions to the blog here.

Catherine Gentry is a writer living in Houston, Texas. She retired from practicing law to raise her three nearly grown children, and her writing has been featured online at Literary Mama, Grown & Flown, Living the Second Act, the “Voices” section of the Princeton Alumni magazine, and in the Houston Chronicle, as well as on her blog, Words Count.

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