Sunday, February 01, 2009


And you are?

I am a writer.

I earned my master’s in fine arts for creative writing in 2003.

It would seem that those two ideas should be in one sentence. I’m one of those women from a young age who loved writing poetry, short stories and watched in awe as friends became enmeshed in a world of words. After all, mine was just a “hobby.” They were Writers. I passed up opportunities to write for publication because I didn’t feel I was good enough.

Then I enrolled for my master’s in creative writing, because it was something I thought I had to do to call myself a Writer. I graduated with a draft of a novel and the belief that I would take publishing by storm. While fellow graduates managed to get their books published, I wallowed in the self-pity of remaining “unpublished,” never able to quite find an agent who would take on this dewy-eyed Writer.

I landed at the local newspaper and started having a byline in the paper and in its magazine. I freelanced on the side. I was sheepish about it. I met up with a friend, whose book had just been published. At one point, as she gushed about her success and briefly asked about my job, she asked if I still considered myself a Writer.

I thought back to all that I had written since graduation. I multiplied that to the readership of the publications I wrote for and responded that I did. However, her comment stung.

I realized that I consider myself—and always have considered myself—a writer. I may never become a Writer. But I am okay with that. For a year, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer. I write blogs, and for the newspaper, the local women’s magazine and an area business journal. In my spare time, I read my children’s fiction to my oldest children. Their passion for my fiction is endearing—and rewarding in itself.

And, while my unpublished novel and children’s stories may collect dust long after I am long gone, each week, it never fails. I meet someone at my children’s school or at the dentist’s office who will say, “I just saw that article you wrote. I didn’t know you are a writer.”

I look them in the eye and say, “Yes, I am—and so much more!”

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a creativity coach and the moderator/main blogger for CoastalCarolinaMoms. She is also a freelance writer, columnist and blogs for wilmaville. To have the opportunity to listen to read her children's stories, stop by prior to bedtime most any night of the week.

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Friday, December 05, 2008


Friday Speak Out: Keep At It! Guest Post by Michelle Hickman

Keep At It!

By Michelle Hickman

The house is quiet. The nephews are in bed. My niece has had her bottle and will give me at least four hours of time before her soft cries push through the nursery walls as she asks for her next feeding. The house is quiet...for about two seconds.


My fingers skim over the black keys, giving light strikes as I try to keep the noise down. However, my mind will not be quiet. Its words have grown louder and my hands have to obey them over my worry of an awakened child. This is my time away from the aches in my back after I had swept all the floors. My time away from wrinkled skin soaking in greasy dishwater as I had washed the mountain of plates to feed dinner to three children who ate like twenty hungry firefighters.

Eyes stray to look over at the cup of steaming tea. My tongue runs across dry lips. I drank a diet soda this afternoon when the kids had their snacks and watched "Dora the Explorer" videos. Yes, one can (half really) before I ran into the basement as the washer buzzed at the end of the rinse cycle. By the time I returned to finish the can (five hours later after another mess to clean because the kids thought it would be neat to lick the back of Teddy Graham crackers and stick the tiny bears to every window), the warmness had offended my taste buds enough to pour the rest of the soda down the sink. Then I grabbed the scouring pad to rub out the rust stains along the drain that I had been neglecting for the past week.

The tea appears tempting. Yet my fingers keep typing, refusing to take away any time from my writing. I dare not stop now. The boys have a full schedule for me tomorrow. They will fill my day with watercolor paints staining the carpet and missing jigsaw puzzle pieces I will spend most of the morning trying to find only to then have the kids wanting to play with their missing matchbox cars instead.

My hands stop moving over the keyboard. I hear a noise. Was it one of the boys having a nightmare? Or perhaps a stuffed animal falling from the crib as the lack of fuzzy warmness against my niece's face will cause her to awaken? No. The noise is coming from outside. I tense. House keys jiggle in the lock. The door opens.

My brother is home from work. He asks, "How were the kids today?" I wince, not from the question but from the loudness of his voice.

"DADDY'S HOME!" Two pairs of running feet enter the hallway from the boys' bedroom. Then wailing cries begin from the nursery.

I look at the computer screen. Four lines. Four sentences sit alone on the word processor page. I smile at the wonderful sight. I got farther than expected.

Even four sentences are considered an accomplishment in a writer's hectic life.


Michelle Hickman is the owner of The Surly Writer, a fun and inspiring blog that posts stories of surly humor and, as Michelle says, "on occasion bits of useful information, although I'm trying to stomp out that bad habit." We think she's way too modest though!

Her blogger profile says, "I grew up in the rural hills of Pennsylvania (yes, I am a hillbilly--you do not have to rub it in.) I first discovered a love for writing in high school where I had the opportunity to annoy my fellow students by waxing poetry. No! I didn't use car polish on it, although it would have given the verses a nice shine. My pleasures in life involve laughing at a good pun, enjoying a good read, and having a good friend."

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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