December Sell-a-bration #16: How To Be a Writer Mama When You Are Afraid of Failure

By Cinthya “Sugar” Jones


That’s how I find the best books. I walk around the aisles and wait for one to call out to me. That’s how I met Christina Katz — well, not exactly Christina, but her encouraging spirit – when I came upon a happy, little yellow book, Writer Mama. I saw the subtitle, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. When I took a look inside, I could see that Christina wanted to help me write, not talk down to me or tell me all about her own successes. I took the book home, checked out her blog, and saw that I could take a class with her that would get me to do the things she laid out in the book.

Then I just felt sick.

For years, I talked about writing. I had read so many articles in the local paper thinking, “I can do that!” But I was so afraid. Still, I took the Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff class to get some how-to articles going and move forward on the road to getting published. With Christina’s prodding, I found that I had a lot to say.

In my past incarnations, I had recruited and interviewed people, I had organized and coordinated large scale events, and, of course, I had been raising kids for fifteen years. Not to mention, I was getting known in my circle as a budding family photographer. I had oodles of how-to articles to submit!

I just couldn’t get myself to write a query letter.

Old ghosts kept haunting me and my life was beginning to fall apart. Reading the blogs of the other writer mamas and their publication successes just made me feel like more of a failure. Then one day, I didn’t care… and I started to write. I found my voice through all of the misery of a separation, the sale of our home, and the strained relations with family. Eventually, I landed in a little village that had a community paper. Hmmm…

Looking back at this last year, the struggles that I went through were really more of me coming out of my cocoon. Not only have I been published several times in our paper (along with my photos), I have come to be known as the go-to gal for articles, copy writing, and photography. I’ve spoken at local women’s groups as well as covered several events for our paper. The blog that I began as a means of finding my voice has grown in loyal readership and was recently selected for a major giveaway. But more than any of that, I can now look in the mirror and say…

“You’re a writer, Mama!”


5 Responses to “December Sell-a-bration #16: How To Be a Writer Mama When You Are Afraid of Failure”

  1. 1 Sarah December 16, 2008 at 1:43 am

    thanks for sharing your story! I can totally relate to your experience of letting fear get in the way of publication…so it’s really inspiring to see how far you’ve come! Hopefully, I will someday make such awesome strides, 🙂

  2. 2 Mary December 16, 2008 at 8:10 am

    You certainly are, Sugar! And an inspiring one at that. Isn’t the world wide web a small world? I’m a Writer Mama devotee as well. Looks like we just keep traveling in the same circles – great minds think alike!

  3. 3 Jennifer December 17, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Thank you for writing about fear. I was paralyzed by fear before submitting my first article this year, as well. Now that I’ve gotten over that hurdle, it is a little easier. I was afraid of being vulnerable to the world. But then I realized I had something to say, and I really wanted to say it. That helped. Good luck in the next year expanding your writing.

  4. 4 The Writer Mama December 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Cinthya!

    And happy holidays!

  5. 5 Donna McDine December 17, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Cinthya…I’m thrilled for you that you over came your fear and began submitting. Wishing you much confidence and success in 2009!

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