Reason To Write: To Let It All Out

I walked across the parking lot to my car, the folder from the fertility center tucked under my arm, the scrip for blood work inside. I was giddy, because it was beautiful, sunny and 61 on a mid-November day. I was pleased with myself, because I was Getting Shit Done. Within five minutes, I was pulling into the lot behind the commercial building that housed the lab and, after another 10 minutes in the waiting room, I was ushered into the back and set up in a chair.

My confidence wavered as I watched the lab tech collect the vials she would need for my blood. 11 of them in all. In the past, most medical professionals had struggled when faced with the task of finding a good vein on me, and I’d often teetered on the edge of blacking out. With 11 vials to fill, it seemed inevitable that I would at some point begin losing consciousness. [Read more…]

Reason To Write: So That Others Will Live

Bill Dameron

It’s been awhile since I posted something new in our Reason To Write series, but when Bill contacted me with his story, I immediately connected to his personal reason for writing… not because of the events that got each of us writing, but because we both often write to make others feel less alone.

Bill is a full-time IT Director who’d rather be writing. In fact, when he’s not as his day job, he blogs over at The Authentic Life. (His blog posts make me LOL.) Married to a woman for 20 years, he’s now with Paul. They’ve been together for four years, and happily married for one.

Bill’s story — as detailed below — makes me think of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project. The takeaway is the same. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

In 1977, I was unceremoniously dumped into the public school system after eight years of Catholic school.

Studio 54 debuted, Donna Summer oozed disco sex, and Saturday Night Fever introduced me to polyester boogie nights.

It was also the year of my rhinestone-studded pants, and my brief professional writing career.

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Reason To Write: To Change My World Through Creativity

Susan Finch

What does creativity mean to you? For Susan Finch, the guest author behind this latest Reason To Write post, it’s about more than just her writing. It’s about her whole world. Before you dive in, check out her website, where she blogs about creative strategies for artists, writers, and entrepreneurs searching for alternatives to business as usual, and learn more about her travel and lifestyle writing.

Even though I blog about creativity, it’s hard to answer my own question to myself: Why does being creative matter to me?

I was self-employed as a video editor for eight years before becoming a travel writer and, later, the Multimedia Director for a marketing firm. Now I’m self-employed once again. My road map has been a long and winding one. And along my creative journey, I never knew for sure why I had traveled the path.

Why did I care? What motivated me?

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Reason To Write: To Ask Questions

Vera Badertscher

For our latest entry in the Reason To Write series, let me introduce Vera Marie Badertscher, a freelance writer who also blogs about travel-related books and movies. She is also the co-author of Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist, an art biography that will be released in April, 2011. Why do I love Vera’s story so much? It highlights the importance of writing about the things you want to know more about, rather than being limited by what you already know.

My father said my constant refrain as a little girl was, “Why, Daddy?”

That may explain why I wound up in a profession that asks questions. I’m curious about just about everything and everyone.

Freelance writers have to be curious. It may feel snoopy and prying, but we’re not satisfied until we’ve probed and picked away at the surface of things, and mined the real story lurking underneath.

The little secret of our trade? People like to talk about themselves.

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Reason To Write: To Save My Life

Amy Gesenhues

For the latest entry in our Reason To Write series, I present Amy Gesenhues, a marketing director, wildly prolific blogger, columnist… and the newest addition to my LoveMom family! That’s right. Starting… now-ish… Amy will be reporting to me! Muah-ha-ha! I’m excited about this because I love Amy’s voice, and I feel as if she has so many fantastic stories to tell. That and she obviously gets the LoveMom ethos.

The following is not at all mom-related. Rather, it speaks to the reason that Amy writes in the first place: to save her life. I feel grateful that Amy was willing to share her incredibly personal story here. Without further ado…

From the day I could spell my last name (which was quite an accomplishment for a kindergartener—Gesenhues is a doozy), I was a writer.

I wrote poems about Holly Hobbie and pretended that I was Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I wrote diary entries about my heartbreak over Jeff Libs not loving me like I loved him. (Is there anything more crushing than unreturned grade school love? Oh right, high school breakups.)

I wrote short stories in college about bulimic 20-year-olds who suffered through tragedies of suicidal boyfriends and drug-addicted fathers.

And then, I got paid to write.

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Reason To Write: To Find My Voice

Lori Widmer: Writer and Editor Extraordinaire

In a continuation of Freelancedom’s Reason To Write series, I introduce to you veteran writer and editor Lori Widmer. I love her story because it reminds me of my own… the story of a young girl who barely spoke, yet found her voice in the writing of poetry. I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to it as well. Thanks, Lori, for sharing your story!

If you knew me, you’d be shocked to learn that I spent the first three decades of my life as a shy introvert who couldn’t seem to find a way into conversations. Until I was about 10, you probably wouldn’t remember a conversation with me at all. I wouldn’t talk. At home my parents wished to God I’d shut up, but once you got me in school, at a relative’s house, or even at the neighbor’s house next door, I would clam up. In school I wouldn’t talk above a whisper unless the teacher called on me because, in my pint-sized mind, I thought my voice sounded different, weird.  I was afraid of being heard.

Maybe that’s why I wrote when I was young. When we were 8 and 10 respectively, my sister and I had a “newspaper” we’d sell to the neighbors for five cents. The news consisted of battles we’d had with our brother, cats’ birthdays, and happenings in our little neighborhood (like someone getting a new bike).  We had a subscriber base of two — the next-door neighbor and my mother.

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Reason To Write: To Connect With Others

Diana Vilibert: confessional writer, really cool chica...

Way back when, at a time when I was actually managing a products blog over at Nerve, I hired Diana as a blogger. Of course, within the confines of the blog, one couldn’t really see what I loved about her writing: the artistry of her words… the bravery and blatant honesty behind them.

These days, Diana is a freelance writer with clips on Lemondrop,, The Frisky, YourTango, CosmoGIRL!, and other publications. She also has a smokin’ hot sex column on Crave Online. She was the web editor for Marie Claire before going rogue.

She writes a lot of lifestyle content, sort of like I do. But what I really love are the snippets she shares on her Tumblr. Because — while all that other stuff no doubt pays her bills — it’s when she’s getting down and dirty and personal that her writing really shines.

So I’m thrilled to feature Diana in this week’s Reason To Write spot. The post below originally appeared on her personal blog.

Someone once asked me if negative feedback on my writing upsets me. I thought about it and said no, not usually. Of course, a few days later, I got a comment that upset me:

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Reason To Write: To Break The Rules

Alyssa Martino: Steering clear of rebellion? Not for long!

It seems my Reason To Write series has struck a chord with many writers. Today, Alyssa Martino — a copywriter/editor by day and freelance superstar by night (and, I’m assuming, weekends), shares her own story of how writing gives her permission to break the rules. I love her story, because I often feel the same way: I’m a social anxiety-ridden wuss, but writing makes me brave! Without further ado…

If I were someone else, I’d start off this post by telling you about that time I was arrested for stealing a car. Leads are supposed to pull readers in, and I’d surely succeed with my daring tale of rebellion, crime, and excitement — the wind against my cheeks as I sped ahead of the five cop cars zeroing in from a fog-framed highway.

But the truth is, I’ve always lived my life rationally and responsibly. I rarely act without dissecting the relevant consequences and am infrequently careless (unless you count playing a few too many drinking games. It’s okay now, Mom; I’m 23). I’ve probably disobeyed my parents a total of three times and, even then, they were minuscule infractions, like sleeping over at a friend’s house or eating a second brownie. When they found out, Mom and Dad probably just laughed and said, “It’s okay, kiddo. That rule isn’t too important anyway.”

As parents, they’re likely thrilled by my lack of bad behavior… thrilled to have raised a poster child for compliance. But as a nonfiction writer, I worry about being boring. How will I avoid appearing flat and dull on the page?

But that’s a different story altogether. This isn’t a tale of how I write; it’s one of why I write.

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Reason To Write: A Holiday List

I started the Reason To Write series so that writers could give thanks for the experiences they’ve had and the people they’ve met through writing, and also expound upon the other aspects of the writerly life that make them happy. This week, I’d like to introduce the always-hilarious Ruth Pennebaker, blogger over at The Fabulous Geezersisters, and author of the forthcoming Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough. Ruth decided to use this space to write up a holiday list of all the ways in which writing continues to enrich her life. So when it comes down to it? Perhaps writing is the biggest gift of all.

As always, shoot me an e-mail if you’d like to contribute to this series in the future.

1. I’m not religious and I don’t believe everything “happens for a reason.”  I think life is random and chaotic.  So when I write non-fiction (essays, columns, blog posts, articles), I think I’m trying to make sense of the world.

2. When I write fiction, I get to create my own raw materials and characters and events. So you could say that I have more control over the narrative. The trouble is, you still have to imagine a realistic world where bad things happen to good people and Republicans still won the last election. So you end up trying to make sense out of these events the same way you do with non-fiction. Maybe you have to cede control when you write and allow bad things to happen; otherwise, you would bore the hell out of readers, wouldn’t you?

3. When I was younger, I wrote because I had a talent for it and I wanted people to notice me and see my name in print.

4. Now that I’m older, I think I write for different reasons. It’s partly habit. It’s partly to leave something — my stories — behind. Maybe it’s just for my family or maybe it’s just for me.  Somehow, that’s enough.

5. I also write because I would have made a mediocre lawyer (I have a law degree; don’t ask me why) and a worse neurosurgeon.

6. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, I wish I’d had the talent to be a great lawyer or neurosurgeon. But I don’t. Sometimes I bitch like crazy that the talent I do have is so underappreciated and underpaid. But, at difficult times — say, when my father died in May — I find myself writing and deeply grateful I can write. It helps me. It allows me to express what I need to say. At times like that, I feel sorry for people who can’t write and make something — anything — out of their grief.

7. After 30 years of writing, I write because I love it, it often makes me happy, and I can’t imagine doing anything else or anything better with my life.

Reason to Write: It Knocks Celebrities Off Their Pedestal

Jane Boursaw

Happily, Alisa’s post on her reason to write was so well-received that the pitches just started rolling in! I’m excited to present you with the next installment, from Jane Boursaw. Jane is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. You can visit her at Film Gecko and Reel Life With Jane, and learn how to syndicate her family movie and TV columns in your own publication. Follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; or email her at And if you want to write something for my Reason To Write series, contact me!

When Stephanie mentioned that she was starting a new column on Freelancedom called Reason to Write, a few things immediately sprang to mind for me. Sure, one of the main reasons I write is to get the scoop on what’s new and cool in the entertainment world and pass that along to my readers. But another reason I write involves knocking celebrities off their pedestals.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. Most of the celebrities I interview don’t even want to be put on a pedestal. They just want to do a great job with whatever project they’re working on. It’s our culture that puts them up on a pedestal, and I’ve not been immune to that way of thinking, especially living in the Midwest where I don’t encounter celebrities on a regular basis. You’d never see one shopping for toothpaste at Rite-Aid or sitting in the car next to you at the bank drive-through.

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