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The Write Path
by Shaunna Privratsky

My husband, Wade, thought I was crazy. After a life-long love of reading I suddenly wanted to write my own stories. In three months I scribbled two novels and several short stories, taking the first steps down an unexplored path in my life’s journey.

Shortly after, I saw an ad for the annual American Mothers Inc. Literature Competition, challenging writers to submit a story about her mother. My Mom had passed away the year before, after a long courageous battle against cancer. My grief was still raw but the act of writing helped me begin to heal. Much to my amazement, my essay won first place in the state competition and placed second at the national level. After seven months of patience, hard work and perseverance, my booklet "The Silk Robe" was published in loving memory of my Mom.

Somehow I convinced my husband we needed a home computer. With access to the Internet I realized just how ignorant I was. Writing the story is only half the battle. You also have to market it.

I sent out several stories and my first two novels. Soon I began collecting rejection slips. Over a dozen short stories, essays and poems circulated in the marketplace, homing pigeons I did not want back.

The events of September 11, 2001 hit me like a blow. Like many I suffered depression too vague to be called suicidal yet too deep to ignore. The words that had flowed like a river slowed to a trickle then stopped completely. I suffered writer’s block so severe I couldn’t finish a story, essay, or even a poem. I continued to send out the work I had completed earlier, hoping against hope.

Finally I gave myself an ultimatum on October 30, 2001. If one of my stories were not accepted by the end of the year, I would banish my dreams to a dusty corner of my subconscious. Just quit.

God must have known I am not a quitter at heart. Surely it was a nudge of His divine finger that prompted the editor of E-thought Magazine to send me an e-mail message on December 31, 2001. An e-mail praising and accepting my short story "The First Snow" for his online magazine. Talk about last-minute miracles!

My New Year’s resolution was simple: Never doubt myself again. I am writing full-throttle again, filled with new purpose. In the last few months I have had 14 articles and poems accepted.

Writing is often lonely, frustrating and unrewarding. Sometimes the ever-mounting pile of rejection slips discourages even the most optimistic soul. Yet it feels incredible when the words come faster than white-hot lightning and you are immersed in the sizzling heat of your creativity.

I will continue on this path I stumbled onto. I will strive to comfort and touch others with my words. Most of all I will believe in myself. After all, who can argue with divine intervention?

© Copyright 2002, Shaunna Privratsky

Shaunna Privratsky writes fulltime from North Dakota, in between shoveling snow. Please visit The Writer Within at http://shaunna67.tripod.com. We are looking for new writers and we are a paying market.

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