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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Life planning - child style

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

I've been struggling for some time on whether or not I really want to write.

My mother always wanted to be a writer. When I got home from school, the dining room table would be covered in piles of paper along with the Writer's Market and Mom's Smith-Corona manual typewriter. Her dream was to have a story published in the Saturday Evening Post, but the only work that made it to print was one letter to the editor of the Buffalo Evening News. Do I really want to write? Or am I trying to fulfill my mother's dream for her?

Well, the Saturday Evening Post published one of my stories in their 2016 anthology.

So if I was writing for her, do I need to keep writing?

Or do I have dreams I've ignored for her quest?

Last week, I found an answer. Somehow, through the many moves of my life, I kept a small, plastic-covered notebook: Camp Fire Honors hand-written on the cover. Camp Fire Girls was an enormous influence on my childhood. It was a positive force, encouraging my best and challenging me to expand my horizons. There are many memories in that book, including my notes on the name I chose for myself as a Camp Fire Girl.

Everything I have become as an adult was there in that book, in the name I chose. Even in elementary school, I had an understanding of the need for balance in life. My name reflected this by being based on three elements:

  • Being well and healthy, spending time outdoors

  • Having a family and making a home

  • Creativity - and I specified writing

These still apply. I've expanded the outdoor piece to include having adventures in life. I create my nest wherever I'm living and home is wherever family connects, whether virtually or in person. While I specified writing, I was also acting and singing and playing piano back then, and sewing without patterns and doing art projects and photography.

I may have specified writing because it was my strongest skill, which was probably due to my mother's guidance and encouragement. However, I kept writing because of the positive reinforcement I got from my teachers and my peers, with whom I wrote school plays. As I drifted through my young adult years, trying to find a path, I kept taking writing classes and getting that reinforcement. Even when I wasn't writing fiction, I was carefully crafting documents for work. I never stopped writing. My dreams include adventure and family, but I will always write.

I've fulfilled my mother's dream; the rest is mine.

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