“Find your writing voice, or get your money back” the online writing class ad read. It was one year ago, and I had been casually scanning for distance-writing courses that could fit my schedule. My first thought upon reading this sales pitch was “I didn’t know I had or have a writing voice. Did I ever have one? What did it sound like? “Perhaps I saw  glimmers of my writing voice, but it was a very shy voice, which was more comfortable disappearing into the shadows.  

I signed up for the class. We met on the phone each week from the comforts of our own living rooms.  

Our teacher took us through various 5- and 10-minute writing prompts and we had chance to read our work and share feedback. We wrote about our grandmothers, mothers, adolescence and childhood. We wrote about details in pictures, moments frozen in time and as our pencils moved, the memories were stirred. 

My writing shell gradually came off. There was no grading. No pass or fails. No A’s or B’s to worry about. Just my style of learning. By the end, we called our group the writing sisterhood. 

The stories — they  were just waiting to be told. I was amazed at how effortlessly they came. And by the end of the class, writing seemed like a good use of time, instead of something that should be done only when the house is clean.         Months had passed since the writing class and I was curious to try writing an occasional piece in the newspaper. Having kept a family blog for nine years, I wondered how different writing a column would be from blogging. 

 When I hit send on the final draft of my first column this spring, I thought “What in the world have I done?” My heart raced. This is good for me, I reminded myself.

Life begins just outside my comfort zone, right?  The newspaper arrived, my pulse raced again. Then, I slowly peeled open the paper and took a peek. There it was — my first column published. It was exciting to see my word in print.  

Thus begins a new writing adventure. Here’s to writing with a very specific weekly deadline. This is new for me — but good. It gets my fingers flying on the keyboard and doesn’t allow for writing stage fright.

Here’s to my husband who graciouslessly reads over my final draft to give me his honest critique. To the  readers who have given me kind words of support, thank you. Your encouraging words help fuel my writing time. Thank you, Kodiak. 

Kodiak resident Zoya Saltonstall is a mother of two and a physical therapist. She loves black labs and chocolate.

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