First Paragraph Delight

by - 7:06 PM


In 2014 I submitted an entry to the Women’s Memoir’s First Paragraph competition. If you are unfamiliar with Women’s Memoir check them out here: http://womensmemoirs.com. The founders, Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler, co-authored the four-time, award-winning Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story (2007, Second Edition, 2012), and the award-winning Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep (2012). At the site you can sign up for their blog digest, a rich resource for memoir writing assists and notifications for current contests.

So, back to my entry! In 2014 I was happy to get notification that my First Paragraph had won an Honorable Mention. Last week I was pleasantly surprised by this email from Matilda, I am excited to let you know that work is now ongoing to publish a Kindle ebook featuring all the Women's Memoirs First Paragraph Contest winning entries. This will be a valuable volume, focusing one just one aspect of writing…the importance of strong, powerful openings with many examples all in one place.

I had to stop and try to recall which paragraph I submitted. I remember at the time I was writing lots of “starts” to stock pile to springboard my next topic when I completed one. Well, the piece I submitted was called “Intersection Lesson” and was the precursor to my essay “Intersection” that was published in Mothers Always Write literary magazine in March 2016!

Isn’t that a wonderful example of synchronicity? And an example of why it pays to just keep putting yourself and your work out there. As I look back, I realize that the encouragement I received from the Honorable Mention would have been part of the motivation for staying with that essay through numerous revisions until I felt it was ready for submission. The next affirmation was from Julianne Palumbo, editor at Mothers Always Write (http://mothersalwayswrite.com), who gave me precise editing, followed by the thrill of seeing my essay published there.

And now the circle is complete, the first paragraph that led to a published piece will now be in an eBook as an example to help another writer on her writing journey. I am taking a moment to savor this process and to express my gratitude to Women’s Memoir and Mothers Always Write for their Literary Citizenship!

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