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: 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 (, 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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