Women’s History Month, Day 1: Making Room for Women Writers
As a writer, the pandemic forced me to re-examine my skills, my dreams, and my belief in myself. Women’s History Month reminds me that the self-reflection was worth it.
On February 4, 2020, I launched my cooperative workspace for women writers, called Writers’ Haven Evanston. Two weeks later, the pandemic hit, and I was forced to close its doors.
Two years later, on February 28, 2022, I reopened the space to masked and vaxxed writers, just in time for Women’s History Month.
In that two-year “downtime”, I tried to keep myself busy. I wrote my heart out, developed and delivered presentations on branding, and served as a panelist for corporations trying to acknowledge and address employees’ emotional struggles & well-being. I also worked, for a short time, as a U.S. Census Bureau Enumerator. Then, for half a year, I trained for and worked as a COVID-19 Case Investigator and Contact Tracer for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
And all the while, I kept hearing from people looking to share their stories:
“Can I bug you?”
“Can you read this real quick?”
“Do I have what it takes?”
“How do I write a memoir?”
“What’s a writing coach?”
“Is my story worth sharing?”
“What’s a typical memoir length?”
“How long does it take to write a memoir?”
“Do I have to be famous to write a book about my life?”
“Am I too young to write a memoir?”
“Is it worth it to hire a memoir coach?”
I tried to respond to every inquiry with as much honesty and integrity as possible, amazed by the increasing volume of inquiries I received each week, finally unable to keep up. I had no idea when the pandemic would end or if I’d ever reopen my writing workspace. All I knew was that writers of all levels of experience were raising their hands and asking for guidance. Was I the person to help? I didn’t know, but I was willing to try.