Samantha's Monday Musings: One Month of And She Writes
Dear And She Writes Community,
Our online space is in its second month believe it or not, and now feels like a great opportunity to share how And She Writes came to fruition. In some respects it happened quickly, but upon further reflection, it may have been in its early developments for years. But one thing is for certain, we didn’t plan to embark on this journey during a global pandemic!
Next month, it will be 20 years since Fay and I met our freshman year in college. We’re going to take a quick journey down “Memory Lane…” Both with Midwestern upbringings, coincidently, Fay and I met at a large public university in the middle of America, after pledging the same sorority. As pledge sisters, we were in a class with 50 other women, but Fay and I discovered soon after meeting that we had several commonalities in addition to our sorority affiliation. For one, we both planned to study journalism (Fay changed her major later in the year), we both drove manual Honda Civic coupes and struggled with naturally curly hair that we spent hours straightening. Moreover, our parents hailed from the East Coast region -- all four of them having rich accents from their respective areas; and we were attempting long distance relationships with our high school boyfriends into college (spoiler: these men became our husbands). Upon further discussions, we learned that our parents had moved after our high school graduations to another state where we didn’t have any friends, connections or an established life.
With a list like this, how couldn’t we be friends?! Our relationship the next four years flourished. We were roommates in the chapter house, and then roommates our junior and senior years off campus with fellow pledge sisters. We celebrated our 21st birthdays together, which by the way, are just four days apart (but different Zodiac signs). As we worked through our final courses in journalism and creative writing, we carefully edited each other's work, and came to respect our diverging relationships with the Oxford comma (though due to our similar professions, we both now omit). Overachievers by nature, we graduated early and spent our last spring semester enjoying the final months of college life but preparing for our next steps -- one exciting component was Fay helping me plan my wedding.
Fay served as one of my bridesmaids that summer and I reciprocated by serving as her matron of honor three years later. A gifted photographer, Fay captured my oldest two daughters’ first professional photographs after birth, memories that I will treasure forever. And like it was yesterday, I remember texting Fay while she was in labor with her firstborn -- dying to know if it was a boy or a girl.
As you may know from our blog posts, Fay and I love to read and we’ve spent most of our lives, through formal and informal education, on a quest to become better writers and creative thinkers. Life takes all kinds of twists and turns. We’ve gone months, and sometimes a year, without talking on the phone, but when we’ve connected it’s like no time has passed.
"Fay and I love to read and we’ve spent most of our lives, through formal and informal education, on a quest to become better writers and creative thinkers."
This spring we had one of those connections and of course writing and reading were discussed with great enthusiasm. In April, we were to get together for a friend and sorority sister’s baby shower. The location was not where either of us live so we had been planning and looking forward to the weekend. Then the world turned upside down (COVID-19) and our visit and the shower didn’t happen.
The week after when it would have been the shower, I texted Fay to see if she’d want to set up a time to chat on the phone. Later that week we spent close to three hours catching up. We talked about the pandemic, managing our children’s learning, our jobs and higher education (we both work at universities). In the last hour, we discussed our writing aspirations and what we'd been reading. We discovered that in the previous six months we both had ventured into the arena of blogging and creating an online space for working professionals and moms, but had stalled out for whatever reasons. That night we decided, long after our children were fast asleep, that we should combine our efforts and create one online community...and we did!
"That night we decided, long after our children were fast asleep, that we should combine our efforts and create one online community...and we did!"
Between the two of us, we had several weeks of content built and planned. Fay had a solid website and layout established (what I struggled with at the beginning), and I had a name, logo and initial branding developed. Combining our plans was a very smooth process. In less than six weeks we launched And She Writes!
As with any challenge and struggle in life, there is a silver lining if you look for it. When we talked for hours that night, Fay and I were overwhelmed and anxious working moms in the middle of a pandemic trying to manage learning at home and offer stability for our families. Through this experience, we learned that personal connections, support and authenticity are important in surviving and thriving during uncertain times. We needed each other and we knew that we had the opportunity to create a community that can provide this for others.
"Through this experience, we learned that personal connections, support and authenticity are important in surviving and thriving during uncertain times."
And She Writes is committed to providing relatable, fun and thoughtful content. We want this to be as much about our readers and their lives as it is about us sharing our stories, thoughts, recommendations and ideas. Thank you for joining us on this journey and becoming a part of this community!