Pass The Toilet Paper Please: A True Story of A Writing Journey

How Did Your Writing Career Begin?

Have you ever experienced a moment or event in your life that felt like it was meant to be?

As if you were being “guided” in some way, being given a message on how to proceed with your life? Almost as if a light bulb went on that teased “come this way?”

My writing journey began in just this manner. It is a story I call Pass The Toilet Paper Please and is about my encounter with a delightful creature that occurred in a bathroom!   It felt like a magical moment, as if I was somehow being taken by the hand and led down a path. It beckoned, I followed!

I’ll tell my story of how my writing career began and would like to hear how YOUR writing journey started.

The Messenger

While visiting a local bookstore, I needed to use the restroom. Alas, when the fateful moment arrived, I reached for the toilet paper and much to my dismay, empty roll. What’s a girl to do?

I heard someone shuffling next to me and meekly called out “Could you please pass me some toilet paper?” I recall hearing a mumbling of sorts and assumed – silly me – the paper was on its way over.

Moments passed and the shuffling continued. No toilet paper! Someone entered the stall between myself and THE woman. I could have asked the newbie person for some toilet paper, or god forbid I could have dripped dry!

But, no, for some reason, I sat there and decided to persist with THE woman. I remember at the time being puzzled by my tenacity. Why oh why on earth am I being this stubborn?

Upon making the second request, and her realization that the other lady hadn’t passed me any, the toilet paper came my way. Happy, and dry as the midday sun, I trotted out of my stall to encounter a radiant elder African-American woman.

There was Ruth in all her glory! She greeted me with a huge smile and said “Do you write”? I swear they were the first words out of her mouth!

I found this a rather odd introduction, but loved it! After all, it was ever so more interesting than a “How are you today?” greeting. Besides, her presence itself said it all. She was magnificent.

Are You A Writer?

How do you respond when someone asks if you are a writer? What kinds of feelings does it evoke?

While I had written a dissertation, I didn’t consider myself a writer. I informed her that I wasn’t a writer. She immediately responded: “You need to write. You have something unique to offer”.

Unique? My chest swelled slightly. Truth be told, it nearly burst my buttons. I admit it. I like to feel special.

Next, this remarkable being shared parts of her life story with me that revealed tremendous wisdom and insight. We stood in the bathroom talking for at least 30 minutes. She was like a lovely angel and a breath of fresh springtime air rolled into one!

Is It Your Fate To Write?

Her parting words to me were: “You know it’s not an accident we met, don’t you? It’s fate”.

As you might imagine, that got my attention, and I immediately made a decision that indeed I would write. In my mind, I could no more imagine ignoring this encounter than I would consider selling my firstborn – if I had one, that is!

The thing is, I wondered, what can I write about? I didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Within a couple weeks, I experienced another serendipitous encounter that laid in my lap the topic for my first book. And the rest, as they say, is history.

If You Can Put Pen To Paper You Are A Writer

My perspective of writing is different, yet it has spared me a great deal of anxiety. It may decrease your anxiety to consider this approach.

I answer the question of whether I am a writer in the same way I respond to whether I am a dancer. Yes, of course I am a dancer. Silly question. I can move my body. That makes me a dancer, doesn’t it?

Am I a writer? Yes, I put pen to paper. Well, usually fingers to keyboard but you get the drift. The point is, I don’t worry about defining it. I do it!

Who gets to decide if you are a writer? I write because I love what I write about and believe I can contribute to the well-being of my readers.

I don’t waste time comparing myself to others. If you can stop the comparison monster from taking over and focus on the unique contribution you make, life becomes more fun in writer land!

Passion Is Everything

Passion brings your writing to life! It makes the words dance off the page. Write about things that matter to you, preferably as a result of personal life experiences. Share things that help others learn about something or live a more joy-filled life. Remain curious and open. Write your passion!

Your passion is what will unite you with your readers. Passion is where the juice is. Write straight from the heart and those on a similar wave length will find you as if by magic.

How Did Your Journey Begin?

  • How about you? Was there a moment that defined your beginnings as a writer?
  • Do you recall how your writing journey began?
  • Were you inspired by anyone in particular?
  • Do you have a passion for what you are writing about? What is it?
  • Have you had magical or serendipitous moments in your life? If so, how did it change the direction of your life?
  • What unique gift might you have to offer through your writing?

I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Be well. And may your writing enable you to experience the best relationships ever!

About the author:
Read more irresistible posts by Lauren Sierra Thomas, a psychologist, author, and blogger at Best Relationships Ever where she engages in helping people with their relationship to their bodies, their selves, and others.

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71 Responses to “Pass The Toilet Paper Please: A True Story of A Writing Journey”

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  1. What a great story. It’s like a modern day fairy godmother popped in to say, “Be!” And here you are.

    I’m still working on thinking of myself as a writer. I’ve loved to write for years – but there were always others so much better than I was at writing that I assumed THEY were writers, and I was . . . something else. But I do remember the first time someone asked me if I was a writer – and I answered, “Yes.” Up to that point, my answer would always have been “Oh, no, no, I’m just fooling around.” But for some reason that day I said, “Yes.” And that Yes felt so good.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Ami,

      I LOVE that you finally said YES and that it felt great. An empowered moment – and I hope you continue to say yes!

      You ARE a writer and may you have the best time ever writing your passion!

      Best wishes to you in your writing and thanks for sharing your experience.

      Lauren

  2. Daryl Sedore says:

    Writing started for me when I was a 10yo newspaper delivery boy. I wrote my first short story and went on to write consistently since.

    Throughout my life a few people have made my chest swell too. One I’d like to mention here is Mr. Hill, my grade 11 teacher. Near the end of the school year he pulled me aside for a talk. It was about my writing, my voice. He finished our talk by telling me that he was looking forward to the day when he’d walk into a bookstore and see my new hardcover on the front shelf. He said he’d buy it and tell the clerk, “I know this guy. I taught him english.”

    That really did it for me. He had more belief in me than my parents.

    • Lauren says:

      I love your story about your teacher. It is awesome to have someone encourage us, at any time, but especially as a young person.

      How great that you started writing as a boy. You must have a passion for the craft!

      I’ll be looking for your photo on a book jacket!

      Lauren

  3. When I was deciding on a Twitter moniker last summer I came up with idance_iwrite. As time went on, I started taking myself more seriously as a writer, and other people did too! Thanks for your lovely story.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Megan,

      Wow, does your moniker ever fit right in with today’s post – writing and dancing. I love it!

      It’s amazing how when we trust in ourselves others respond.

      Happy writing and dancing!

      Regards,
      Lauren

  4. Aileen says:

    I LOVE this post!
    LOVE your story of fate & serendipity, truly fabulous!
    I began writing in grade school – it was my escape… rather than listing to teachers in class I wrote about my inner world. I still don’t consider myself a writer (not yet) – just one who journals and scratches down poetry on napkins in coffee shops.
    Considering your words, “If You Can Put Pen To Paper You Are A Writer” I may change my view on whether or not I am writer.
    THANK YOU for this post! It’s beautiful and powerful.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Aileen,

      Would that I could have done something so productive when I wasn’t listening to the teacher. Clearly you’ve been at this for some time, which tells me you have a passion for it!

      Glad to hear my post my cause you to re-think the writer part. Why not – just claim it girlfriend.

      Best to you,
      Lauren

  5. Stephanie says:

    This was really inspirational.

    I’m not a writer yet. I’m trying to be. I’m trying to write thoughtful things and as you said, personal experiences. I constantly feel like there’s some level that people need to achieve before they’re at the a “writer” level.

    However, with this post, I may have to reconsider what exactly do I consider a writer. :)

    • Lauren says:

      Good for you Stephanie. I recommend you scratch the word TRY and just tell yourself you ARE a writer – because you are!

      I’m happy to hear you found inspiration from the post. Write on!

      Lauren

  6. Lauren says:

    Dear Ami,

    I LOVE that you finally said YES and that it felt great. An empowered moment – and I hope you continue to say yes!

    You ARE a writer and may you have the best time ever writing your passion!

    Best wishes to you in your writing and thanks for sharing your experience.

    Lauren

    Lauren

  7. GP says:

    Hi Lauren. Great post!

    I had one of those serendipitous moments a few years ago when I went into a local Starbucks.

    It was a typical brisk, but not too brisk, January morning. I was a little groggy from working all night and through the weekend–a bad habit of mine. I had one thing on my mind… you know that thing… most men think about it all the time and most of us gotta have it every day. And, morning time is the best if you know what I mean. I had this really hot grande pike place roast with no room for cream.

    It was good.

    Next thing I know, some lady I used to work with whom I hadn’t seen in a few years starts telling me she’s a writer and needs a website. And I’ll be darned if she didn’t tell me that very story you typed here today. So, I’m wondering, do you know her or something?

    Thanks!

    Greg

    • Lauren says:

      Greg,

      I was laughing most of the way through and then came to the shock of my life – the ending!

      Yes, you do have a bad habit of working through the night and all weekend.

      Wow, you missed your calling. You had me hanging on every word!

      Fondly,
      Lauren

      • GP says:

        Silly me! I just want to clarify one thing: I just realized my comment may have been misunderstood at least and may have implied some sort of twisted innuendo; so, as a normal (although this is up for debate), modern (if you consider 80′s attire to be hip), and hard-working man (hard work is subjective–I do what I love, so I don’t really consider it work–and, I am a man last I checked), I generally and typically, though not always, like most other men–well, maybe not most, but, certainly, a good number–think mostly, but it’s not like I lay awake at night unless, of course, I’m working, or, I’m trying to work but I’m getting sleepy, about my next source of stimulation. Let me be clear…

  8. Thiago says:

    Wanna hear my story? I was reading through my Google Reader updates and clicked on the last Write to Done post. It was a guest post from Lauren Sierra Thomas.

    She told a story so simple, so charming, so full of magic and innocence that it left me no other choice but to believe in myself. Not only writing-wise, but everything.

    One thing in particular really got to me on that little story – the fate deal. I believe in fate. If it’s meant to be, why should I fear failure?

    Thanks a lot for the simple yet awesome words.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Thiago,

      Thank you for your beautiful words to me. It made my day!

      I am so happy to think that it left you no other choice but to believe in yourself. That is the highest compliment and it brings me happiness to think of you believing in you.

      Yes, fate is a fascinating aspect of being in this life, is it not? I believe we co-create and yet there is a mysterious element in life I call Great Mystery and it is a wondrous and magnificent thing.

      May fate bring you tremendous joy and happiness.

      Lauren

  9. Margi says:

    Thank you for this story Lauren.

    For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer, and in fact I do write – a lot – but I have always thought of my self as an information provider, that wrote. Perhaps this is because my ‘writing’ has always been about dense, complicated things, and done for my job, rather than pleasure (even though I love my job as much as anything in my life) Like you, I have conquered the dissertation mountain too, but never thought of this as ‘writing’ – it was ‘research’. Now that I am saying this though, I realize that it is bizarre logic!

    But maybe I am a writer after all – I guess my blog would indicate I am. I just have to work at believing that step, because to me ‘writing’ has been an aspiration or a dream to aspire to – to be able to master the dark art and to be inspiring.

    So, thank you.

    • Lauren says:

      I love this so much – it seems most of what you do is write! Clearly writing is your passion and a huge part of your life.

      How awesome what you say about your profession: “…even though I love my job as much as anything in my life”. That’s as good as it gets!

      And you manage to have a blog too! I can’t wait to look.

      All writing provides information, although the nature of the information varies and we may process it with different sides of our brain.

      As I read what you write I think of an artist of any kind. A true artist MUST be involved in the act of creating their art. It seems that you fit into this category.

      It is a good thing indeed!

      Warm regards,
      Lauren

  10. What a wondefully inspiring story Lauren! I’m a great believer in fate and don’t doubt for a minute the woman who asked if you were a writer was sent specifcally to start you on the journey of calling yourself a writer.
    It is interesting how so many of us writers don’t feel credible enough to call ourselves writers. Even though I’ve written since the time I could hold a pencil, (I was even the “secret” advice columnist for our elementary school newspaper), it wasn’t until about a year ago that I decided to start touting myself as a writer. I could go on and on, but I don’t want my comment to be longer than your post. :) In fact, since I could go on and on, I will most likely post a blog on my fiction site, (profile listed here is my nonfiction), about this subject, and of course link this article to it.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful post, and for reminding us all that we are indeed writers.

    • Lauren says:

      First, I am fascinated by your elementary school writing position. How incredibly fun! I can’t help but wonder whether you still have these writings? If so, I do hope you share them!

      Glad to hear you have now embraced yourself as a writer. Good for you. I look forward to reading your blog post!

      Nice to hear from you and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Lauren

      • In fact I do have those writings from my elementary school position. If I can find them, (amongst many “memory” boxes), I’ll be glad to share them. I’d say there’s bound to be some that are quite funny, considering I was only 8-years-old and doling out advice like I knew it all. :)

  11. Cori Padgett says:

    Great story Lauren. I didn’t start out with any intentions to ‘Be a writer’… but somehow I ended up one! :) It’s funny how the smallest moments in time can make such a huge impact on the direction we take in our lives. Thanks for sharing your own story. :)

    Warm regards,
    C

  12. Lauren says:

    Dear Heidi,

    I love how you took a challenging situation and carved out a great life for yourself. You clearly have passion and is sounds as if you share your passion in your writings. How lovely!

    You seem to really cover the full gamut of what it is to be human and embarking upon this journey we call life.

    I’m a Pa. person myself and you mention the natural world. Pa. has a lot of natural beauty. Glad you are enjoying it.

    Nice to hear from you and thanks for sharing your writing experiences.

    Lauren

  13. Lauren says:

    Dear Corl,

    I know what you mean about intentions. I didn’t start out to collect African art and one day looked around my house and it was filled with it!

    I’m curious, can you remember a small moment that made an impact on the direction of your life or how you did become a writer?

    Nice to hear from you. I’d love to hear more.

    Be well and warmest regards,
    Lauren

    • Cori Padgett says:

      Hey Lauren! Well originally I started out going to school for Paramedic, and then did a complete 180 into music and sound. I ended up getting into Internet marketing as a way to make extra income while in school, and found out I had a knack for writing, and that I really enjoyed it.

      Long story short, I ended up dropping my classes due to circumstances, and pursuing freelance writing full-time. It just sort of snowballed as I went! :)

      Now I couldn’t imagine not making my living with writing. It’s helped me to create a freelance business that allows me to support my family and have more free time than I ever did at my old job and going to school full time.

      Warm regards,
      C

      • Lauren says:

        Dear Cori,

        Isn’t it amazing the was “circumstances” steer us in the best direction sometimes. When I hear snowballed I think…on the right track! I love the feeling of all the “doors” opening when we are in the zone.

        It’s great to hear that you are doing what you love and have the freedom with your time and the ability to support your family.

        My heart is happy for you. And thanks for coming back and letting me have more of your great story!

        Warmest wishes,
        Lauren

  14. I remembered in high school when a friend complimented me about being very good at Math but terrible in English. It was during that time that my journey learning my second language, English, began. I didn’t have problems with English and speaking it. It was about grammar and subject-verb agreement, correct prepositions and stuffs. I learned to balance my curricular proficiencies by knowing English communication skills, oral and written. But prior to that, I already had a thing for writing prose and poetry.

    I am not a journalism graduate and wasn’t considering myself a writer until I was hired as a content writer. It was then that the word “writer” started to stick on me like an adhesive. And with that, I have become prouder of myself. But I have to admit that there are many others who are better than me in this craft. I sometimes see myself as an amateur writer but I am working on becoming professional on this craft, my passion.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Bjornson,

      I smiled when I read about your challenges with “grammar and subject-verb agreement, correct prepositions…”

      Heck, I still don’t get it. Mr. Bucher, my fascinating and eccentric high school English teacher, loved to call people to the blackboard to make them diagram sentences. I would attempt to make myself as inconspicuous as possible. Why? Because I had NO clue! And, English is my first language!

      So, good for you for pressing forward and becoming a writer. I love your comment that the word “writer” began to stick on you like adhesive. Very sweet indeed!

      You know, no matter what we do there are always going to be those who are better but no worries. It makes no difference whatsoever.

      Joy is at our fingertips when we begin to release comparisons and can simply embrace our UNIQUENESS because there is no other you anywhere in the universe.

      I sense you have tremendous determination so I have no doubt you will continue to expand and travel to wonderful places.

      Best of everything to you on your journey!
      Lauren

  15. I am sorry for putting my story first before thanking you for imparting your well-written story. I am so impressed and so engrossed by it that I had to read it from the first word to the last without taking a breaking and peaking on a loaded tab on my Chrome.

  16. Lauren says:

    I love that you told your story first. It simply says that you have great passion for what you do!

    And thank you for your very kind words regarding my story. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

  17. Caitriona says:

    First I’d like to say that I was on yesterday and wanted to leave a comment but found it difficult to find how I responded. Anyway, eventually I did, but perhaps that button could jump out a littl more.
    I am not a writer, but I found recently myself sitting down at my computer and starting to write. In a couple of days I wrote 14 or so pages. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but it was to me. It just started flowing, coming into my head, to my fingers and onto the screen. I have tried over time to write and never gotten past a page or two, so when something is meant to be or ready to it will. I think we can all have the writer in us. If we live life, we have experiences, experiences lead to stories which in one way or another we can express. We all love a story, a message, a thought. Writing is an easy way to express oneself fully. No interuptions, afterthoughts can be put in, and when we really have something to say and can capture an audience with it, then yes, we should follow that lead and sometimes it takes an experience like yours to turn us in the right direction. Your story is great, your advice and thoughts are wonderful, thank you for sharing.
    Caitriona

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Catriona,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I love it!

      It is so true that we all have life experiences which provides stories. I used to love to sit with my dad on his back porch in Costa Rica and listen to his life stories!

      Stories are such a great way to share. They resonate with something deep inside – the thread of life I suppose. You describe that very well.

      It’s great that the words poured out for you. I would love to know how your writing continues to evolve. Hope you have great fun with it!

      Warm regards,
      Lauren

  18. Lois says:

    Sometimes it can be a challenge to recognize fateful moments, and they pass,unnoticed. You knew it and felt it in the moment it happened, Lauren, and the rest was history! Thanks for a great story, and congratulations on becoming a writer…and a dancer!

    love.

  19. Lauren says:

    Dear Lois,

    Thanks for stopping by to visit. I find great comfort in these moments in life. It is great to have a sense of direction and inspiration.

    Your congratulations is appreciated – and I will continue to turn on i-tunes on my laptop and get up and dance every couple hours for my “break”, engaging in my other occupation! I think I feel hula hooping coming on! ;-)

  20. Len says:

    Hi Lauren,

    What a fascinating story! I’m so glad you had that encounter because not only are you a great writer but you also have a gift for storytelling and sharing your life experiences in a way that provides great value for your readers.

    “I answer the question of whether I am a writer in the same way I respond to whether I am a dancer. Yes, of course I am a dancer. Silly question. I can move my body. That makes me a dancer, doesn’t it?”

    I love this analogy. It instantly gave me a new point of reference by which I can begin to see myself as a writer.

    Thanks again for sharing this inspirational story!

    Best,
    Len

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Len,

      I am so pleased that you enjoyed the story and that you found it inspiring. I love when we can own and embrace the creative within us and share it with others.

      Best wishes to your writer self and thanks for visiting!

      Lauren

  21. Hi Lauren,

    First off, thanks for the great share! :)

    To come to my story, well, it happened some time back when I was to move between countries. Actually, I was to migrate to a new land to join my beau and had quit my then-job in software. Somehow, I always knew that I was meant to do something creative. I fought with a part of my mind, told it to behave, rationalized and what not! After all, I was a Bachelor of Engineering from one of the ivy league colleges in my then-country, who had then happened to go forward with doing a Master’s course in Marketing. But writing? Not anywhere in my resume.

    However, after quitting the job, I realized I had a great chance to try a figure out what this whole writer-business has got to do with me, and I hopped right on that wagon. I started the journey with a little bit of balancing but a happy attitude overall, and I am grateful to myself about it! I love each piece of my life after being able to call myself a “writer” when socializing with my beau’s friends in the new place. And I feel awesome. I am still on the way to create the best stuff, but at least I’ve started the travel! ;)

    Best,
    BrownEyed

    • Lauren says:

      I love your story – what an adventurer you are! Venturing to a new land for a beau (that in itself is awesome and enough to bring fear and trembling to many a faint heart!), quitting a job, and changing careers.

      Awesome that you glided right into the “writers” slot and how good to hear you are enjoying socializing with your beau’s friends, whom I suspect have quickly become your friends as well.

      It’s great to hear your enthusiasm for what is yet to come, as well as your “and I feel awesome”. Good for you! Happy to hear it all worked out so well.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your journey. A journey that may inspire others to take a risk.

      Warm regards,
      Lauren

  22. Heather Greenwald says:

    Lauren,

    Am I the only one still wondering about the lady in the other stall? Could she not spare a square? Was she hearing impaired? Did she only speak a rare dialect from a far off land?

    I am not sure if you waited for her to emerge from her stall to catch a glimpse of the answer…although perhaps I am painfully off the point of your message, I mention it to highlight that whatever the reason she didnt answer your request, you Lauren, kept asking.

    Maybe that is why this elder sage of the WC knew you had a rare perspective. Maybe this is how she knew you had something so worthy within. You kept asking for what you needed. That indeed is rare. You are rare. So glad you posted here.

  23. Lauren says:

    Dear Heather,

    I was smiling as I read your post. I’ve often wondered what all the shuffling around “next door” was about. Perhaps she had a pen and toilet paper over there that she was using to create a masterpiece.

    Or maybe she was dreaming while awake, in the best of ways.

    In any event, I’m glad I persisted. It was probably a combination of an inner knowing and my proverbial stubbornness, or shall I say tenacity? ;-)

    Thanks for your visit, Heather, and for posing the question we have been mulling over ourselves!

    I hope you’re writing!

  24. Mitch Nicholson says:

    Dear Lauren,

  25. Mitch Nicholson says:

    Dear Lauren,

    The concept of writing for a living is, in my family, an excuse not to have a job. Coming from a long line of blue-collar, calloused hand laborers, anything that didn’t involve picking up a wrench was taboo, and simply not an acceptable living, but, as an ambitious 20 year old college student, I am breaking the trend.

    A few nights ago, after pouring over some of my high school, and community college term papers, I came to a sudden realization that I can write well. I can write very well. I struggled in high school and for most of college, and I frankly, much to the dismay of my parents, had no idea what I was going to do with my life. That all has changed recently. I have started writing! I sadly didn’t have the magical moment in a bathroom stall, but I still do feel as though I have made the conscious decision to become a writer and to be successful doing it. Currently, I am finishing up my two-year degree at a local community college and am transferring to a private college in the fall where I will be majoring in English, with the hopes of building up a resume and just good old fashioned experience.

    Some people aspire to become rich and successful, others want to just scrape by, but I want to produce creative work that will touch the lives of my readers. Being able to say that I made a noticeable splash in the vast ocean that is creative writing would be my crowning achievement and I could die happy.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Mitch,

      Your words were like music to my ears. How very awesome!

      It seems you did something perhaps more magical than meet your message in a bathroom stall. You overcame a prejudice (I use the word kindly) in your family and discovered YOUR dream!

      I admire greatly any of us willing to follow our own path and love that you have chosen to move forward with it. Your passion jumps off the page at me!

      I wish you all the best in tons and would love to know your creative works as they evolve. I’m imagining they will be quite a contribution.

      Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with me and others.

      Warmest wishes,
      Lauren

  26. Bea says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Great story! My husband keeps telling me I should start a blog because he thinks I can write. I never considered myself a writer but your story inspired me to try.

    Thanks for your insight and keep sharing your stories!

    Bea

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Bea,

      A blog can be great fun, especially if you like to interact with others. It also helps tremendously to have a topic you have a passion for, as well as an area that is of interest to others.

      I’m glad to hear my story was inspirational for you. Best wishes on your writing experiment.

      Regards,
      Lauren

  27. Lisa Stevenson says:

    Lauren,

    I loved your post. You were inspired to a writing journey and follow your passion by a women that dictated whether you drip dried or got off the sally with a dry happy place. Not the point I suppose, but perhaps I should point out that some people might think, “that’s a strange thing to say” perhaps others might throw the empty roll to indicate ones desperation, and others are inclined to feel a momentous moment. (even in a bathroom) I choose the later of the three as well. To stay connected to your experience and those around us. Writing can be a beautiful place that we connect through our experiences. Shared stories that enable us to relate to human emotions and the quest for personal growth through others experience. Bravo!!! Reminds me of a quote from one of my fav’s….

    There is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Rumi

    So lets read about it :) Lisa

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Lisa,

      Ha – I’m glad someone finally mentioned the unmentionable! ;-)

      Yes, a momentous moment was at hand – or within toilet paper’s reach you might say. Really I can be incredibly tenacious. Yet, I do feel something in me sensed what I was still to discover.

      I love what you say about how we connect with others through our experiences. Shared stories are indeed a magical landing place that binds us together in a shared humanity.

      This is one of my favorite Rumi poems as well! Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing your insights and the poem.

      Warm regards,
      Lauren

  28. George Venios says:

    Lauren,
    Loved your article and I bought your book, congratulations!
    I first discovered my writing abilities during my first year in college, WACC. My English Comp Proff was Dr. Peter Dumanis. Although I was an engineering major, I enjoyed writing and he helped me develop my skills. After graduating, my carrer required a lot of technical/project writing.

    Many years later, I was given the book, The Front Porch, a novel/auto biography by Frank Krause who wrote about growing up in our hometown. Although a different generation, I related to his stories about the town I’ve always been so proud of. I self-published Chronicles and Legends of Milton, basically the history of our hometown. However, it started out as a project like Krause’s, but I grossly lacked the ability to write in first person. Too many years of technical writing explains the unintended outcome, although a major success. So, my dear friend Lauren, let’s say it’s Divine Intervention, you have inspired me to get back to writing about my generation………or should I say “our” generation.

  29. Lauren says:

    What a great story. Inspiration is always a good thing. I love the idea of personal stories of people’s lives that weave a “picture” of a town.

    Your writing must have been quite acceptable if your books were successful. Congratulations to you!

    Thanks for visiting and may you have more wonderful writing experiences.

    Lauren

  30. Deb says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I just ran across your post while doing a little searching around Zen Habits this morning. I enjoyed your story and more importantly, your message. I remember back in junior high and school enjoying my composition/writing classes and my teachers telling me that I had a knack (I hesitate to say gift) for it. I liked to write and felt that one day I probably would, though what or what genre I had no clue. As my years have passed I have felt more and more like I had a story to share. Just the story of an average woman getting through life. Now that I have reached my middle years, that desire or need to share is really starting to burst. I started with journaling a few years ago and have been dabbling in free verse along the way. I have finally become brave enough to start sharing, though anonymously, through a blog. Whether or not anyone will ever read it, I don’t know. But it feels good and when I reread what I have written I am generally happy with it. Could I ever make a living writing, hard to say but for now I do it for me and for anyone who might happen to stumble upon my words in cyberspace. So thank you for the positive reinforcement, I’m keeping your words with me.
    Deb

  31. Lauren says:

    Dear Deb,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story. You have been a writer from the beginning, it seems.

    Your theme of middle age and “the story of an average woman getting through life” is universal and I can envision a tremendous audience for this.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read Anne Tyler. I love how she approaches “ordinary people” and creates an engaging, awesome, experience for her readers.

    I hope you “come out” sometime soon and that I can find you when you do – being the middle-aged woman that I am. ;-)

    Happy writing!
    Lauren

  32. Stefanie says:

    Lauren, What a delightful, lighthearted & fun style of writing you have.
    I truly enjoyed how you painted quite a comical scene with your whimsical & creative wording. Thank you, also, for the inspirational message within your story to go for it, attempt to write (or whatever else we might be pondering). My own writing over the years has been limited, an avid letter writer keeping in contact with friends & relatives (hence, my screen name ldyrtr = lady writer). Stefanie

  33. Lauren says:

    Dear Stefanie,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the story and that it felt inspiring. I assume you must have liked the toilet scene! ;-)

    You must love writing as evidenced by your screen name. I imagine your friends and relatives are beneficiaries of lovely musings.

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your comments.

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

  34. Julie says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Stefanie asked me to read what you had written. I enjoyed the picture you painted and recall the same circumstance myself. Now I make sure I have TP in the stall before I take a seat.

    I guess I have done writing off and on for many years. In grade school I had a little joke column in our newsletter called “Julie’s Jolly Jokes”. Too funny to think of that corny title now. Then when I first started working I did monthly news for our department for the hospital newsletter called the “Stethoscope”. A little more sophisticated.

    My first published works was in the local newspaper. A story about what kinds of people buy tickets at the local fair. I got off work and wrote the entire article and submitted it to the newspaper. They changed only 1 word. This was icing on the cake.

    My latest works were on a thread on the internet. As I took a break outside at work, I talked to people waiting for someone in the emergency room at the hospital. Some things were heartbreaking and some were minor issues. I realized that my problems seemed so small to others who had battled many health issues or that of a loved one.

    Thank you for penning a story that is simple yet shows the connection of the human spirits and what they can do in just a chance meeting. Or was it just chance? I can see why it took so long to get the job I really wanted now. All of the other jobs moved off campus or were elimated. You too will find a story in just about anything around you. If you seek to be published and it doesn’t happen right away, then more polish is needed or a different subject or just someone who sees the same vision that you have.

    We are all writers, some better than others, even the ones who can’t spell. Because it is not in the correctness of the English we have but what ones holds in their heart who makes it what it is.

    The bloopers in life are almost better than the real thing. I have been given the gift to talk to anyone, known or a stranger, just like my Mother. It is talking that is really the unwritten word. So if you write, it turns talking into something more tangible and preserves what has been said or thought about. “There is a little bit of magic in each of us”.–Julie Conway

    The best of luck in whatever you write about and keeping writing. If the passion is there it doesn’t matter if it gets read. It just matters that it meant something to you.

    Sincerely,
    Julie

  35. Lauren says:

    Dear Julie,

    Thanks for your lovely words. I especially love what you said about stories being all around us and it is what’s in the heart.

    It sounds as if you’ve had quite a history of writing. How sweet that you wrote a joke column in grade school.

    Your point about talking being the unwritten word was great and there is something wonderful about putting those words to paper, preserved and there for others to enjoy.

    Nice to have your visit.

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

  36. Nala says:

    I loved your column. You draw people out by asking a question that makes everyone reflect on their own beginning as a writer. Hope you write again here. Also loved the title, very eye catching.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Nala,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I must say I enjoy the title myself.

      Nice to have you visit and thanks for the encouraging words.

      Warm Regards,
      Lauren

  37. Leslie says:

    Lauren,

    I began writing when I was a columnist for a small community paper at a nudist trailer park of all places. No not really, but that would have been a good story; almost as colorful as yours. Loved your post. Great spirit in it. Writing is such a wonderful form of expression. So many paths have lead us all to the same love. It was wonderful to read everyone’s stories.

  38. Lauren says:

    Dear Leslie,

    Wow, Leslie, you really had me hanging on your words there…a nudist trailer park! Do tell! It was hilarious. I love your writing!

    I like what you say – we take many paths yet the lead us to the same love. Well said.

    It has been wonderful reading the stories of the guests – very heartening.

    Thanks for visiting and for your entertaining and thought-provoking comments.

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

  39. Nancy says:

    As a 9-year-old, I began to write my angst-ridden thoughts down, giving pen to paper. These were my innermost yearnings, and I never imagined that these trite musings would ever become worth sharing. I still struggle with sharing what I have to say. I love that you free others to share whatever is in their hearts and minds. Thank you.

  40. Lauren says:

    Dear Nancy,

    How remarkable that your soul was stirred and you began writing at such a tender age. I can’t help but imagine your thoughts and words would be well-received and of benefit.

    How lovely to hear that my words might free others to share what’s in their hearts and minds. I hope YOU do!

    Warmest regards,
    Lauren

  41. Lindsay Fey says:

    I have been reading this website for awhile and have never commented. I want to be a writer and find great support in the information provided on this site. I have read replies each day on this post in particular because it is about the mindset you need before you write. The idea that I am a writer. I have been trying to work up the courage to write my own response. But I am not a writer, I thought. I am a reader of other people’s words. I want to be a writer. You told me I am one, because I want to be. I am a writer because I write, even if until today, I was the only one reading what I wrote. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for the affirmation. The world needs more of this today more than ever.

    • Lauren says:

      Dear Lindsay Fey,

      I’m so glad you wrote and that you’re focusing on your desire – and as you say, you DO write. And in my opinion that DOES make you a writer.

      Of course we want to learn and expand our craft, do the best we can. Yet, it is a helpful starting point, to build confidence in yourself. You are a writer because you write. Start there. It is enough.

      Clearly it is important to you because here you are. I applaud you for writing. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. You’ve made a great start by coming here.

      I wish you the best. Let us know how it goes! You can do this.

      Warm regards,
      Lauren

  42. Travis Bolley says:

    Thank you for your encouragement. I read what you write to others, and the way you encourage others to keep going is great. I always felt I was a writer, even though I never showed my writing to anyone. I find that as I stay with it over time, I am developing the confidence to start sharing it with others. Thank you for putting it out there that if you write, you’re a writer.

  43. Lauren says:

    Dear Travis,

    I’m glad to hear you feel encouraged in your writing. It might be fun to join a writing group where you can share your writing with others.

    It’s great you’re staying with it. Write on!

    Regards,
    Lauren

  44. Sarah Beeckman says:

    Lauren, I loved the uniqueness of your story. It is not everyday that someone’s life changes in a bathroom for the better. I have also had moments in life when someone changed the course of my life. None of my moments occurred in a bathroom, but who knows, I am still young, it could happen. I am writing to say, “well done”. You have become the lady in the next stall for others through your blog. You said, “the lady in the bathroom was like a lovely angel and a breath of fresh springtime air rolled into one!” You were the angel for Lindsay and others. What a mitzvha. Writing has enriched my life. I write everyday, sometimes for others, sometimes for myself, sometimes for free and sometimes to make money. I have loved it all. Keep writing everyone, well done.

  45. Lauren says:

    Dear Sarah,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story. It was a great moment in my life.

    How lovely that you’ve enjoyed writing on so many levels and that you love it.

    Thanks for writing and for encouraging everyone.

    Warm regards,
    Lauren

  46. Katie says:

    Lauren,

    While I don’t consider myself a writer, I do consider myself a wonderful reader and find myself captivated by the words of others. To me this is just as important. I am always told that I am great writer, but I never really think so. I guess its time to examine my own writing (which is mostly college papers right now) in the ways that others do. My cousin and I have recently decided to write a book about our family, so now is my chance to become inspirational instead of just inspired!

    Thank you for this wonderful story, it makes me smile to know that the world is as unpredictable and amazing as I always hope it is!

    Best,
    Katie

  47. Lauren says:

    Dear Katie,

    How cool that you and your cousin are going to write a book about your family! You must have a great family. What an awesome project it will be. Good for you!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story and I take as much pleasure as you in the unpredictability and wonderment of life and how it all evolves! It is magnificent is it not?

    Thanks for visiting and best of everything to you with your writing!

    Warm regards,
    Lauren