From Pain Comes a Gift

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Molly Shalz of A Day in Mollywood

Molly Shalz is a working mama to two beautiful and sweet boys, four-years-old and 2 1/2. They certainly keep her on her toes! Molly began blogging in December 2006 when she realized how much she missed writing. An online journal seemed like a convenient space to do just that. Over the span of five years, Molly’s blog has gained a loyal following. She was a nominee in The Bump’s Best Working Mom Blogs of 2009. Her writing also earned her a coveted 2011 BlogHer Voice of the Year award. She continues to build her presence by writing passionately about her journey through motherhood as well as her ongoing battle with depression. She is also working on her first novel.

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The lamp on a desk made for a child was dimly lit as I picked up a pencil in my shaking hand. I didn’t know what was to come. All I knew was that I had to write. I was six-years-old.

My grandmother had just died of breast cancer and I tried to make sense of something that could never make sense to someone in kindergarten. My only thought was that she used to be around and now she wasn’t. My heart was broken.

I grew up with my dad telling us stories every night at bedtime. I wanted to be like him too. I wanted to tell stories to people.

So I sat down one night when I should’ve been playing with dolls and I wrote. Painstakingly thinking of words that would describe my sadness and confusion.

I believe that is when my love of writing was born. Out of tragedy came a precious gift. One that would prove life-saving later on in my life.

I continued to excel in English classes and couldn’t wait to write each night. I loved it. I soon discovered that poetry was an outlet for me. It was like a dance with my pencil. Writing and twirling, writing and twirling. I disappeared into the paper on which I wrote. Nothing else mattered in that moment. Turns out I would need that escape later.

When I was 16 I had my first bout with severe depression. One of the only things that gave me hope and solace was writing poetry. I scribbled poem after poem by candlelight in my bedroom. Filling up journals that I hid under my bed. At first I shared them with no one.

But then I started to come out of my writing shell, participating in and winning poetry contests at school. I was lucky to always have inspiring teachers who encouraged me to keep writing. They often told me I had a gift and that someday I should write a novel. My heart leapt when they said that. It was a dream from the time I was a child. To write and publish a novel.

In college I chose to major in journalism. I wanted to be a writer. I was once again blessed with amazing teachers who believed in my writing skills. I will never forget when my creative writing teacher told me that she believed I was a true writer and that she knew someday I would publish a novel. I’ve never forgotten her kind words.

Eleven years later, my career does not include writing. But it’s just my full-time job. Six years ago I was blessed with something called a blog. The idea of starting a blog came to me as a way to continue my writing hobby. I started it because I missed writing, spilling my guts onto a piece of paper. So my personal blog began. Because of it I have found so much encouragement. Readers comment that they would, in fact, read my novel if I ever published one.

And so, last year at this time I finally began crafting my first novel. It has been a slow process. With two kids to raise and a full-time job it hasn’t been easy to find the time (or energy) to draft a novel. But that dream I had when I was a six-year-old? It still exists deep within my soul. I know I’ll finish it one day and even if it is never published, it will be a writer’s dream come true.


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  • Alison

    It’s wonderful to pursue a dream, Molly. So glad you’re able to do so. Good luck with the novel!

    • molly

      Thank you, Alison. Your support means a lot!

  • Azara

    So much of this was my own experience. I wish I had known at a younger age how many others shared my struggles, to ease the feeling of isolation. Thank you for sharing this – I stopped by your blog to sign up for more.

    • molly

      Thank you for subscribing to my blog. It means a lot!

  • Nicole Morgan

    We should all have dreams … and chasing yours is just what you should do …

    • molly

      Thanks, Nicole. I’m glad you see it that way :)

  • Deborah Cruz

    Seems all of us writers start young. I think we are born to process our emotions this way, we writers I mean. I love that you have never given up on your dream. I have a similar dream and life got in the way for a lot of years but NOW after a long time of being on the backburner, I’ve decided to make my dream come true. You can too. I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you and I think I ‘ll start following you on Twitter and FB as well because anyone who is a friend of Erin’s has got to be good people.

    • molly

      Thank you for the follows! I’m glad you’ve decided to make your dream come true. The hard work is worth it!

  • Kelly loss

    Molly – I love how you share your blogging journey – it gives lots of inspiration to all of us newbie bloggers. :)

    • molly

      Well, I was once a newbie as well :) Just keep going. Keep writing. It’s worth it!

  • Christie

    What an inspiring journey. I didn’t start writing until later in life and I often wish I had the foundational background that you have. Best of luck with the novel!

    • molly

      But at least you found that outlet now! It’s wonderful for the soul.

  • PamelaFaganHutchins

    Good luck on your writing journey

    • molly

      Thank you for your support!

  • heidi

    I can relate to that need to write. It was a great way to sort my thoughts and clear my mind.

    The dreams that won’t let you go are the ones you have to follow. Listen to that voice inside you and keep going. I wish you the very best on your writing journey.

    • molly

      Yes, it totally clears my mind. Makes it easier to think and helps me sort through the tough stuff.

  • Elena Sonnino

    What an incredibly powerful story about your journey! It is always fascinating for me to read the little or big moments that inspire such beautiful voices! Thank you for sharing your gift.

    • molly

      Thank you, Elena! I’m glad I shared my journey. I hope it inspires someone else!

  • Michelle Longo

    I think it’s wonderful that you found an outlet! Good luck with your novel!

    • molly

      Thank you! I need all the luck I can get :)