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May 2020 Community Highlights

Writing Your Life Client Spotlight Lucille Ellson

Lucille Ellson on her 102nd birthday, December 30, 2017. (Jane Pickle) 

Longtime Writing Your Life client Lucille Ellson recently received a surprising phone call. “Little did I know what was going to happen when I answered the phone, and a reporter asked if they could ask a few questions about WWII and how times compared to now.”

A reporter from the Washington Post asked to interview her, given her 102 years of life experience. What he really wanted to know was, “Have you ever seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic?”

Read the article here for Lucille’s centenarian perspective on the pandemic presently gripping the world.

Since the Washington Post article ran in early April,

Lucille has become rather popular. “I have had a very interesting month after my Washington Post article. I have been contacted to make ads, TV interviews, and more.” Lucille’s story even recently graced the front page of the Laurens Sun, her hometown newspaper.

Writing Your Life’s website suddenly received a slew of requests to order a copy of Lucille and husband Floyd’s co-authored book, My First Hundred Years, a project mainly about Floyd, which Lucille finished after Floyd died at 104. Writing Your Life edited and published My First Hundred Years in 2012. At first we could not understand what caused the abrupt interest in a book we published more than eight years ago. Neither coud Lucille imagine why strangers would want to read a book written for family.

Lucille is a humble woman and doesn’t understand all the fuss. “I am not sure I am comfortable with the publicity. I can’t believe what a commotion that simple article caused.”

We get it, though. Lucille’s 102 years’ worth of wisdom and perspective is hard to come by. Hearing that we’ll get through this pandemic just like she and her family survived the 1918 Spanish flu, the Great Depression, the polio epidemic, and WWII gives us hope. We see Lucille’s smile and hear her bright optimism, and we know that somehow, things will work out.

Today, Lucille’s memoir is near the end of the editing process by Writing Your Life. She looks forward to sharing published copies with her family.

IZ - The Saga: CREATION available to the public for free!

“Because of these unprecedented times we’ve decided to make IZ – The Saga: CREATION free,” Sandy Mayton explained to us about the book we edited for her and Duayne Whitehurst.

At the time of completion in 2019, we’d no idea that in a few months the world would be struggling through a pandemic, the subject of our [science fiction] story. In our story, it’s the ABMR virus for which a vaccine must be created.


IZ – The Saga: CREATION is yours to enjoy. Reading through IZ, you’ll find humor, adventure, and scientific ideas interlaced with lively characters. We hope Izzy and friends leave a warm place in your heart.

–Sandy Mayton

Sandy and Duayne, thank you for your incredible generosity in sharing your creative gift with all of us.    It is so appreciated.

Duayne Whitehurst and Sandy Mayton

WYL-themed Art and Cards

Friend of Writing Your Life ,Cheryl Lemine, launched her Etsy shop recently and creates hand-lettered art and cards. Last month, Cheryl mailed me this a custom postcard bearing our company motto, The only way to do this wrong is to not do it at all! What a happy surprise! I love it!

You know you want one, too! Order yours from Cheryl then display this work of art to keep you motivated and writing.

Get Started--Together! Four-Week Online Coaching Program

After so many participants in our Free Seven-Day Writing Challenge expressed a desire to keep the writing momentum going, we pondered the possibility of offering a class.

We didn’t set out to follow the challenge with a program or class. But over and over we heard writers say they didn’t know how to get started or how to take their big story idea and bring it down to size. People longed

for feedback on their writing. They craved accountability and structure.

We knew Writing Your Life had the exact tools and resources to meet these needs, but determining the best format required thinking outside of the box.

Given the persistent shelter-in-place orders, we knew whatever we offered had to be online. We also wanted to hit the main needs: structure, accountability, community, and coaching.

Thus, Get Started—Together! was born. This unique hybrid course combines the ease and flexibility of on-demand video instruction with live, weekly group coaching sessions. The program features an exclusive online forum for participants to interact, share stories, post updates on their work, offer and receive feedback, and ask questions.

As of today, our group of thirteen writers has completed week one of the program, and I could not be prouder of them. They have been fully engaged since day one and have created a powerful and warm community of writers helping writers. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish by the end of our four weeks together.

If the program continues to be a success, we will launch another program using this same format in early summer. Let us know at if you might be interested in participating.

Writing Your Life Connections

Early March found us suddenly at home with empty calendars, riding a rollercoaster of emotions, and Writing Your Life committed itself to help writers find the opportunity in this season of quarantine.

We knew community and connection were particularly critical due to our social isolation. So, we set out to create opportunities for connection as well as encouragement for our community to keep writing in this historic time.

First, we offered Writing in Turbulent Times, a free live video call and Q&A on March 31. Many participants wondered how to write about such a heavy subject as death, quarantine, and the pandemic. Others struggled to write at all, bogged down by anxiety and fear. It was so helpful to see friendly faces and talk about the reality of our situations that night.

Then we kicked off our Free Seven-Day Writing Challenge in April, our most successful writing challenge ever! We had more than 200 participants from all over the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Egypt, and India. Wow! We’re so thankful to all who participated and created such a welcoming online community. We made many new friends and read some incredibly talented work.

Go ahead and get excited because we’re hosting another Free Seven-Day Writing Challenge in September! In some ways, this one will be the similar to previous challenges and very different in others. More details to come.

On April 25, we hosted the online workshop, Spiritual Memoir, for an enthusiastic group of participants. If you missed the class, the replay is available for purchase here, which includes lifetime access and all related handouts.

We love our Writing Your Life community.  It has been an honor to serve you during this difficult time for our country and the world. May you stay healthy and safe in the days ahead.