From the Left



We All Deserve Space To Pursue Our Dreams

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp on

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop saved me from making a huge mistake last week. I emailed my editor before I left and told her that I didn't think I'd have time to continue writing this weekly column. I told her I was too busy. I have a full-time job for our local newspaper, where I write and edit columns for the Kentucky community.

I am busy. I do have a lot on my plate. I'm the mother of an 8-year-old, for pity's sake. I took two weeks off, and my editor said to reach back out when I returned. I was one of the conference speakers. (See how busy I am?) When I wasn't presenting, I attended other sessions. It was there that I heard the hard truth I needed.

Author and coach William Kenover said I should disconnect from the world and "close the door." This was the very first session I attended, and I admit I rolled my eyes at the man who clearly doesn't have a child shouting through that door about a Lego he lost under the bed and asking, "Mom, where are my Crocs?" but I wrote Kenover's advice in my notebook anyway as a wish whispered to the universe.

In sessions led by novelist Katrina Kittle and authors Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, I experimented with writing prompts. In as little as six minutes, I wrote rich descriptions simply because they held space for it.

We all have timers on our phones now. Could I possibly incorporate this practice into my daily life somehow? It felt like too much to ask of my bulging calendar. But the answer was yes -- if I really wanted to.

Memoirist and novelist Wade Rouse spoke of getting up at 4 a.m. to write his books when he still had a "day job." Another speaker said she wrote in her car, parked in the garage. I also remembered the image of Erma Bombeck writing with a typewriter placed on the ironing board. Each of these writers made room in their busy lives to write. I also kept hearing Kathy Kinney's voice in my head saying, "All the creativity you need is right above you. All you have to do is grab hold and get out of your own way."

Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of "The Deep End of the Ocean," really hit me over the head with needed advice during her keynote. Nine years ago, she gave up her syndicated column with Tribune because she was "too busy." Mitchard said she now has ideas come to her with no column to publish them in. "It was the worst decision I ever made," she said.


How could I have possibly considered walking away from a dream I'd held so deeply for so long? All of that work, perseverance and due diligence for my own syndicated column, and I almost discarded it.

Besides, Erma Bombeck had kids (three of them!) and she wrote three columns a week. If I can make space for all of the other very important things in my life, I can also make space to hold onto this dream that means so much to me.

When I returned from the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, I talked it over with my incredibly supportive husband. Then, I walked into my bedroom, opened my laptop and closed the door.

What dreams should you be holding space for?

Check out Bonnie's weekly YouTube videos at To find out more about Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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