Sabbatical, Motherhood, and the Writer’s Life

Hey Blogsphere:

I’m writing from the world of Sabbatical, or more formally, Maternity Leave. During my time away from teaching, I’ve been living the life of a writer without a day job. Sometimes it feels that going to medical appointments is also a part-time job. Between writing, going to these appointments, and preparing for baby Joey to arrive, I’m keeping plenty busy and truly enjoying my life. I realize that this opportunity and space to write is a gift and one that I refuse to squander. I know once the baby arrives, I will have much less focused time to write. I will call myself a mom first and a writer second.

To keep me on pace with writing, I’m enrolled in the Intermediate/Advanced Personal Essay Workshop at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The class is taught by author, Kathryn Eastburn. Since the class began, I’ve workshopped an almost-done draft of an essay and sent it off to some literary magazines for consideration. I’ve read more than two dozen personal essays as mentor texts, and written thousands of words. This is my most consistent and successful stint as a “real” writer. Being a teacher has often required me to be more of a binge writer. I admit that I like this slow and steady pace of reading and writing every morning.

As part of my self-education on the essay, I’ve started tweeting an EOD (Essay of the Day) each morning. If you know anything about Crossfit, then you’ll know that every gym has a WOD (Workout of the Day) that they share with their members. I decided to borrow this idea and highlight a part of my daily reading workout and share it with others. I’m trying to read essayists who are well-known masters, like David Foster Wallace, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Phillip Lopate, but I’m also exploring essays by less-known authors who have been published recently in literary journals that I admire (The Normal School, South Loop Review, The Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, etc). These are all top-tier magazines, in my opinion. The goal is to gain a great deal of insight into the essay form. Second to that, reading them will help me understand when/if I’m ready to submit my own work to these high places. It’s my way of heeding the advice of anyone who’s ever published anything–read the publication before you submit there so you don’t waste your time and theirs.

You can find my EOD tweets @Npiasecki on (

I’ll also be tweeting about publication over there. My friend, Amy, shared this list of literary magazines and awards with upcoming deadlines.

In other news, I just received a beautiful hard copy of Gertrude, Issue 20, where my essay “Out on the Ice” is forthcoming. The official release is September 27th. The reward of seeing my personal narrative in print validates all of the quiet days in my office typing and backspacing and typing again. I feel inspired and humbled.

All my best,


About npiasecki

Instructor of Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado Denver, specializing in 21st century skills, research, and creative nonfiction. Director of the Denver Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project's professional network for K through College educators.
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2 Responses to Sabbatical, Motherhood, and the Writer’s Life

  1. Ashlee says:

    Congratulations on the coming baby – how exciting! (And on the published essay, too. Also exciting 🙂 )

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