A Blog for Writers: Women and Adversity: Charlene Pollano
Charlene Pollano is a freelance writer and editor, coordinates the Wilmington chapter of North Carolina Writers’ Network and moderates Writers Block Party in Wilmington, N.C. She is co-author of “A Group of One’s Own: Nurturing the Woman Writer.”
The book inspires women to follow their dreams to become a published writer and is replete with personal stories. She is also co-author of “interlude,” [sic] a collection of stories, poems and other works by members of the Sea Quills, a writers’ group she founded in Wilmington. Her short stories and personal essays are published in literary journals, most recently in the Editor’s Choice edition of “Prime Number: A Journal of Distinctive Poetry & Prose.”
When asked what the biggest obstacle she had to face when she decided to be a writer, she said:
Charlene: Finding the time to do so. I had three children, a husband and a full-time career as a high school counselor. The balancing act was difficult, to say the least. I became adept at sitting down whenever I could and learning to get “in the zone” rather than wait for the muse to visit me. I began by signing up for a Creative Writing Workshop offered by a local published author. I met several women in similar circumstances. When the published author moved after several years, we banded together and formed my first writing group, the Southern New Hampshire Women’s Writing Group (SNHWWG). These women helped me commit to my writing simply by being there. By joining a writing group, I was publicly saying that I was a writer and that it was important to me. They helped me carve out the time to devote to writing and to living a writing life. And, of course, my wonderfully supportive husband provided much-needed time for me to devote to writing.
2) What was the biggest obstacle she had to face when she and her co-authors decided to publish “A Group of One’s Own”?
Charlene: After five years of being together, the SNHWWG decided we had developed a system that worked for us. We had all become published authors. We began work on a book proposal and sent it off to 22 publishers. Story Line Press contacted us and offered us a contract. Now we had to write the book! All of us were career professionals, wives and mothers. How would we find the time? Well, we did! Between night meetings and weekend retreats, we wrote our hearts out. A year later “A Group of One’s Own: Nurturing the Woman Writer” was published. Then, the problem became how to find time to promote and market our book. We traveled all over New England for six months, doing readings and workshops on how to start a writing group. Not all five of us were able to attend each event, but we managed to cover them, even if there were only two of us. And we were all working full-time and raising families. One of the women even delivered her first baby during this time! My point is that if you really want to write, and if you have a good support system of some kind, it’s possible! You need to begin by saying “I am a writer.”
3) What is the biggest obstacle she faces now?
Charlene: Now I am retired from the counseling profession, my children are grown and married, and I don’t have to share my writing time with another career. After fourteen years with the SNHWWG, I moved to North Carolina and started another writing group, the Sea Quills. I am a true believer in the power of like-minded writers to support me in my writing endeavors as I would support them. The Sea Quills recently published “interlude,” a chapbook of members’ writing. I would have to say that there are no major obstacles I must overcome in this stage of my writing life, but I am grateful that I know how difficult it can be as well as how rewarding!
Both books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and goodreads.com. Charlene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook at Charlenepollano.