On Writing

Whatever You Really Want To Do…Do It Now!

Wendy Cohan
4 min readSep 1


Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

As soon as I learned to hold a pencil properly, I began writing stories. I was serious about it. In the fourth grade, I even organized my first writing group — everyone was required to write horse stories. I wrote through junior high and high school, wrote for the paper and the yearbook, and in my senior year, I wrote my first work of fiction, by hand. The only person who read it said it was derivative and formulaic. Hey, I was seventeen!

I chronicled my journeys in my twenties, wrote the beginnings of short stories, and even wrote poetry. But did I ever seriously consider the possibility that I could become a writer? No — that was pie-in-the-sky thinking. I studied science, then segued into nursing, where I wrote incredibly detailed care plans.

Two decades later, I wrote a self-published health guide, and then two fairly successful health books, which the “RN” after my name no doubt helped sell. Over the next decade, I wrote a ton of poetry, a never-to-be-seen chronicle of the ending of my marriage, and a handful of short stories, just for fun. You see, in the absence of my naysayer-in-chief, the creative voice inside me was growing

Finally divorced, but still fairly unhappy with my life’s trajectory, I finally “allowed” myself to study creative writing. I actually signed up for a fiction writing class (but my real intent was to workshop my memoir.) On a whim, I wrote several more short stories and even shopped them around, but, alas, they found no takers.

I had more success placing empowering personal essays in magazines for women over fifty. That was fun, for a while. Finally, at the age of 61, I considered the possibility that just maybe I could write fiction.

Why on God’s green earth did it take me so freaking long? Because writing fiction was the single thing I wanted most — and therefore, it was out of my reach. Until it wasn’t…

There’s a lesson here: it’s important to allow yourself to go after the things you want in your life. You don’t have to earn them through a lifetime of striving to be the best nurse/wife/mother you can be. You can just go after those things you really want, because it’s your right to create a life that makes you happy. And the people in your life who…



Wendy Cohan

Author of character-driven women's fiction, short stories, and essays. Her contemporary romance, The Renaissance Sisters, debuted May 23, 2023.