When I was 8, I wrote a story for my grandfather titled Why Grandpas Are Special. It was about a little girl’s grandfather who bought her a pony (and kept it in his yard, of course, since hers was too small). He laughed and wiped away tears. Having a story created in my imagination received by my ideal audience was thrilling, and that feeling has long stayed with me. I decided then to be A Writer.
Life lead me toward teaching in public education, where of course my favorite subject was writing. Coaching students from 2nd grade through college to generate an idea and see it come alive on the page was exciting. I saw many of them go from deeply doubting their ability to write to seeing themselves as Writers.
Meanwhile, I did everything I could to be a writer except actually writing. I went to workshops, read books, and listened to author interviews, but I struggled to fit writing into my life. I told myself that being a busy teacher and parent meant that I didn’t have time to do this thing I’d always dreamed of doing … being A Writer.
Finally, I realized that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to hold myself accountable. And the only way I was going to do that was to learn how to manage my own crushing self-doubt. Deep down, I doubted my ability to craft a story and the worthiness of my ideas.
I needed to follow the advice I’d been giving my students for years. I needed to learn how to manage my thinking and my expectations. So I did. And the result was the publication of my first book, Unspoken.
I live in Bellingham, WA with my husband, two teenaged kids, two cats, and a new puppy. I love taking walks and taking naps. I enjoy bad jokes and corny humor. When I’m feeling adventurous, I enjoy hiking, paddleboarding, swimming, and basically any other outdoor activity.
Stephanie Dethlefs is a writer and book coach. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and she is the author of the middle-grade novel, Unspoken. She has spent decades working with writers of all ages in the classroom, nonprofit organizations, workshops and more. She lives in Pacific Northwest Washington with her family.