with author, BARBARA STUDHAM

Barbara Studham. author

Whenever a writer explains why they write, they invariably include the phrase “from a very young age, I wanted to write…”, thereby, leading us to understand that writing is a gift from birth, albeit often one that surfaces in later years. Although the list of writing genres is endless, for example, novelist, poet, short story writer, newspaper journalist, etc., writing is writing and a passion in most authors’ lives, but if the passion is with us from birth, by what is it aroused?

In my case, stress continually compels me to write. During my childhood, letting off steam meant putting pencil to paper. Creating an imaginary world allowed me to escape the real world and its pain. I’m sure if I went back in time and read some of my childish works, I would laugh, but at the time I cherished the reclusive life I discovered in writing and shared it with no one.

Later, as an adult dealing with stress, my fictional characters often conveyed my innermost thoughts at the time. To discover how, read the following description of my book: The Look of a Twelve-Year-Old:

From seemingly innocent youngster to evil conniver, Claire Peters takes you on a criminal journey from lowly Saturday Girl working at The Glass Stiletto located in small town Heatherly, to executive for a leading shoe company: SLATES Inc. of London. As a young girl employed at The Glass Stiletto, Claire set her sights on winning the Stiletto Award for achieving the highest annual sales, but a spiteful rival, bent on defeating her, stood in the way. Refusing to be deterred from reaching her goal, Claire was left with no other option than to take lethal action against her opponent and knock her out of the race. 

the-look-of-a-twelve-year-oldMany years later, when fired from her executive position at SLATES Inc., Claire learns her beloved Glass Stiletto is to be demolished. Revisiting the old building aroused in her the need for bloody revenge against the executive team responsible for her recent dismissal from SLATES. 

However, while scheming, Claire underestimated the delving of an old flame. Is his motive as innocent as he would have her believe, or is there a more sinister reason for his return into her life? 

Notice the words: bloody revenge, lethal action, criminal journey, and then take into consideration that, as a teenager, I worked as a Saturday Girl in a shoe store in England. See the connection?

Yes, writing affords me the luxury of relieving stress through the criminal actions of my fictional characters, without any fear of retribution. What makes you want to write?

A note from Vianvi editor, Viga Boland: Thank you Barbara for sharing your reasons for writing with us. For all of you who have read Barbara’s thoughts here, I hope you’ll take the time to answer Barbara’s last question, by leaving her a comment below, and even more so, by submitting your own article to LET’S TALK WRITING. Click that link to see what we’re looking for. Hope to hear from you soon. And Barbara, please come back and share more of your ideas on writing with us. As the author of 3 memoirs and at least one dozen fiction books, I know you have a lot to share. Please visit Barbara and check out her books at


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14 thoughts on “LET’S TALK WRITING #3

  1. Barbara Studham

    September 14, 2016

    Thank you, Viga, for posting my thoughts on writing. I look forward to receiving feedback from your readers. By the way, readers, I attended Viga’s launch of her new book: “Don’t write your MEmoir without Me” yesterday evening. The event was enjoyed by the many attendees and all were eager to purchase her book. So if you are considering writing a memoir but are unsure how to get started, buy a copy of her book to take advantage of the tips, strategies and examples she shares

  2. Kathleen Hewitt

    September 17, 2016

    I started writing as a child and it was a love of reading that got me started. I didn’t take my writing seriously for many years but was always called on to write a roast or poem for someone on a special occasion and I enjoyed that very much. It was always a mix of humor and poignancy. I never,ever considered what you have noted in terms of character development and the way that you could process your own history through that. That’s cool.
    In my thirties, I finished graduate school and it was in the writing of ‘reaction’ papers for my coursework in clinical mental health after a long career as an RN, when I realized that I could write from a deep place and evoke emotion in others. I was drawn to that. From this experience, I wrote my memoir and though the subject matter is heavy at times, sad, too, wouldn’t you know it is a story filled with humor as well as poignancy. It’s been with me all this time. (smile) Thanks for the post.

  3. May Salix

    September 17, 2016

    Hi Barbara – I’m sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner … Never think “What else could possibly …”

    I found what you wrote really interesting because I don’t escape into something else – I tend to delve right into the thick of what’s horrible and generally hidden … What were your reading tastes as a kid? And I had to giggle at your first sentence because that’s exactly what I wrote right off in my post … so unoriginal. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it the way you wrote about it – it’s comforting, somehow.

    Thank you for sharing this – your perspective is very much appreciated and I’m sure I’ll be adding an entry into my writing journal about it. 🙂


  4. Faye ward

    September 17, 2016

    I was impressed by Barbara ‘s honesty and openness. ..her difficult childhood gave birth to a strong and passionate talented woman . I am proud to know her and am inspired by how similar our paths have been…she has had the courage to write as a healthy outlet…I am not there yet…but maybe will be some day

  5. Peggy Toney Horton

    September 17, 2016

    Hi Barbara,
    I’ve just read your piece and found it interesting. I appreciate your sharing your experiences with writing to “let off steam.” I understand that concept well but my situation is a little different. Although I don’t write fiction, and therefore, have no fictional characters on which to transfer my sinister actions without fear of retribution, I do invariably find myself sitting down to write the minute something upsets me, especially if I am unable to remedy the problem. Feeling helpless puts me into the writing mode quickly. My writing world is the only place I am always in control. Problems seem to evaporate when I’m writing – or even thinking about it.
    I’m grateful that I was able to read your enlightening work. Thank you for making it available.

  6. Marilyne Rudy

    September 17, 2016

    Hi Barbara,
    Wow, that’s really interesting Barbara how you took your stress and penned it into a story with fictional characters. I can remember how I took my hurts, emotional abuse/stress out when I was younger. I would often turn to humour as a coping mechanism and write plays using one of the teachers in my elementary school as the main character. When others would laugh when reading them helped me along further with my unspoken internal flame. I would also write humerous limericks, sonnets, and poetry.

    I love your writing as you have poured your heart and soul into it! Thank you for continuing to be who you are

  7. Peggy Toney Horton

    September 18, 2016

    Hi Barbara. I read your piece and wrote a rather long comment this afternoon but apparently, something went wrong and it didn’t go. So, I’ll try again. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about writing to “let off steam” when you were a child and changing in adulthood to allow your fictional characters to convey your thoughts and feelings. I understand how doing so could relieve stress and applaud you for making it work for you. I, however, don’t write fiction and, therefore, don’t have any characters on whom to transfer my stress, but I do sit down to write the minute something begins to bother me. My writing world is the only place where I can control every situation. All stress evaporates while I’m writing. I find it to be a lifesaver at times – even keeps the blood pressure within normal limits. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your enlightening piece. I enjoyed it!

  8. Lisa Jane Emery

    September 18, 2016

    Wonderful article Barbara Studham, i enjoyed immensely and am taking notes from ya all for my work. I’ve been ‘blocked’ for some time now due to…Fear! The fearlessness of you wonderful writers is slowly chipping away at this fear armour which ive surrounded myself with. I used to journal regularly until one day…my ex husband did the unthinkable…he found and read my journal. This led to years of having to pay for my thoughts and I never journalled again the same. The abandonment which Viga talks about in ‘Don’t Write Your Memoir Without Me’ had vanished…my words and thoughts became censored which I struggle with still today. A lifetime of having to “pay” for all I ever said and did by those around me has had me quiet for far too long.
    I admire your strength and resilience ladies and one day I will join your ranks of published Memoir writers, as I work on letting go of the fears and infusing ME into the MEmoir! Thank you! ✌❤

    • May Salix

      September 19, 2016

      That is truly awful, Lisa!! I am so sorry that happened to you. I’ve had people read my journals and letters before and there’s no real way to recover from it. I believe there are online journaling sites where you can type entries (not the same as handwriting, I know) so that you and only you have access to it –> you can say whatever you want without feeling the need to censor yourself.

  9. Barbara Studham

    September 18, 2016

    Thanks, May, for your comment. As a child growing up in England, I loved the Thomas The Train books. There was also the Jack and Jill series, but I mostly enjoyed the pictures in those books. For some reason, as I got older, I turned to non-fiction more than fiction, not sure why. There was one book in particular I enjoyed. It was a tiny manual of all the flowers found in Great Britain. There was a hand-drawn picture of one flower per page with a description. Very thick book, but hand size. I loved it. As an adult I read the Bible and began studying Bible prophecy. My favorite fiction writers are Madeleine Wickham and M.C. Beaton. How about you?

    • May Salix

      September 18, 2016

      I think I moved to non-fiction and realistic fiction by the time I was 10 … I was a true crime buff at 14. I love women’s history and women’s letters and diaries. It’s difficult to say who my favorite fiction writers are … I’m obsessed with James Tiptree, Jr. even though I don’t like science fiction; I love Edith Wharton and Shirley Jackson; I’m compelled to read Joyce Carol Oates’ stories … I seem to have developed a love of fiction published, for the most part, before 1960 and for some reason, I’m really into Alfred Hitchcock’s anthologies. I should stop now – I could write about books all day!

    • May Salix

      September 19, 2016

      I know I already replied to this … I wonder where it went … I was just always into non-fiction and realistic fiction – even as a middle schooler, I was reading horror and true crime and it escalated from there. Now I read a lot of biographies, sociological histories, literature (usually published before 1960) … I’m really big on women’s histories (biographies, memoirs, letters, journals) … I think it’s safe to say I’m eclectic.

  10. Barbara Studham

    September 19, 2016

    Thank you everyone for all your wonderful diverse comments. It would appear writing has a special meaning to many people. I find putting pen to paper, or should I say keyboarding, very therapeutic, and though there are days when I over-write (spend too much time writing and become tired) and vow to quit writing, I never do, and wake up the next day ready to write again. I’m looking forward to reading more writer submissions.

  11. Christine Larsen

    October 7, 2016

    Barbara, Viga, everyone – wherever you are in the process of baring your souls and easing your pain, I find you all awesome… each one emerging like a wondrous butterfly from a plain and ugly little chrysalis.
    ‘Awesome’ is a word used SO inappropriately SO often these days by those who should read your stories to learn where that description should truly be applied.
    Sincerest congratulations on finding your voice and helping countless others to seek their own peace.
    You humble me, because my memoirs are a record of being surrounded by love and security throughout an interesting life lived mostly in the last century.
    Thank you all for sharing your heaviest burdens.

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