Each month, The Enterprise, in conjunction with the Salt Lake Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), conducts a forum session with women business owners on topics of interest to business owners. This month we meet with professional female writers. We discuss how they got their start, and the ups and downs of the publishing world.

Each month, The Enterprise, in conjunction with the Salt Lake Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), conducts a forum session with women business owners on topics of interest to business owners. This month we meet with professional female writers. We discuss how they got their start, and the ups and downs of the publishing world.

After generations in a typically male-dominated profession, women have begun to make their mark. With today’s digital media, the options for becoming a writer have evolved into a variety of formats. Today’s discussion centers on the trials of female writers, what motivates them and their advice for aspiring writers.

Moderator: Tell us how you got started in writing?

Lydia Martinez: Growing up I was fascinated by anthropology and ancient history. My interest led me to writing for a by-kids-for-kids magazine about paleontology and archeology. As I got older, I fell in love with food and food writing, which led me to writing my own food and travel blog, Suitcase Foodist, as well as writing for Salt Lake Magazine.

Julie Tarsha: In 2010, my daughter Carli and I decided to start a blog that featured our favorite subject, do-it-yourself projects. We not only enjoyed crafting, we had often come up with our own patterns and methods that worked out quite well, so we decided to share our ideas online. At the time, I worked overseas in Greece, so it was also a collaborative project that we used to stay in close contact even though we were physically apart.

Heather Laughter: I did some writing in high school and was the editor for the class yearbook. I’ve always found writing to be cathartic and healing. As a foster kid in my high school years, writing was a great outlet for me.

Elif Ekin: I first began writing to keep myself sane during my divorce. I kept a journal to help me sort through all the chaos in my life. I didn’t think it had any value to anyone except me until a publishing house thought my divorce journal may help others if published into a book. It was the first time my voice and writing was taken seriously.

Molly Bitton: When I was 20, I took a creative writing class in college. It was a small class and there was a lot of brainstorming and support from the teacher. I was able to write a couple of children’s books that I was really happy with.

Moderator: It sounds like most of you had a passion for writing from a fairly young age. Tell me about the first time you were published and what that felt like.

Lydia: I was published for the first time when I was 13 years old.  I wrote a scientific paper about the preservation of ancient human remains which led to a long-term relationship with Zinj Magazine — a kid’s publication about archeology, anthropology, ancient history and paleontology. I was on their kids' advisory board and wrote several articles for them through the years. I also wrote for the Zinj TV show that was born from the magazine.

Julie: We wrote our first blog posts for Simply Notable in late 2010. We quickly learned that “how to” writing can be challenging. Our first posts were visited by less than 20 readers per day. Five years later, on any given day, we receive several thousand views.    

Heather: I was hired to write a biography for someone about eight years ago. He liked my ability to write in “his voice,” so he hired me to write a second book for him, too.

Elif: I started out self-publishing my

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