Dealing with her young teens and a high-powered ad agency job is Cathy Lepik's daily juggling act.
But the Powder Springs mom has made a concerted effort to carve out a little "me" time lately for one of her longtime loves—writing.
Lepik calls writing "involuntary, like a sneeze – I just have to get it out!"
Joan Evans is used to seeing writers like Lauretta and Cathy scribbling in her Tea Room in downtown Powder Springs.
"Lauretta wrote a chunk of her book here, The Cracker Queen," Evans shares, "and now she's mentoring other women to write. I think that's wonderful."
Hannon's not a mom herself, although she admits to being "Auntie Mame to a truckload of nieces and nephews." She also works at the Atlanta Girls School, so when folks ask her if she has any kids, she replies: "217 of them."
"I get a lot of moms in my classes," Hannon says. "Many of them start out journaling at home and expand it to other literary efforts. Writing a journal is a good entry point for aspiring writers, especially women. There's intimacy and privacy in journaling."
Hannon says her own journey as a writer was "long and circuitous."
"I put a lot of blocks in my path with self-doubt," she recalls.
She shares her mistakes with her students in her classes, who she calls "my tribe."
"I'm an expert at what not to do," she admits, "and I consider it my responsibility to my fellow tribe members to not let them make my mistakes."
Hannon says she loves the energy she feels in her workshops.
"We have a variety of experience there, from moms who say, 'Wouldn't it be cool to write a book?' to best-selling authors who just want to recharge their creative batteries." She definitely considers Lepik "one of my success stories."
Lepik is currently working on a memoir called "Hairspray Helmets, Homeless Veteranarians, and More Humor from the Household." Hannon calls her a "southern Erma Bombeck."
Lepik says the classes she's had with Hannon have been "invaluable."
"She's given me brilliant advice, professional insight and critical confidence," she describes.
Hannon gives her students a resource packet on writing books, writing websites, and potential agents. She also urges them not to give up with the first few rejections.
"It can take 120 contacts before you get a yes," she advises, "so don't be discouraged."
Most of Hannon's students are women, and for them, writing is "something they can do for themselves as a treat."
She adds that her writers feel "energized and replenished" when they kick back and scribble.
"Turning their creative energy into writing helps them fill back up."