Shannon Hilson

Full-time writer and aspiring linguist. Food, literature, film, and art lover.

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Photo of the Author by the Author

My life as a writer started when my parents gave me a little blank book with a cat on the cover for Christmas when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. Something extraordinary happened when I decided to turn that book into a catch-all place to write down all the stories I made up or record the details of my daily life. …


Self-sufficient people need love, too, but they’re not willing to settle for just anyone and anything.

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Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash

My ex-mother-in-law used to flat-out refuse to use my name when she sent me gifts or cards in the mail. Instead of addressing things to “Ms. Shannon Hilson,” as I’d asked, she’d insist on simply tacking “Mrs.” onto her son’s first and last name and calling it a day. She continued to do this even after I asked her multiple times not to.

She reasoned that I was too independent and needed to stop seeing myself as an individual and seeing myself as her son’s wife, first and foremost. I disagreed. And when my ex turned out to have…


It’s time to unlearn the belief that exercise is a punishment for not being a bikini model.

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Photo by CHU Gummies on Unsplash

I’ve never been one of those svelte, sporty women who make loving exercise look easy. I was quite literally that kid that got picked last for teams in gym class. Naturally speaking, I’m clumsy and uncoordinated. I can’t even dance worth a damn without making an absolute fool of myself, so I guess you could say exercise and I weren’t exactly fast friends in life.

It hasn’t helped that most of the few friends I’ve had who were good at staying in shape made exercise sound awful. They talked too much about all the things they’d given up and…


And that’s when I really started to benefit from the whole process

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Photo by Pedro Araújo on Unsplash

At some point in my 20s, I read and fell instantly, violently in love with the incredible prose they contained. Her writing was absolutely stunning, every sentence electric with meaning and saturated in raw emotion. I’d been a fan of her poetry since my days as an angsty teenager. Now, here were her private writings and they were everything I would have hoped they’d be — cohesive, expressive, and so elegantly written.

I’m not sure anything else I’ve ever read has made me feel so inspired as a writer… or so inept.

I’d kept journals…


When you write from life, others are bound to come up eventually, but there are smart ways to handle it.

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Photo by Stefan Fluck on Unsplash

When you’re a writer, drawing on your life and personal experiences for inspiration isn’t just a good idea. It’s often what makes the difference between stories that resonate with a reader and stories that feel hollow or fall flat instead. It’s also impossible to do that kind of writing without bringing up other people you know sooner or later.

I’m pretty eclectic as a writer, so I write about many different things. I write a about my actual life, so people I know (or used to know) come up a lot. Some of the people in question are fine…


If you’ve ever been worried you’ll never make it as a writer because you’re not “talented” enough, this is for you.

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Photo by Alexandra Fuller on Unsplash

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone’s response to finding out I’m a full-time writer was to tell me they wish they were talented so they could do the same thing. I wish I had dollars for every blank stare I’ve received after telling someone talent had nothing to do with how I built my writing business and eventually made a success out of it.

Talent is great and all, but it’s not worth much all by itself. If you have it, you might catch on a little faster than average when you’re learning the ropes…


And it was a valuable reminder to be careful how I treat other people.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Being easy to find on the internet has been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it’s made it possible for beloved old friends to get back in touch and for anyone who likes what I’m putting out there to find more of it if they feel like it. On the other hand, it’s made it easier for people who have any sort of beef with me to find me, too.

Naturally, this includes ex-boyfriends, and that experience has been an eye-opener in ways I never expected. It‘s been a lot like feeling confident you at least


Elevated Living Newsletter: February 2021

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Photo by Mathieu Cheze on Unsplash

I’m not sure whether it’s just another by-product of getting older or what, but January’s been an absolute blur for my husband and me. The earlier part of the month found us suffering from a serious case of post-holiday blahs. A straight-up coup attempt at the United States Capitol building, not even a week into the new year, hardly helped.

Thankfully, things slowly but surely began to feel like they were looking up. Seeing a new president sworn in later in the month didn’t magically fix everything, of course, but I was still surprised by how much better it made…


Even when it’s not crystal clear, there are some pretty foolproof ways to tell the difference.

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Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

I’ve had many guy friends complain to me over the years that figuring out what women want from them is next to impossible these days. This is especially the case when it comes to facilitating a meet-cute with someone attractive they stumble across out in the wild.

Do women still want men to talk to them, or do they strictly want to be left alone? It’s actually both, but it depends on the woman, as well as the circumstances. You’re probably pretty safe chatting someone up in a social setting where people are there to mix and mingle, like at…


A family full of cheerleaders may be an asset to an aspiring writer, but it’s not a requirement.

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Photo by Tom Rogerson on Unsplash

I’ve always kind of been the black sheep among the other members of my family. They’re conservative, while I’m more liberal. They’re strait-laced traditionalists, while I’m more of an artist at heart. To them, a good job is one that requires commuting to an office and working a minimum of 40 hours a week under the critical gaze of a boss. To me, it’s the exact opposite of that.

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a professional writer, but I know I wanted to do something creative and work out of my home, preferably on a self-employed…

Shannon Hilson

Full-time writer. Language nerd. The girl with the most cake. | Email: bellingthecat@gmail.com | Blog: https://shannonhilsonblog.blogspot.com

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