“Extraordinary Times: Coronavirus Journal” from Sam Uhl

I’ve found a partial solution to how to blog while experiencing a COVID19 pandemic-related form of writers’ block: I’m sharing resources offered by friends/colleagues who are finding their own ways to help “ordinary” people cope in such an extraordinary time.

Sam Uhl of The Cheerful World is a personal historian and custom publisher I met through the Association of Personal Historians. Her recent newsletter brought us back in contact. I invited her to share news of her free new offering, a downloadable collection of writing prompts titled Extraordinary Times: Coronavirus Journal.

“From birth, I was destined for a path of listening to and preserving stories,” Sam describes herself on her website, going on to tell about parents and family elders who introduced her to the power of elder’s stories, and how she now partners with people–as Mike Oke and I do–to bring their stories into the world in published books and more. Sam is located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, but as we’re all learning–through the power of virtual collaboration, personal historians can work with anyone, anywhere.

I asked Sam to chat with me about why and how she created her journaling aid. My opening question: When the pandemic bullied its way into our lives, how did you respond in your business?

Sam: “It showed up, and much to my surprise–business did not slow down. People wanted a way to write.” Sam and her husband are active in their tourist/retiree-heavy little mountain town. “When this hit, I got trickles of emails and calls saying ‘I just miss stopping by your studio and chatting. I don’t have a way of expressing how I feel about this whole Corona-virus thing.’ Most of them are at least story-tellers if not writers.” She decided to put together a tool to help them express themselves. “Through a variety of prompts, they can be thinking about something besides the virus, the politics, the jobs lost,” she explained. “This is a historic moment. People will point back to this moment like we look at the 1918 Influenza Epidemic.”

Sam, who is trained in the Guided Autobiography method of writing short reminiscences stimulated by questions, started creating her list of prompts. “People can choose what they want to address on any given day.” She came up with 100 prompts, which should get us through the shut-down. If people write on a few of them, Sam will feel she has helped. “I need to not feel hobbled by this pandemic. I want to be an active participant in helping people feel better.” She hopes we will all record our thoughts and experiences in this strange time–“including all of the wonderful things that are happening”–and reframe the experience in our own thoughts and conversations toward something more positive.

Sam envisions our journals finding their way to community collections, at libraries and historical societies. She wouldn’t mind if it caused a few people who are writing and discovering they have something to say to reach out for her writing coaching services. “But really, I created the journal just to help–I haven’t thought too far beyond that.”

To download a free copy of Sam Uhl’s writing prompts, simply click Extraordinary Times: Coronavirus Journal.  Thanks, Sam, for helping us all find our way forward!


What is the story of your resilient moment? How are you facing this challenge and coming through?

See submission guidelines here–then send me your true RESILIENT story well told. Or hey, just a link to any resource that helps you refill and recharge.

  • Sarah White


About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
This entry was posted in Call for action, Writing prompt and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Extraordinary Times: Coronavirus Journal” from Sam Uhl

  1. Mickee Hicks says:

    Always very well stated.Sam is an inspiration to all she meets.Beautifully written


  2. Pamela Carver says:

    We are so very lucky to have Sam in our community ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s