About Sam Uhl
I believe that everyone’s life is a story worth telling. Our most extraordinary stories are waiting to come into view if we are willing to walk through the mist of our hectic lives for a time and see them come to life on the page. Writing my story and helping others write theirs is my joy and my mission, and it’s the reason I’m here doing the most rewarding work I could imagine.
When I tell people that I help individuals write and publish their memoirs, the reactions are priceless. The most common response I get is, “Oh my gosh, you have to talk to so and so, they have the most inspiring story!” Or, “Sign me up. I have so many experiences, I wouldn’t know where to stop.” The most heartbreaking response I hear is, “My life is boring. Who would want to read my memoir?” I love working with every one of them because, within the first hours, they are validated in choosing to come and write with me and our group. I first started writing on behalf of others 25 years ago, and then professionally for the last nine. I have over 25 printed books to my name for private family libraries and for sale to the public. I do this because I love it.
I was destined for this path of listening, writing, sharing, and preserving our stories from birth. I was raised at the feet of wise and witty elders who lived at the nursing home where my mother was a nurse. My parents were also older when I was born, so I was privy to the banter of their many “senior” friends, filling my childhood with captivating tales full of adventure, risk, heartache, inspiration, and mystery. I witnessed the importance of sharing one’s own story with others and what it felt like to be known and accepted in spite of your shortcomings, or maybe because of them.
I write because I love the way my heart pours onto the page and makes sense of life. But it wasn’t always this way. As a child in “special classes” in primary school, I could not read and write at the pace of my peers for three years. In college, a teacher failed me in a creative writing course. While on probation for failing grades, I attended a public speaking course in which I not only overcame a fear of hearing my own voice, but I learned to write persuasively, from the heart. That teacher lit a fire in me that has never gone out. If you have read this far, it is my intent to do the same for you.
From that pivotal time, writing became the way I processed everything. I filtered life’s experiences through pen and paper, making sense of my days as they splashed across the pages of my journals. After writing about some events, sometimes I found something more, different, and often, altogether better from what I’d stored in my emotional memory. A harsh memory could lose its sting in black and white. Hilarious memories, had I not written them down, might have been lost to the folds of gray matter all pressed together and forgotten like so many linens at the bottom of the cedar chest.
What it’s like to work with me
In my writing workshops and retreats, I hold space where you can finally give voice to your life stories. I use a variety of intuitive techniques to help you write about both happy and difficult life experiences. I help make the process effortless and less overwhelming than trying to write alone.
If your story has some difficult aspects, I wrangle fear. If your story is an underdog, I am a cheerleader. Not everyone needs the same kind of support through their writing journey, but if you do, I’ve got your back in a safe space. I expertly and gently elicit your stories as they bubble to the surface. Sometimes they decide to show up and surprise you. I'm not a therapist and this is not a therapeutic writing course, but my students tend to find my workshops to be meaningful and sometimes unexpectedly healing. Just as important as the writing, is the feelings of confidence, acceptance, and appreciation and understanding for how varied life experiences have helped to shape who you are today. I help you explore your stories from different perspectives and we all have a lot of fun along the way.
Once you’ve got a manuscript and you’re ready to call yourself, “author,” you need look no further because The Cheerful Word is a boutique publishing house where we print memoirs. We’ve got a team to support you from the first idea to putting your book on Amazon.com. The best part of working with us, after holding your book in your hands for the first time and grinning non-stop for a week, is that you keep 100% of your royalties—for life. That’s worth smiling about for many years to come.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know a bit about me. I appreciate your interest in writing your memoir, and hope you choose to write soon.
Sam is author of How to Survive Dying, A Journal of Hope for Family Caregivers. Her writing also appears in the book From Surviving to Thriving by Dr. Amy D’Aprix. She has written numerous articles on elders and caregiving published throughout North American magazines and newsletters. Sam’s career has included managing medical editors, serving as a consultant designing and managing training and development departments, and co-owning a successful technical writing and public relations firm in Buffalo, NY. She maintains a home in Hendersonville, North Carolina with her husband, with whom she is enjoying the Bavarian countryside of Germany while he is on contract as a civilian working for the United States Army.
Service, Certifications, and Awards:
The “Tuskey Award for Professionalism in Public Relations” was named after Sam as the charter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Buffalo State College in 1985 and is handed out annually to winners of the award for excellence
The Society for Technical Communication (Various Board titles, 1987-2001)
The American Society for Training and Development (Secretary 2001)
Led MasterMind groups in the Raleigh-Durham area (2010-2013)
- Certified Senior Advisor (1999-2002)
- American Medical Writers Association (Treasurer, 2005)
- Women’s Power Networking (public speaking circuit 2005-2007)
- The Association for Personal Historians (VP, 2013)
- Certified Guided Autobiographical Instructor - Birren Institute (2013 - present)
- Certified Legacy Advisor for LegacyStories.org (2014)
- Author of “How to Survive Dying: A Journal of Hope for Family Caregivers” 2015
The mission of The Cheerful Word is to honor, encourage, and inspire individuals and their families by preserving your legacies and connecting us across the generations. She accomplishes her mission as a ghost writer, coach, and publisher by delivering books for private family libraries and for sale on Amazon.com.
To date, together with her team, Sam has produced fourteen paperback books, three Kindle ebooks, one audio book, and four Conversational Memoir audio legacies. About one thousand have attended her various memoir writing workshops and many who have attended continue to work with her to complete their memoirs.