Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writing Past Grief: Punching Through

It's been 9 months.

My son had cystic fibrosis and he passed away 9 months ago. This is the first time I've even lightly posted about it. It's still much too raw and painful. He was 14.

I understand grief, understand the 7 steps of mourning and the myriad of emotions that crashes through you. What I didn't realize was how that would affect my writing.

I had no idea grief would sabotage my writing confidence.

Everything I've worked so hard for over decades years is shattered. Poof. Gone.

No one wants to read this.

Your characters are too sad.

I thought you knew how to string together a sentence.

No wonder your agent can't sell your work.

You don't deserve to succeed.

Give up. You don't have the energy for this.

I feel like screaming at those inner voices as George Hamiliton did in Love at First Bite "Children of the Night…Shut up!"

So, my new mantra: I'm not a quitter, not a quitter, not a quitter.

I sit down and just start writing, giving myself permission to write badly, if I should punch through and get it done and something surprising happens.

My normal teenage heroine all of a sudden has a sibling who died in her back story and she is screaming at her love interest about how he doesn't understand…what tragedy has he ever experienced in his life that gives him the right to tell her how to feel?

I bang my head against the table. Is this all I can produce now? Angsty grief-driven characters? I just want to write stories, not go through therapy while doing it.

Then again, maybe that's all there is left. Pushing through. I'll let the characters grieve, let them flow however they will and maybe I'll come through the end of it with a little healing on my own. Who can say? I'll let you know how it goes as I continue these posts on writing past grief.


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