Writing Through Pain by Annmarie Miles
Welcome Annmarie Miles once again for another month with the Writer’s Fun Zone. In today’s article she shows us how to write through pain. Enjoy!
Taking a slightly different angle this month.
Have been pondering a lot (but not writing a lot) lately, about how hard it is to write when you are in pain. I don’t mean physical pain, although I’m sure that is difficult too. I mean writing when you are grieving or heartbroken; which I am as I write.
I’ve written quite a couple of posts about the recent death of a friend of mine on www.auntyamo.com and please feel free to pop over and read. But apart from writing those couple of blog posts, January has been a very lean writing month.
I was reflecting on my WFZ post from last month. I said I was always writing and I’m sure at the time I couldn’t imagine anything that could stop me. I started a 500 words a day challenge for the month of Jan and was doing really well when the sad events happened and my writing just stopped. Obviously in the initial few days it was right to let myself off and take time to remember my friend. But when I knew it was time to get back to work, I just couldn’t. It’s as if my heart and head had only room for one subject and it was too painful to keep writing those same emotions and asking the same questions again and again. I was trying to balance an acceptable time to stop and mourn with the knowledge that I should get to get back to work; him being a writer too would be telling me I should.
When I did sit down to write, it felt bad to try to be funny. I felt a twinge of guilt trying to ‘craft a laugh’ as I call it. Thinking of punch lines and quirky scenarios for stories; it just wasn’t there. It was quite paralyzing and a scary place to be in as a writer. All the normal doubts that trail around after me, heckling me, were multiplied with the fear of never being able to write again. Or worse, never wanting to.
Another writer friend of mine lost two siblings within a short space of time. I remember encouraging her to keep writing no matter what. I know now, that I didn’t understand the process she was going through and spoke to her recently about how I have gained some insight into what she was going through, from a writing perspective. I would still encourage both of us to keep writing, but now I know why she found it so hard to get back to it.
In the last week or so I have come out of hibernation. I have forced myself to sit down and type; and like most things, once you get started it gets a bit easier. This is the first time I’ve grieved since I’ve become a writer. It will take a while to fully understand the process I’ve gone through; or should I say, am going through. But for now let me share with you what I’m learning:
- Don’t be too hard on yourself and give yourself the time you need
- Try to make some short notes of how you’re feeling, they may help at a later time
- If you can’t write, read – something gentle and that you’re familiar with
- If you feel the impulse to write, follow it – even if it makes tears flow
- If you have deadlines and feel you can meet them, then give people as much notice as possible – or even a heads up that there may be a problem fulfilling your commitments
- Don’t worry if you can’t write today. Maybe you’ll be able to tomorrow
I know that this is different from the usual style of my contribution of WFZ, but another thing I’ve learned is that I must write what is inside me. I can’t be any other writer than the one I am today.
You can get her first collection of short stories ‘The Long & The Short of it’ in paperback or for any e-reader from the fiction section of www.emuink.ie
Where to find Annmarie: Email: amowriting@