This is something I’ve wanted to write about for a few months. While this topic isn’t steampunk, this is also a blog about writing.
By “writing through grief” I’m not talking about journaling as a way to process your feelings. I’m speaking more about how to keep writing when something awful is happening, something that saps your mojo and makes you unmotivated to write, even if you have the time (and deadlines.)
My father died in October, it was sudden, but not totally unexpected. Still, it wasn’t something I was expecting to happen now.
One of the first things that hit me was Dad never got to read book three. The book had been finished, edits had been turned in weeks before. My dad had just gotten a Kindle, so I’d planned on putting the e-arc on it for him when it came out in March. Which, never happened.
This thought really impacted me. My dad was a huge fan of the Aether Chronicles books. He liked INNOCENT DARKNESS better than CHARMED VENGEANCE (I’ve only met one other person who agrees.) He shipped Kevighn and Noli so hard. “Why should the good guy always get the girl?” he told me. He read the kissing scenes out loud to my mom.
After reading INNOCENT DARKNESS, he asked me for more steampunk, so I gave him Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN. When he gave it back to me he said “I liked your book better.”
There are…choices…in FRAGILE DESTINY, choices I wanted to hear his thoughts on.
Thoughts I’ll never hear.
Suddenly, it got difficult to linger in Noli’s world. I didn’t want to promote the story–blog posts, events, even facebook, because it was too hard.
That Aether Chronicles story I was going to write for NaNoWriMi 2013?
I couldn’t do it. I just didn’t have the willpower.
It was difficult to write other things, too. Usually, I’m a writing machine.
The words wouldn’t come. The ideas weren’t there. Even if I knew what was happening next, it was easier to read through old things than write new ones.
And it hurt.
I don’t have the answers, more than six months later, the words are just barely starting to come back. I’m just getting back to a place where I can write in Noli’s world and promote book three.
There are days the words still don’t come. Many days.
Here were a few things that worked for me, though other people will be different:
1) On the days the words came, I wrote. It didn’t matter what project it was, as long as it didn’t interfere with deadlines. Focus can come later. Sometimes that act of writing for yourself is rejuvenating.
2) I was lucky in that I didn’t have any deadlines through many of those months. When the deadlines finally came enough time had passed in that it was time to put on the big girl pants and do them. Sure, it was hard to go back to Noli’s world, but it had to be done. So I did it. And you know what? It helped me.
3) While I didn’t have any hard-and-fast deadlines, my reluctance and inability may have put me behind opportunity-wise in regards to a specific project, one that I should have finished in December and is barely done now. But you know what? It’s not worth it to beat myself over the head about it. Should I have sucked it up and done it? Probably. But I can’t get that time back. Also, publishing is not a race. It’s probably better to hand in something that was crafted well, in the right headspace, than something sub-par I wrote because I felt like I had to.
That’s all I’ve got. This is still a process for me.
What worked for you when writing through times of grief? I’d love to hear your own thoughts.