Writing through Grief

I don’t do New Year resolutions. See my article on FocusMe

Instead I like to make my own targets for the year.

2019 was going fine. I had an action plan for the year with the aim of self-publishing one of my novels by Christmas 2019.

It didn’t happen.

The year started well. I achieved a distinction for my MA in Creative Writing. My Imagined Dialogue was published on the Daphne du Maurier website and I’d booked myself on several events to enable me to meet my targets – Fowey Festival, a Jerico Writers event in York and Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival 

It was while I was attending the foweyfestival in Cornwall I received desperately sad news. My little brother, ten years my junior, had died. That’s not supposed to happen. His death came without warning and really threw me. There were more shocks. I was his named executor but his beneficiary was a person unknown to the family. It seemed my brother had a secret life none of us knew anything about.

As I was thrown into the demands of executorship, plans for completing my novel (seemingly superficial in the light of real life events) went out of the window. Self-editing became impossible. I was however, able to write about what I was experiencing and I wrote it all down. I really recommend journaling for the bad times in your life. Here’s an extract from an article I wrote for TAMBA (TWINS TRUST) bereavement support:

I found journaling helped me to manage my own grief. It was the start of my healing journey, giving me an outlet for my emotions and a place to store my memories and feelings, like photographs, to take out and experience again. […] The page became my friend, someone I could talk to without having to watch what I said, or how I said it. Sometimes I ranted with the fury of a madwoman – a raw, primitive wail. The page allows you to vent your anger, guilt and frustration with no judgement or regret. You don’t have to worry that you might hurt someone else’s feelings by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The good thing about (journaling) is that you can’t write the wrong thing. […] In the early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I’d make myself a cup of tea and pour my emotions onto the page. […] Writing is cathartic. Write when tears are streaming down your face. Let grief fuel your pen. Spew your guts on the page. Swear your f****** head off.

Autumn 2019 and I’d encouraged a friend to take part in NANOWRIMO – I should support her by participating again myself. Journaling had sown seeds and I completed 50k words of my new novel (My Brother’s Dominatrix)

December and Christmas were hectic so it was January before I got back into regular novel writing. My targets for 2019 (to get my work out there and publish my first novel) had to roll into 2020.

And I’ve made a good start. I’ve completed a first draft of my time slip novel The Travelling Philanthropist. I’ve had a short story published by Shooter literary magazine and I’m working to improve my social media presence.

I shall be documenting my journey to publishing in blog posts. Of course there are excellent resources already out there on the subject – David Gaughran  and Jerico Writers to name but two. But I’ll be giving you a breakdown of the key steps in my personal journey, along with the pitfalls (I’m sure there’ll be plenty).  So watch this space.

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