Hostage to the Writing Life

Last week was difficult for me. My favorite orange and white tabby cat, 16 year-old Oliver, had to be put down. I know–he was just a cat, but the whole experience was stressful and my writing life suffered. Life has a way of interrupting our grandest plans.
Writing Tip for Today: Many of you are dealing with serious interruptions– a loved one’s health crisis, the poor economy or a jillion other things. When life takes your writing life hostage, I’ve found these things to be helpful:

  • Journal or at least jot down the way you feel, the things that make the interruption awful, and do this in concrete sensory detail. Don’t say, “it was awful.” Note details–poignant or plain cruddy–that come to mind.
  • Indulge in some dark humor. You don’t want to be disrespectful, but the worse things are, the more fertile ground for laughter. If this isn’t your thing, at least put on a funny movie and laugh a while. And if dark humor can’t be found, how about some good dark chocolate?
  • Writing University. Aren’t we all using life to fuel our best efforts at writing? Remember that the deepest hurts we experience are ultimately going to help you connect on a more profound level with your readers. They’re hurting too. We write to ease the pain. I’ll get over losing my dear sweet kitty. But I will never forget, and that’s why I write, really.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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