AAW: Writing through pain

Cat 243 Dover Since this month’s Ask A Wench involves working, Labor Day seemed like a good time to post it.  This question was posed by Cynthia Owens, and it's a serious topic with serious replies:

“I'd like to know how all of you manage to write during difficult times. I stopped writing for several months after my father died, and just recently, when my mom had a stroke, I took some time off too. And yet sometimes, I find writing to be therapeutic. How about the Wenches?”

Pat Rice: 

Journaling helped me survive a dysfunctional childhood. Pouring my creativity into Wicked-wyckerlyN200 stories prevented me from wasting it on unappreciative teachers. Researching helped me through the lonely hours when my husband was overseas. And without occupying my mind creating characters and stories, I would never have survived the years of watching my mother fight cancer. Writing is not only therapeutic, but cathartic. We can pour our loneliness, our angers, our distress into the words on the page.  Beats whining any day!

Anne Gracie: 

This is a tough one. I think sometimes you have to acknowledge that life will get in the way of writing, though it takes everyone differently. In the last few years I've watched first my father crumble and die, and then my mother, and in each case, it affected my writing differently. When Dad started dying, I simply stopped writing.  Afterwards, I sat down and wrote The Perfect Rake — a funny, lighthearted story (for the most part) and it just flowed out of me as if a dam had broken.

Accweddingsmll When my mother was dying, my desire to write dried up again but I was under contract and had to force myself. I'd started a book but it was turning grim and bleak in tone and it was a struggle, so with my editor's permission, I put it aside.  I started writing a different book soon after my mother died, and it ended up sweet and heartwarming. Now I'm back to the book I put aside, starting it again from a different angle, and it's going much better.

However, while I might not have been writing fiction through the worst of times, I still wrote. I wrote emails all the time — I've always been a prolific letter writer.  I also wrote in a journal, the first time I'd ever successfully kept anything resembling a diary, though it wasn't regular, and it was a wonderful thing to do.  I am now a committed journal-keeper.

The other thing I discovered through keeping a journal, is how good writing by hand is for my muse. I now do a lot more handwriting than I used to. If a scene is difficult or not flowing, I'll take myself away from the computer (and its easy distractions) and head for a quiet place with pen and notebook. I'll close my eyes, think about the scene to come, visualize it and start writing by hand. Even when I wasn't writing a novel, I still wrote about things I'd noticed, or played with painting word pictures. That's another thing I intend to continue on a regular basis.

51VHkijVwdL__SL500_AA300_ Susan King:

I've written through painful times and I've written through happy times, too, and much prefer happy! But there is something definitely therapeutic about writing during truly stressful times. Over the years that I've been published, I've experienced tragic family deaths, lay offs, major surgery myself… and of course lots of smaller troubles in the background or foreground of life.

I've raised three sons while writing twenty novels. I've had a house full of sick kids, kids home all day for snow or summer days, I've had more than one roaring case of the flu myself, and so on. Yet no matter what was going on, there were always chapters to write and often deadlines to meet. Whether it was big stress and lesser bumps in the road, having those deadlines forced me to focus no matter what and produce something. And that provides an escape like no other. When I'm sick, for instance, I usually feel a little better if I write than if I don't.

But I don't often use my published writing to express my own emotions, though someEggcreativec do. It does help relieve stress. Sometimes I've written into the books some of the tougher things that I've experienced, but not often. Once or twice I have rewritten the script on something that happened to me, but mostly I prefer to move on, and so I do, through characters whose lives are very different from my own at the time.

While the happier times are a LOT more fun and I'm a more relaxed writer then…that can be distracting in its own way, too. When things are going really well, I don't want to go to my office to shut the door and think only about my characters and my fiction. I might be enjoying time with my family or with friends, I might be traveling — and yet I still have to make myself sit down and write. Somehow all the books get written, and we can find ourselves stronger for it, perhaps even better writers, with another chapter or two or another book tucked away despite all.  

Whisper of Scandal Nicola Cornick:

The really short answer from me is "I can't!" The longer and more civil answer is:
 
I find it extremely hard to keep writing during difficult times. I do see writing as therapeutic sometimes; if I am tired or low or need a break I take great pleasure in writing something different, a short descriptive piece about the countryside perhaps, or an article of non-fiction history. That always lifts my spirits and takes me away from everyday problems. When it comes to big, stressful situations, though, I do find that they intrude too much into my writing process to be ignored. Then I slow down to a snail's pace or, if things are really bad, stop altogether, which can be a problem with my deadlines. When I was younger I think I found it easier to lose myself in my writing. These days I find it easier to lose myself in someone else's. Reading is a great solace to me in difficult times.

Forbidden%20rose%20joanna%20bourne Joanna Bourne:

I can write nonfiction under just about any conditions.  The simplicity and order is a comfort to me.  I set facts and conclusions in a logical sequence, and I've built a structure out of chaos.  It's satisfying.  I suppose writing nonfiction is a bit like cleaning the house.  When I'm troubled, my kitchen floors are very clean. 

Now, fiction is a whole 'nother writing beast. 

As a reader, I flee to fiction when I can't face reality.  I dive into the work of some favorite author and 'pull the covers up' — so to speak — and forget the real world for a while.

But I can't write fiction when I'm in turmoil.  I need a peaceful, undistracted mind to Cheetatailwalk into my fictive world and hear my characters speak.  

Mary Jo Putney:

As you can see, responses ranged from having difficult circumstances stop a writer in her tracks, to writing as therapeutic and an essential escape.  The prolific romance author Kasey Michaels once told a friend of mine that she wrote her first book, a humorous traditional Regency, when one of her small sons was dying of kidney failure.  (For the record, he didn’t die.  Credit goes to God, modern medicine, and an incredibly devoted and effective mother.)

I think any individual’s reaction might vary depending on the nature of the trouble.  If a person’s mother is dying and lives a long way off and you were never close and you have a deadline, you might lose little if any writing time.  If your spouse or a child is critically ill and you’re spending every available moment at the hospital, you’ll probably be lucky to keep up with your e-mail. 

NEVERLESSTHANALADYARTSuffering physical pain is a major variation of this.  Back problems, wrist and hand problems, chronic fatigue syndrome—any kind of serious health problem can come between you and your work. 

There are no right or wrong answers here.  We do what we must.  Creativity is a delicate function, more easily derailed by disaster than more basic life requirements.  If the Muse shuts down when life stresses take over, so be it.  She’ll be back when life calms down. 


In my experience, it’s best to concentrate on what’s essential, let the rest go, and don’t blame yourself for not being superwoman.  And if you’re friends and family ask what they can do to help—take them up on the offer! 

Most people love to help if they know what to do.  Be specific, and the chances are they’ll come through.  If you need a few hours of respite, ask for someone to take over for an afternoon.  If you’re too busy to cook, ask how they are at casseroles.  If you need someone to do some driving for you, chances are someone will be more than willing.

I like to help people.  Most people also like to help others.  I consider it very gracious to allow other people to help me, which will make them feel good.  <g>  A win/win.

Forwebsitedayinthelife039Though the focus here has been on writing, the question is much broader. How do you cope when life goes off the rails?  What kind of help would you like?  Just about everyone goes through periods when life gets out of control.  Just knowing that we’re not alone is a big help. 

This is a topic well worth sharing our thoughts, and I’d like to know what you think.

And Cynthia, you get a copy of one of my books for asking a question used on the blog.

Mary Jo, adding a special thanks to Joanna Bourne for supplying the picture of the cheetah chewing her tail.  I know exactly how that feels!

70 thoughts on “AAW: Writing through pain”

  1. I’m inspired this morning by your honest answers.My husband was critically ill this spring,has had a slow recovery over the summer, and he faces more surgery in a month or so. It’s definitely tested the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” vows we made decades ago. My writing has taken a back seat—waaay in the back of the bus—although I was able to finish the last thing I had under contract that was due in July. I’m just now getting immersed in something new, though the ever-present worry and stress seems to be a bit strangling. But I know things could have been so much worse, so I’m off to write a little right now!

    Reply
  2. I’m inspired this morning by your honest answers.My husband was critically ill this spring,has had a slow recovery over the summer, and he faces more surgery in a month or so. It’s definitely tested the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” vows we made decades ago. My writing has taken a back seat—waaay in the back of the bus—although I was able to finish the last thing I had under contract that was due in July. I’m just now getting immersed in something new, though the ever-present worry and stress seems to be a bit strangling. But I know things could have been so much worse, so I’m off to write a little right now!

    Reply
  3. I’m inspired this morning by your honest answers.My husband was critically ill this spring,has had a slow recovery over the summer, and he faces more surgery in a month or so. It’s definitely tested the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” vows we made decades ago. My writing has taken a back seat—waaay in the back of the bus—although I was able to finish the last thing I had under contract that was due in July. I’m just now getting immersed in something new, though the ever-present worry and stress seems to be a bit strangling. But I know things could have been so much worse, so I’m off to write a little right now!

    Reply
  4. I’m inspired this morning by your honest answers.My husband was critically ill this spring,has had a slow recovery over the summer, and he faces more surgery in a month or so. It’s definitely tested the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” vows we made decades ago. My writing has taken a back seat—waaay in the back of the bus—although I was able to finish the last thing I had under contract that was due in July. I’m just now getting immersed in something new, though the ever-present worry and stress seems to be a bit strangling. But I know things could have been so much worse, so I’m off to write a little right now!

    Reply
  5. I’m inspired this morning by your honest answers.My husband was critically ill this spring,has had a slow recovery over the summer, and he faces more surgery in a month or so. It’s definitely tested the “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” vows we made decades ago. My writing has taken a back seat—waaay in the back of the bus—although I was able to finish the last thing I had under contract that was due in July. I’m just now getting immersed in something new, though the ever-present worry and stress seems to be a bit strangling. But I know things could have been so much worse, so I’m off to write a little right now!

    Reply
  6. Hi ladies, and thanks for using my question! Mary Jo, I look forward to receiving your book in my mailbox!
    I guess my question was prompted by my mother’s recent health scare. Thankfully, it was only a small stroke, and she’s back home and as good as new. But I did find it hard to write while she was hospitalized and for a few weeks afterward.
    That said, a year before my father passed away, he was hospitalized for almost a month after a heart attack. At that time I was unpublished, so I didn’t have any deadlines, but I found writing a work in progress therapeutic. When he died, a month before my first book was released, I stopped writing completely for several months, and found focusing on publicity, book signings, and a few local appearance helped to keep the grief at bay.
    As some of you have said, reading is great therapy. There’s nothing like submerging yourself in another world to take your mind off your real-life problems.
    And Mary Jo, as you said, having a support network is a godsend. I don’t know what I’d have done without my family and friends.

    Reply
  7. Hi ladies, and thanks for using my question! Mary Jo, I look forward to receiving your book in my mailbox!
    I guess my question was prompted by my mother’s recent health scare. Thankfully, it was only a small stroke, and she’s back home and as good as new. But I did find it hard to write while she was hospitalized and for a few weeks afterward.
    That said, a year before my father passed away, he was hospitalized for almost a month after a heart attack. At that time I was unpublished, so I didn’t have any deadlines, but I found writing a work in progress therapeutic. When he died, a month before my first book was released, I stopped writing completely for several months, and found focusing on publicity, book signings, and a few local appearance helped to keep the grief at bay.
    As some of you have said, reading is great therapy. There’s nothing like submerging yourself in another world to take your mind off your real-life problems.
    And Mary Jo, as you said, having a support network is a godsend. I don’t know what I’d have done without my family and friends.

    Reply
  8. Hi ladies, and thanks for using my question! Mary Jo, I look forward to receiving your book in my mailbox!
    I guess my question was prompted by my mother’s recent health scare. Thankfully, it was only a small stroke, and she’s back home and as good as new. But I did find it hard to write while she was hospitalized and for a few weeks afterward.
    That said, a year before my father passed away, he was hospitalized for almost a month after a heart attack. At that time I was unpublished, so I didn’t have any deadlines, but I found writing a work in progress therapeutic. When he died, a month before my first book was released, I stopped writing completely for several months, and found focusing on publicity, book signings, and a few local appearance helped to keep the grief at bay.
    As some of you have said, reading is great therapy. There’s nothing like submerging yourself in another world to take your mind off your real-life problems.
    And Mary Jo, as you said, having a support network is a godsend. I don’t know what I’d have done without my family and friends.

    Reply
  9. Hi ladies, and thanks for using my question! Mary Jo, I look forward to receiving your book in my mailbox!
    I guess my question was prompted by my mother’s recent health scare. Thankfully, it was only a small stroke, and she’s back home and as good as new. But I did find it hard to write while she was hospitalized and for a few weeks afterward.
    That said, a year before my father passed away, he was hospitalized for almost a month after a heart attack. At that time I was unpublished, so I didn’t have any deadlines, but I found writing a work in progress therapeutic. When he died, a month before my first book was released, I stopped writing completely for several months, and found focusing on publicity, book signings, and a few local appearance helped to keep the grief at bay.
    As some of you have said, reading is great therapy. There’s nothing like submerging yourself in another world to take your mind off your real-life problems.
    And Mary Jo, as you said, having a support network is a godsend. I don’t know what I’d have done without my family and friends.

    Reply
  10. Hi ladies, and thanks for using my question! Mary Jo, I look forward to receiving your book in my mailbox!
    I guess my question was prompted by my mother’s recent health scare. Thankfully, it was only a small stroke, and she’s back home and as good as new. But I did find it hard to write while she was hospitalized and for a few weeks afterward.
    That said, a year before my father passed away, he was hospitalized for almost a month after a heart attack. At that time I was unpublished, so I didn’t have any deadlines, but I found writing a work in progress therapeutic. When he died, a month before my first book was released, I stopped writing completely for several months, and found focusing on publicity, book signings, and a few local appearance helped to keep the grief at bay.
    As some of you have said, reading is great therapy. There’s nothing like submerging yourself in another world to take your mind off your real-life problems.
    And Mary Jo, as you said, having a support network is a godsend. I don’t know what I’d have done without my family and friends.

    Reply
  11. From MJP:
    Maggie, how fortunate that you were able to meet your deadline and now have some breathing room to deal with your husband’s illness. (It’s amazing you were able to get that July book in!
    Sometimes, Art just has to take a back seat to Life.

    Reply
  12. From MJP:
    Maggie, how fortunate that you were able to meet your deadline and now have some breathing room to deal with your husband’s illness. (It’s amazing you were able to get that July book in!
    Sometimes, Art just has to take a back seat to Life.

    Reply
  13. From MJP:
    Maggie, how fortunate that you were able to meet your deadline and now have some breathing room to deal with your husband’s illness. (It’s amazing you were able to get that July book in!
    Sometimes, Art just has to take a back seat to Life.

    Reply
  14. From MJP:
    Maggie, how fortunate that you were able to meet your deadline and now have some breathing room to deal with your husband’s illness. (It’s amazing you were able to get that July book in!
    Sometimes, Art just has to take a back seat to Life.

    Reply
  15. From MJP:
    Maggie, how fortunate that you were able to meet your deadline and now have some breathing room to deal with your husband’s illness. (It’s amazing you were able to get that July book in!
    Sometimes, Art just has to take a back seat to Life.

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    Cynthia–your experience shows how variably life trauma can affect our work. Sometimes writing is therapeutic, sometimes it’s impossible.
    Like you and several others have said, I find reading a great blessing in difficult times. In particular, I go back over and over to some of my comfort reads by beloved authors that I know will make me feel better.

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    Cynthia–your experience shows how variably life trauma can affect our work. Sometimes writing is therapeutic, sometimes it’s impossible.
    Like you and several others have said, I find reading a great blessing in difficult times. In particular, I go back over and over to some of my comfort reads by beloved authors that I know will make me feel better.

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    Cynthia–your experience shows how variably life trauma can affect our work. Sometimes writing is therapeutic, sometimes it’s impossible.
    Like you and several others have said, I find reading a great blessing in difficult times. In particular, I go back over and over to some of my comfort reads by beloved authors that I know will make me feel better.

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    Cynthia–your experience shows how variably life trauma can affect our work. Sometimes writing is therapeutic, sometimes it’s impossible.
    Like you and several others have said, I find reading a great blessing in difficult times. In particular, I go back over and over to some of my comfort reads by beloved authors that I know will make me feel better.

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    Cynthia–your experience shows how variably life trauma can affect our work. Sometimes writing is therapeutic, sometimes it’s impossible.
    Like you and several others have said, I find reading a great blessing in difficult times. In particular, I go back over and over to some of my comfort reads by beloved authors that I know will make me feel better.

    Reply
  21. I too, am a reader rather than a writer during really stressful times. We’ve had a terrible year with DD2 to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on the stories I was writing and went back to beloved books, the comfort food for my mind, to escape the pain and anger I was feeling. I’d tried to keep writing, but all that pain and anger poured out on to the page and that was not the way I wanted to write.
    It’s getting better, I’m writing again and trying to finish something that was a full request that I decided I needed to revise first (does any author really like their finished story? Isn’t there always something after the fact you really need to change?
    But it’s been a long road this year. Really long…
    Great question and the answers were enlightening. :o)

    Reply
  22. I too, am a reader rather than a writer during really stressful times. We’ve had a terrible year with DD2 to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on the stories I was writing and went back to beloved books, the comfort food for my mind, to escape the pain and anger I was feeling. I’d tried to keep writing, but all that pain and anger poured out on to the page and that was not the way I wanted to write.
    It’s getting better, I’m writing again and trying to finish something that was a full request that I decided I needed to revise first (does any author really like their finished story? Isn’t there always something after the fact you really need to change?
    But it’s been a long road this year. Really long…
    Great question and the answers were enlightening. :o)

    Reply
  23. I too, am a reader rather than a writer during really stressful times. We’ve had a terrible year with DD2 to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on the stories I was writing and went back to beloved books, the comfort food for my mind, to escape the pain and anger I was feeling. I’d tried to keep writing, but all that pain and anger poured out on to the page and that was not the way I wanted to write.
    It’s getting better, I’m writing again and trying to finish something that was a full request that I decided I needed to revise first (does any author really like their finished story? Isn’t there always something after the fact you really need to change?
    But it’s been a long road this year. Really long…
    Great question and the answers were enlightening. :o)

    Reply
  24. I too, am a reader rather than a writer during really stressful times. We’ve had a terrible year with DD2 to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on the stories I was writing and went back to beloved books, the comfort food for my mind, to escape the pain and anger I was feeling. I’d tried to keep writing, but all that pain and anger poured out on to the page and that was not the way I wanted to write.
    It’s getting better, I’m writing again and trying to finish something that was a full request that I decided I needed to revise first (does any author really like their finished story? Isn’t there always something after the fact you really need to change?
    But it’s been a long road this year. Really long…
    Great question and the answers were enlightening. :o)

    Reply
  25. I too, am a reader rather than a writer during really stressful times. We’ve had a terrible year with DD2 to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on the stories I was writing and went back to beloved books, the comfort food for my mind, to escape the pain and anger I was feeling. I’d tried to keep writing, but all that pain and anger poured out on to the page and that was not the way I wanted to write.
    It’s getting better, I’m writing again and trying to finish something that was a full request that I decided I needed to revise first (does any author really like their finished story? Isn’t there always something after the fact you really need to change?
    But it’s been a long road this year. Really long…
    Great question and the answers were enlightening. :o)

    Reply
  26. Hugs, Thea! There are some years we need to just fast forward through. I think those of us who love reading have an advantage because beloved book give us sanctuary when we need it.
    Are authors ever satisfied with their works? For me, when it’s heading into production and there isn’t any more I can do–then I let go and stop fussing. But not before then.

    Reply
  27. Hugs, Thea! There are some years we need to just fast forward through. I think those of us who love reading have an advantage because beloved book give us sanctuary when we need it.
    Are authors ever satisfied with their works? For me, when it’s heading into production and there isn’t any more I can do–then I let go and stop fussing. But not before then.

    Reply
  28. Hugs, Thea! There are some years we need to just fast forward through. I think those of us who love reading have an advantage because beloved book give us sanctuary when we need it.
    Are authors ever satisfied with their works? For me, when it’s heading into production and there isn’t any more I can do–then I let go and stop fussing. But not before then.

    Reply
  29. Hugs, Thea! There are some years we need to just fast forward through. I think those of us who love reading have an advantage because beloved book give us sanctuary when we need it.
    Are authors ever satisfied with their works? For me, when it’s heading into production and there isn’t any more I can do–then I let go and stop fussing. But not before then.

    Reply
  30. Hugs, Thea! There are some years we need to just fast forward through. I think those of us who love reading have an advantage because beloved book give us sanctuary when we need it.
    Are authors ever satisfied with their works? For me, when it’s heading into production and there isn’t any more I can do–then I let go and stop fussing. But not before then.

    Reply
  31. Great insight, ladies. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    When things really hit bottom I cling to my comfort reads and keep one or two of them handy at all times. It is so much easier to withdraw into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe stress.
    I sang onstage during some of the most difficult times of my life, but I don’t recommend it. Contractual obligations can be a great motivation. And actually, I found when I was onstage surrounded by the music, breathing and feeling and creating it – everything else just fell away. Once the curtain came down it was tough, but sometimes it really was the only thing that kept me going.
    Sometimes writing is like that for me. Do I have days and weeks when I can’t put a word on the page? Absolutely. But sometimes walking into that world I’ve created helps, even if it is just for a little while.

    Reply
  32. Great insight, ladies. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    When things really hit bottom I cling to my comfort reads and keep one or two of them handy at all times. It is so much easier to withdraw into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe stress.
    I sang onstage during some of the most difficult times of my life, but I don’t recommend it. Contractual obligations can be a great motivation. And actually, I found when I was onstage surrounded by the music, breathing and feeling and creating it – everything else just fell away. Once the curtain came down it was tough, but sometimes it really was the only thing that kept me going.
    Sometimes writing is like that for me. Do I have days and weeks when I can’t put a word on the page? Absolutely. But sometimes walking into that world I’ve created helps, even if it is just for a little while.

    Reply
  33. Great insight, ladies. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    When things really hit bottom I cling to my comfort reads and keep one or two of them handy at all times. It is so much easier to withdraw into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe stress.
    I sang onstage during some of the most difficult times of my life, but I don’t recommend it. Contractual obligations can be a great motivation. And actually, I found when I was onstage surrounded by the music, breathing and feeling and creating it – everything else just fell away. Once the curtain came down it was tough, but sometimes it really was the only thing that kept me going.
    Sometimes writing is like that for me. Do I have days and weeks when I can’t put a word on the page? Absolutely. But sometimes walking into that world I’ve created helps, even if it is just for a little while.

    Reply
  34. Great insight, ladies. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    When things really hit bottom I cling to my comfort reads and keep one or two of them handy at all times. It is so much easier to withdraw into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe stress.
    I sang onstage during some of the most difficult times of my life, but I don’t recommend it. Contractual obligations can be a great motivation. And actually, I found when I was onstage surrounded by the music, breathing and feeling and creating it – everything else just fell away. Once the curtain came down it was tough, but sometimes it really was the only thing that kept me going.
    Sometimes writing is like that for me. Do I have days and weeks when I can’t put a word on the page? Absolutely. But sometimes walking into that world I’ve created helps, even if it is just for a little while.

    Reply
  35. Great insight, ladies. Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    When things really hit bottom I cling to my comfort reads and keep one or two of them handy at all times. It is so much easier to withdraw into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe stress.
    I sang onstage during some of the most difficult times of my life, but I don’t recommend it. Contractual obligations can be a great motivation. And actually, I found when I was onstage surrounded by the music, breathing and feeling and creating it – everything else just fell away. Once the curtain came down it was tough, but sometimes it really was the only thing that kept me going.
    Sometimes writing is like that for me. Do I have days and weeks when I can’t put a word on the page? Absolutely. But sometimes walking into that world I’ve created helps, even if it is just for a little while.

    Reply
  36. When I have hit tough times and periods of painful loss, I have never stopped the social writing – emails, discussion groups, twitter and the like – but I have put other serious work aside. It probably sounds airheaded, but somehow there was always a TV series that absorbed me and blunted the pain until I could grow some new scar tissue over the wounds. Over the years, it’s been Star Trek, Remington Steele, X Files and now Torchwood and Doctor Who. I am absurdly grateful to those wonderful writers and actors who engaged my imagination in dark times.
    The other thing is, of course, good friends. I am blessed to have half a dozen or so very close and caring friends. God knows why they put up with me, but they do, and I am truly grateful for their support.

    Reply
  37. When I have hit tough times and periods of painful loss, I have never stopped the social writing – emails, discussion groups, twitter and the like – but I have put other serious work aside. It probably sounds airheaded, but somehow there was always a TV series that absorbed me and blunted the pain until I could grow some new scar tissue over the wounds. Over the years, it’s been Star Trek, Remington Steele, X Files and now Torchwood and Doctor Who. I am absurdly grateful to those wonderful writers and actors who engaged my imagination in dark times.
    The other thing is, of course, good friends. I am blessed to have half a dozen or so very close and caring friends. God knows why they put up with me, but they do, and I am truly grateful for their support.

    Reply
  38. When I have hit tough times and periods of painful loss, I have never stopped the social writing – emails, discussion groups, twitter and the like – but I have put other serious work aside. It probably sounds airheaded, but somehow there was always a TV series that absorbed me and blunted the pain until I could grow some new scar tissue over the wounds. Over the years, it’s been Star Trek, Remington Steele, X Files and now Torchwood and Doctor Who. I am absurdly grateful to those wonderful writers and actors who engaged my imagination in dark times.
    The other thing is, of course, good friends. I am blessed to have half a dozen or so very close and caring friends. God knows why they put up with me, but they do, and I am truly grateful for their support.

    Reply
  39. When I have hit tough times and periods of painful loss, I have never stopped the social writing – emails, discussion groups, twitter and the like – but I have put other serious work aside. It probably sounds airheaded, but somehow there was always a TV series that absorbed me and blunted the pain until I could grow some new scar tissue over the wounds. Over the years, it’s been Star Trek, Remington Steele, X Files and now Torchwood and Doctor Who. I am absurdly grateful to those wonderful writers and actors who engaged my imagination in dark times.
    The other thing is, of course, good friends. I am blessed to have half a dozen or so very close and caring friends. God knows why they put up with me, but they do, and I am truly grateful for their support.

    Reply
  40. When I have hit tough times and periods of painful loss, I have never stopped the social writing – emails, discussion groups, twitter and the like – but I have put other serious work aside. It probably sounds airheaded, but somehow there was always a TV series that absorbed me and blunted the pain until I could grow some new scar tissue over the wounds. Over the years, it’s been Star Trek, Remington Steele, X Files and now Torchwood and Doctor Who. I am absurdly grateful to those wonderful writers and actors who engaged my imagination in dark times.
    The other thing is, of course, good friends. I am blessed to have half a dozen or so very close and caring friends. God knows why they put up with me, but they do, and I am truly grateful for their support.

    Reply
  41. I am a reader and I have to say I am grateful to all of the authors who help me get thru the tough times that I go thru becasue I turn to books they take me away from the daily stresses to give me a break.
    A great question and great answers Ladies
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  42. I am a reader and I have to say I am grateful to all of the authors who help me get thru the tough times that I go thru becasue I turn to books they take me away from the daily stresses to give me a break.
    A great question and great answers Ladies
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  43. I am a reader and I have to say I am grateful to all of the authors who help me get thru the tough times that I go thru becasue I turn to books they take me away from the daily stresses to give me a break.
    A great question and great answers Ladies
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  44. I am a reader and I have to say I am grateful to all of the authors who help me get thru the tough times that I go thru becasue I turn to books they take me away from the daily stresses to give me a break.
    A great question and great answers Ladies
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  45. I am a reader and I have to say I am grateful to all of the authors who help me get thru the tough times that I go thru becasue I turn to books they take me away from the daily stresses to give me a break.
    A great question and great answers Ladies
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  46. Louisa–
    It’s interesting but probably not surprising that singing was able to take you into another world when you needed to escape this one. Returning to our comfort reads is surely easier than being a professional level singer , but whatever works.
    Thanks for sharing–

    Reply
  47. Louisa–
    It’s interesting but probably not surprising that singing was able to take you into another world when you needed to escape this one. Returning to our comfort reads is surely easier than being a professional level singer , but whatever works.
    Thanks for sharing–

    Reply
  48. Louisa–
    It’s interesting but probably not surprising that singing was able to take you into another world when you needed to escape this one. Returning to our comfort reads is surely easier than being a professional level singer , but whatever works.
    Thanks for sharing–

    Reply
  49. Louisa–
    It’s interesting but probably not surprising that singing was able to take you into another world when you needed to escape this one. Returning to our comfort reads is surely easier than being a professional level singer , but whatever works.
    Thanks for sharing–

    Reply
  50. Louisa–
    It’s interesting but probably not surprising that singing was able to take you into another world when you needed to escape this one. Returning to our comfort reads is surely easier than being a professional level singer , but whatever works.
    Thanks for sharing–

    Reply
  51. Janice–
    I also found that the social writing–e-mail, sending out e-mail updates on a loved one’s condition, that sort of thing–were helpful, even necessary, since they represent support.
    I can also understand who a compelling TV series can be balm for a bruised spirit.
    And, of course, close friends. They put up with us so that we’ll be there to put up with them when they need it.

    Reply
  52. Janice–
    I also found that the social writing–e-mail, sending out e-mail updates on a loved one’s condition, that sort of thing–were helpful, even necessary, since they represent support.
    I can also understand who a compelling TV series can be balm for a bruised spirit.
    And, of course, close friends. They put up with us so that we’ll be there to put up with them when they need it.

    Reply
  53. Janice–
    I also found that the social writing–e-mail, sending out e-mail updates on a loved one’s condition, that sort of thing–were helpful, even necessary, since they represent support.
    I can also understand who a compelling TV series can be balm for a bruised spirit.
    And, of course, close friends. They put up with us so that we’ll be there to put up with them when they need it.

    Reply
  54. Janice–
    I also found that the social writing–e-mail, sending out e-mail updates on a loved one’s condition, that sort of thing–were helpful, even necessary, since they represent support.
    I can also understand who a compelling TV series can be balm for a bruised spirit.
    And, of course, close friends. They put up with us so that we’ll be there to put up with them when they need it.

    Reply
  55. Janice–
    I also found that the social writing–e-mail, sending out e-mail updates on a loved one’s condition, that sort of thing–were helpful, even necessary, since they represent support.
    I can also understand who a compelling TV series can be balm for a bruised spirit.
    And, of course, close friends. They put up with us so that we’ll be there to put up with them when they need it.

    Reply
  56. Sherrie, here. I make difficult times work for me in my writing. I can write, rain or shine, happy or sad. When my mother died a few years ago, I used my grief to write one of the best grief scenes I’ve ever written. In a way, it was wallowing in the grief, overloading on grief, and when I was finished with the grief scene, I felt cleansed. I also felt the scene was authentic.
    When I’ve been depressed for whatever reason, I’ve used that depression to write “deep” poetry.
    Grief is energy, and if one can find a way to harness that energy into a creative outlet, I find that it helps resolve the grief.

    Reply
  57. Sherrie, here. I make difficult times work for me in my writing. I can write, rain or shine, happy or sad. When my mother died a few years ago, I used my grief to write one of the best grief scenes I’ve ever written. In a way, it was wallowing in the grief, overloading on grief, and when I was finished with the grief scene, I felt cleansed. I also felt the scene was authentic.
    When I’ve been depressed for whatever reason, I’ve used that depression to write “deep” poetry.
    Grief is energy, and if one can find a way to harness that energy into a creative outlet, I find that it helps resolve the grief.

    Reply
  58. Sherrie, here. I make difficult times work for me in my writing. I can write, rain or shine, happy or sad. When my mother died a few years ago, I used my grief to write one of the best grief scenes I’ve ever written. In a way, it was wallowing in the grief, overloading on grief, and when I was finished with the grief scene, I felt cleansed. I also felt the scene was authentic.
    When I’ve been depressed for whatever reason, I’ve used that depression to write “deep” poetry.
    Grief is energy, and if one can find a way to harness that energy into a creative outlet, I find that it helps resolve the grief.

    Reply
  59. Sherrie, here. I make difficult times work for me in my writing. I can write, rain or shine, happy or sad. When my mother died a few years ago, I used my grief to write one of the best grief scenes I’ve ever written. In a way, it was wallowing in the grief, overloading on grief, and when I was finished with the grief scene, I felt cleansed. I also felt the scene was authentic.
    When I’ve been depressed for whatever reason, I’ve used that depression to write “deep” poetry.
    Grief is energy, and if one can find a way to harness that energy into a creative outlet, I find that it helps resolve the grief.

    Reply
  60. Sherrie, here. I make difficult times work for me in my writing. I can write, rain or shine, happy or sad. When my mother died a few years ago, I used my grief to write one of the best grief scenes I’ve ever written. In a way, it was wallowing in the grief, overloading on grief, and when I was finished with the grief scene, I felt cleansed. I also felt the scene was authentic.
    When I’ve been depressed for whatever reason, I’ve used that depression to write “deep” poetry.
    Grief is energy, and if one can find a way to harness that energy into a creative outlet, I find that it helps resolve the grief.

    Reply

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