When writing stories/books, I try to adhere to three things. One, I don’t wait for the perfect moment. I don’t need a clean house, quiet surroundings or a certain hour. to write. Those may never come, so I make the moment. My first two books were written at four in the morning, before my day job, at lunch, in the mids to a crying toddler in the library, and in chaotic restaurants. Anywhere and any time I could squeeze in, I did. Those were my moments.
Two, I don’t wait for inspiration. I write even when feeling not particularly creative. I go with what I do feel at the time. Take for instance, after Peter died. I put aside my romance writing and delved into my blogs about feelings of widowhood because I had to; because a friend told me to write what I know. And that is what I know…what I still know, so I still have to. My muse in me screamed ‘do this and then we’ll get back to romance’, so I did. It still yells at me, almost every morning, to write this. I go with it. My Muse can be very persistent.
And three, I write and I write and I write, tuning out the thoughts of uncertainty and its cousin, insecurity. Even when I write crap, I write. Even when it might not flow, I write. Even if I change a character, a setting, a plotline mid-story, I write. I write and tell myself, I’ll fix it in the edits. I write and figure it out later. Well, at least this is what I try to do. But this one, number three, is particularly hard for me. I do battle with my confidence while writing. I hold onto perfection and sensibility instead of trusting the process even with examples showing me my best work is when I let go.
I bring up what I try to accomplish in my writing process, because yesterday, I had a thought. My writing process is a lot like how I have dealt with the past five months since Peter died, and how I need to keep dealing. Not all the time, mind you, but when I look at my strongest moments, this is how I got it done. This is how I dealt with insurance companies, getting an apartment, trying something new, moving past the loneliness, rising when I fell and how I keep on keeping on. I dealt, deal, with all of it like a writer.
I do not wait for any perfect moment. I don’t wait for my grief to subside. I don’t wait for my deep longing for once way to go away. And I don’t wait for someone to swoop in and do any of this for me. Because I know, to the core of me I know, none of this would happen. So, I move with my grief, my deep longing, and knowing there is no one to take over for me. Not sure if it is actually strength in me, but rather reality that keeps me moving.
I do not wait to in a good place to continue on. I accomplish things in my deepest sadness. Even when depression stops me and creates a ball of an emotional mess, I roll along, faking it or with my heart on my sleeve in broken pieces. That heart is what told me I needed to get back to the city to heel. It was my heart that first told me, and keeps on reminding me, the life I once had was over and now was the time to lay some groundwork for a new one. It scared me then and it scares me now, yet there is no stopping it. None. I will never be the same since half of me died with Peter. Never.
And finally, the hardest of all, to trust in me. I had to, and have to continue, to trust in my decisions. I have to look at the ones I tried on and didn’t fit, because eventually, I will get the glass slipper that fits perfectly. If something doesn’t work, I can’t stop because then I may never know what does work. And, I have to be patient and repeat to myself “I’ll figure it out” whether it’s now or later, I will figure it out. I have to keep on keeping on, even if I stumble once in a while. When I look back at the times I went with my gut and trusted myself and the process, those were the best-written sentences in this story as a widow, this story without Peter.
Now I know, and I’ve said this so many times my vocal cords are hurting from these words, I could not have gotten as far as I have without the support of some amazing people. I know this. I think everyone I talked to, who read this blog, knows this. And it has helped me in this process. I also know I have a loooong way to go as you have read in my blog about this bipolar journey of grief. I know this too well as I see and feel Grief’s other foot hovering over me every day, ready to drop itself on me. However, I have made it this far and this far is all I’ve written.
Some people have been complimentary about my progress. Some have thought I’ve come too far, too soon, whatever that means. Some people have described me as a person I don’t really know – strong and resilient. I don’t really know her because she’s so brand new to me. And, in reality, I’m only doing what I know, what I can do, what I have to do, with what was handed me. It doesn’t matter if I wanted it. It’s here. And I move with it.
Sure, I could have stopped. I could have just gotten out of bed at this point. I could have said, ‘the hell with it’ and stop moving altogether. Others have and I understand that appeal. No judgement. I get it. But it’s not me, at least the me I am beginning to understand better. See, the writer in me, the one who tries to adhere to three things in her process, gently told asked, “but then how will you continue to write your story?”. So, I had to keep moving my way, the way of a writer.