It’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post to boost my confidence and encourage myself to engage with the writing community. The IWSG post on the first Wednesday of every month.
This month I’ve been steadily working through the first draft of my WiP. It’s frustrating that I don’t have more time to work on it, but I know I’ll get their eventually so I’m trying to write little and often. The story is taking on a life of its own now and I’m excited to see how my characters develop.
This month’s optional question:
How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?
Content warning: This post contains a general discussion of bereavement.
This is a really interesting question. It really depends on the situation and type of event in my case. Some major life events give me inspiration for my writing and a deeper understanding of my characters. Since having my daughter, for example, I’m now more drawn to writing about mother and child relationships and I feel I can portray parents more realistically now I have first-hand experience of raising a child.
Unsettling changes like bereavement can go either way. Sometimes, I find myself completely blocked and unable to write for months. Other times, I find writing about my grief and pain cathartic, so I use it as a tool to express what I can’t articulate verbally. When I was suffering from depression, writing and blogging helped me to connect with my inner self again and were instrumental in my recovery. I firmly believe in the healing power of words.
I will never forget an experience I had during high school English class when I was about 15. We were asked to write a short story and mine was about a young girl who dreamed of following in her mother’s footsteps to become a champion high diver. Her mother had passed away several years ago in a diving accident and her overprotective father would not allow her to compete. The story was about him battling with his grief and eventually learning to give his daughter the freedom to pursue her dreams.
When my teacher gave me back my story, (which I think achieved a C grade) I was shocked by her reaction. She very angrily told me: “You don’t write about that.” I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. She continued, “If you’d gone through it, you wouldn’t write about it.”
The story was eventually remarked by a different teacher and given a much higher grade, but that wasn’t the point. I was really confused and upset by the message I was given. No, I hadn’t gone through the death of a parent, but I had experienced grief. I knew what it felt like to lose someone you love. I didn’t and still don’t agree that it is wrong to write about death. I completely understand that some people don’t want to write or read about it, but I know there are others that do. Death and bereavement are things we all have to go through at some point, but we all deal with it in different ways. For some of us, writing about difficult personal experiences is not only helpful but necessary.
I can only assume that my story had triggered unpleasant memories for my teacher, and for
What are your thoughts?
How do major life events affect your writing? Do you think there are certain topics that we shouldn’t write about? If you’re a reader, do you appreciate trigger warnings?