Writing through Grief

It’s been 9 months.


My son had cystic fibrosis and he passed away 9 months ago. This is the first time I’ve even lightly posted about it. It’s still much too raw and painful. He was 14.

I understand grief, understand the 7 steps of mourning and the myriad of emotions that crashes through you. What I didn’t realize was how that would affect my writing.

I had no idea grief would sabotage my writing confidence.

Everything I’ve worked so hard for over decades years is shattered. Poof. Gone.


No one wants to read this.

Your characters are too sad.

I thought you knew how to string together a sentence.

No wonder your agent can’t sell your work.

You don’t deserve to succeed.

Give up. You don’t have the energy for this.


I feel like screaming at those inner voices as George Hamiliton did in Love at First Bite “Children of the Night…Shut up!”


So, my new mantra: I’m not a quitter, not a quitter, not a quitter.


I sit down and just start writing, giving myself permission to write badly, if I should punch through and get it done and something surprising happens.

My normal teenage heroine all of a sudden has a sibling who died in her back story and she is screaming at her love interest about how he doesn’t understand…what tragedy has he ever experienced in his life that gives him the right to tell her how to feel?


I bang my head against the table. Is this all I can produce now? Angsty grief-driven characters? I just want to write stories, not go through therapy while doing it.


Then again, maybe that’s all there is left. Pushing through. I’ll let the characters grieve, let them flow however they will and maybe I’ll come through the end of it with a little healing on my own. Who can say? I’ll let you know how it goes as I continue these posts on writing past grief.


10 thoughts on “Writing through Grief

  1. As someone who has lost someone dear, I know words cannot do justice to the emotions you are feeling.

    In regards to your writing I say like your emotions flow through that keyboard onto the monitor. Some of the best books I have read were in regards to the author reliving a tragic moment or working through something difficult through their story. The reason is because it seems so real, even if the person reading it has never gone through those feelings, they can feel the truth of it.

    Use that emotion and pain, don’t let it use you.

  2. At nearly 84 years of age, married 54 1/2 years, confronted with the unexpected death of my wife, all in a matter of the matter of three weeks, I inititated a daily dairy with the clear intent of writing every thought and emotiom. Some times it was kind of nasty, I didn’t want to write but did it anyways adding that to the diary. It has been most helpful and at the two plus year mark I am feeling alive again. Many things could be said and I have shared a bit on my blog.I guess my link shows on this reply. Hang in there!!

    Owen Ireland

  3. I like what taurean said. There’s a truism in theatre and most of us are ashamed, but let me walk you through it briefly: when A died it hurt a lot but there was this horrible inner voice that said “don’t hold it, you can SO use this on stage.” I am ashamed. But there you have it and honestly I think that’s what makes a good actor or a good writer in your case. You have to be fearless enough to use what you feel because your reader can detect B.S. but they can also detect sincerety. That’s how you connect with the reader through your writing. So write what you must and throw out what you have to, but don’t be afraid to keep some of it either.

  4. Dear CC, I called in because you visited my blog and commented on the enamel picture.
    I read your post here and feel for you. May you keep your courage and strength.
    best wishes
    Harry Nicholson

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