What would make me quit writing?

Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The awesome co-hosts for the July 7th posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

This month, I will be answering the optional July 7th IWSG question:

What would make me quit writing?

“Nothing could make me quit writing.”

A few years ago, I would have said, “Nothing. It could never happen!” And I would have been confident that I was right. I have always been a writer. Even before I could read and write, I made up poems, songs, and stories that I would memorize and repeat to my family members.

As I grew older, I would pour out all of my feelings into my journals. They were a listening ear for my joys and my fears, my hopes, and my heartbreak.

When I became a Christian, my most powerful prayers were the ones that I would write down. Dear God, I would begin. Then, I would write to Him as though I was writing to my very best friend because I was.

Something did make me quit writing

But sometimes things happen that can shake you to the core, and that’s when the tool that you relied on all of your life suddenly stops working when you need it most. That’s what happened when my husband died.

I felt like my brain was wrapped in wet cotton. I couldn’t explain the pain that I felt, the deep, profound loss of my best friend, lover, and husband. We had spent our marriage side by side, 24/7. We worked together. We did everything together, and we never got tired of one another or irritated with each other. Then, he was gone.

I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t write.

Most days, I could hardly think. There were things of great value that I lost in my home because my mind was so scattered.

I tried group grief therapy, and for a while, it seemed to help. It was like a pressure valve releasing all the tears every Thursday morning. Then, I could get through the rest of the week without crying if I tried not to think about it too much.

Trauma was why I quit writing. I couldn’t do it.

But months later, I was still having nightmares about my husband’s death and about the illness that preceded it. There were days when I couldn’t get out of bed. The therapist who led the group said that I was getting worse when I should have been starting to heal. She was concerned and felt that I needed one-on-one therapy.

She found me a therapist who was in my area, had an opening, and practiced EMDR. She explained what EMDR was and how it could help me to move beyond the trauma of my husband’s death.

Healing Means Writing—Writing is Healing

When I first met my therapist, she said something that surprised me. She said, “We are going to get you writing again.” Somehow, she knew that I needed to write again more than anything. It was part of my healing.

I needed healing, not only from the grief of my husband’s death but from the wounds that I had received earlier in my life. EMDR was a remarkable tool that has reopened not only my ability to write but, more importantly, my ability to write authentically.

I am eliminating fear from my life.

Something might happen that makes you stop writing at some point in your life. It’s okay, for a while, to breathe and grieve and process. But don’t let, quit writing forever. First, you will have to find your way to heal. Then, when you come out on the other side, your writing will be richer for the experience.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

Please share how your writing world is doing in the comments below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below, and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker. My day job is as an SEO Content Writer for a web development company. When I’m not writing website content,  I study mycology, spend time with my kids (and my gerbil) and write. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.



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3 comments on “What would make me quit writing?

I can see how grief would make you stop writing for a while. I’m glad you’re getting the help you need.

How come I can’t find a link to your blog in the #iwsg blog-hop list?

Kathy Voigtlander

Thank you Heather for sharing your heart! My best friend lost her husband a few years ago. Recently he had a birthday and my friend and I talked. She was telling me how hard that day was for her. Can you write a book on how to help friends and family cope with this death lose?
Keep writing!!

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