Face the Fears and the Tears – Write Through the Pain!
You want make a difference by sharing experiences, but writing through the pain when exploring difficult parts of your life can be like walking through an emotional minefield.
Over the past few days, I experienced a minefield as I was searching for good topics for my blog. Determined to share some of my painful experiences, I ventured into areas I had avoided in the past and it was not easy. I would pick a topic, begin to write, and without warning, unexpected painful emotions would stop me in my tracks.
In an effort to avoid the pain, I would move onto another topic and WHAM — I would be hit again.
It felt like I was at war with my emotions.
I finally realized that in order to share my most valuable life lessons, I would have to write through the pain.
Writing Through the Pain
Life is always challenging and can sometimes be a bitch!
I have to admit that my 83 years have been a mixed bag of experiences – a multitude of joyous triumphs and far too many painful mistakes. It is from the latter that I learned some of life’s best lessons, which I want to share with my readers.
The problem is that over time I have buried the emotional pain connected to those experiences and when I start to write about them, the pain grabs me and won’t let go.
I struggled with how to write through the pain so my shared experiences are meaningful and useful to others.
The solution to my problem came when I established a three-step process:
1. Scan through my experiences and pick a topic
This is not always easy because I can quickly divert my attention to “safer” topics when my stomach begins to clinch and I feel tears building, ready to flow over the dam of self-control. However, I have learned to use those as indicators that I am on the right path, and I push forward. The tears may fall, but I keep going.
2. Do the research
To give my reader’s the best possible perspective on a particular type of experience or life lesson, I use the wisdom from minds much greater than my own as the foundation.
I read article after article, download and scan eBooks, and spend time on the Internet going deeper into my research. The amount of information available is endless and can make the work daunting, but I stay with it until I have enough to write a meaningful piece.
3. Write through the pain
Inevitably the pain will erupt. The challenge is to write through the pain; to slog through the emotions attached to the memories and to acknowledge the deeply-felt hurts that erupt when I explore a topic connected to an experience that left emotional scars.
Sometimes, I must write through my tears, trying to focus on the job at hand. I tell myself that if my thoughts and words can help a single person, struggling with my own feelings is a small price to pay.
But . . . sometimes, the research rips open a wound I thought was healed. At that moment, all I can think about is the loss or miserable failure that left me broken. It’s a waking nightmare that must suppress so I can continue with the work. It is exhausting.
Is It Worth It?
I’m old and I want to be a good writer whose words can make a difference. Yet, I often wonder if all the effort is worth it. Does it matter if I write well, or not; or if I even write at all? Is it really worth opening old wounds on the slight chance that what I write may be read and valued by someone?
My long-time friend, self-doubt, is ever-present. The emotional obstacles are huge and I occasionally tell myself that I’m too old to be facing such a challenge.
But, the question in my heart is: “If I don’t write, who am I?”
Succumbing to self-doubt and accepting the idea that I have nothing offer— day-after-day — is far worse than reliving painful memories. At least, my writing reminds me that once upon a time I had a life and actively contributed to the world.
And maybe . . . just maybe . . . the words I manage to put on paper now will make a difference in someone else’s life. It will be my way of contributing once again.
I hope so.
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. - RUMI Click To TweetThe wound is the place where the Light enters you. – RUMI