Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dear Diary...

Apologies up front—this blog post is going to read like a long, spastic, uncensored journal entry. And more apologies for taking forever to write it.

The past 18 months have been pretty difficult for me and my family. We’ve suffered 3 different, yet equally significant losses, faced struggles I only ever feared until recently, and I’ve lost most of my mojo. And by mojo, I mean my inspiration, my motivation, my determination and any shred of confidence I may have been holding on to.

The funny thing about loss (and by loss I mean death of a loved one) is that it changes you. For some maybe the change is temporary, for others (like me) permanent. Each loss took something away from me, and though I can’t exactly place my finger on what it took, I know on some level it’s really gone, like the existence of the loved one who’s past, though still consciously hard to believe. Every single time I’ve started to crawl out of my hole and start the true recovery process, BAM! I’m hit with yet another loss. It’s starting to scare me. Naturally, I'm reluctant to try the climb again.

The same goes for struggle. I try my hardest to remain positive, but when the blows keep coming, each hit is harder and harder to get up from. I’ve said it before; I’m an incredibly strong person, to a fault. But even the strongest fall eventually. I’m hanging on that cliff’s edge by the tips of my fingers.

I don’t want to discount the positive things that have occurred over the past 18 months—most significant would be the birth of my second son, Tyler. I’m eternally grateful for having another happy, healthy baby, and along with my oldest son, they are the true bright spot in all this darkness I’m enshrouded by. My world revolves around them. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve actually relied on them to carry me forward each day. That’s the other problem with being the strongest…people rely on you to be their rock, but who can be mine?

It’s not easy in the least to smile each day, drag myself out of bed and continue to live life like I’m supposed to. In times of difficulty, writing used to be my outlet, the place I’d go to escape my world. Hard times used to spur me forward, more determined than the last time. But now, I don’t know… I truly struggle with the prospect of writing another word, it’s the exact reason I’ve delayed writing a blog post for so long. I go through the motions, but that intensity I used to feel is muted to a dull ache. I don’t really listen to music or read the way I used to, and when I try to, a glimmer returns, but something quickly fizzles it out. I miss writer me. I miss reader me. I miss music-loving, passionate, driven, completely happy me. I miss it all.

If I wrote everything I’ve been going through, you guys wouldn’t believe me. I swear I should write it all out; it’d make a great soap opera/drama. And looking back at everything I’ve written here, I can see where I stopped being me, and started writing what I thought people wanted to read, I didn’t want to come off as unhappy and negative. I’ve been pretending I’m okay when I’m really not. Simply because people don’t like drama, and that’s all I’ve mostly faced. That was my first mistake. I always need to remain true to my core. I’m an organic writer, after all. I'm a little embarrassed of some of my past posts over the last 18 months.

I’ve attempted to force myself back into writing. I’ve interviewed editors, spoke with agents, participated in webinars and clinics. But it’s not helping. I can’t force the words out of me. When I do, it doesn’t feel right. Blog posts sit in files, waiting to be posted for all to read, but they feel like a shell of what I used to write like. I’ve hosted my monthly critique rounds, I’ve given advice and been leaned on, lending the little bit of myself left to those who needed it. I wanted to be there in that capacity, that at least, hasn't changed. I’ve given more of myself to others than I’ve given to me. Maybe that’s the problem. Who knows. I’ve spent my entire life giving, never getting. I don’t typically ask for help, I don’t like to. I’m the helper, not the helpee. I lend advice and tips to other writers based on my personal experiences. I mentor. I’m a critiquer, a beta-reader, an active member of the writing community… And I LOVE what I do, don’t get me wrong, I’m only listing these things because they are a part of my very intricate writing fabric. I’ve depended on these things, as well, to get me through, now that I think about it, but I haven’t done anything to help myself. I’ve pushed it all down deep and buried stuff on top of it, in an attempt to keep it down. Basically, I’ve neglected my own writing. Even my characters have silenced, with the exception of an outburst hear or there.

I can’t do that anymore.

In an attempt to get my writing life back to some semblance of normalcy, I’ll be returning to my writing roots, the place where this blog started. Me, writing entries, in hopes that what I’m saying impacts my readers. I’ll continue to host critique rounds, because I love doing so, but I need some ‘me’ time. My editor of choice will give me a time frame, and in that time frame, I’ll be throwing myself into my work, blogging through it. It’s a last ditch attempt at reigniting my passion for my own writing. I think this editor can help me climb out of this hole and up this mountain. I think asking for his help is what I need to do at this point. Though I will complete any projects I’ve committed to with full vigor, I am probably going to take a step back from taking on any further projects until I’m in a better place with my own writing. I started this journey with the promise to myself to land a traditional publishing deal. It’s time I follow through on my promises to myself, huh? I owe it to myself and to my stories.

I owe it to all of you, as well. You guys have been here, you’ve supported me, and you’ve cheered me on. So I’m asking you now to hold my hand, to be patient with me. To continue to have my back the way you always have. To take negative me for all that I am. Landing a deal is a reward I want to be able to share with all of you, and though it seems impossible to me right now, I know it is. I can do this, with your help and support.

And I apologize for not being honest from the very beginning of my struggles. Even though in my heart I know you’re here to support me and my dreams (as many of you have reminded me time and time again), I didn’t want to burden you with my problems. I don’t plan on unloading my dump truck of problems on you, haha, but I’m going to be much more open and honest again, like I was before I lost the baby. Cause that’s where this difficult road started. I think I’m finally going to see the end of it, now that I can recognize what I need to do. I refuse to let so much time go by between writing posts again, if it can be avoided. I refuse to forget that I am a writer.

As for this month's critique round, it's on hold until tomorrow, when I get the big news on my husband's current health situation. I'm praying for good things from this important appointment, and it would be wonderful if all of you could, too. So if there will be a round, entries will be accepted starting Tuesday, with instructions up tomorrow evening. If not, I'll try and host 2 rounds in either April or May to make it up to everyone.

Lastly, a question: what do YOU do when you're in a true funk? I'd appreciate hearing your tales of struggle and conquer, if you're willing to share.

First thing’s first. Off to talk to my editor. I’ll be back soon, promise.

Wish me luck.


  1. Hi KT,
    I am so sorry you've had such a difficult struggle these 18 months. I can't imagine having to bounce back time after time.

    I'll pray that God will give you comfort as you remember your losses and strength as you continue to face struggles, especially your husband's illness.

    I pray that you will find encouragement as you have given so much of it.

    You (and your blog) were my first introduction to this wondeful and accepting writing community. I stumbled upon MSFV's contest where she mentioned getting logline critique from you.

    Almost three years later, I've written three manuscripts (Riding the Dam, Harold - The Kid Who Ruined My Life..., and The Summer I Started a Business, Solved a Bank Robbery...). I've also sent countless queries, received tons of rejections, and entered quite a few contests.

    I don't have a publishing contract. Heck, I don't even have an agent...yet. But I have hope.

    And my hope for you is you get your mojo back and write like there's no tomorrow. :)

  2. I am so sorry for your losses, and for the pain that you are going through. I just wanted to say that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope that your husband's appointment goes well today.

    I went through a lot of what you describe when I lost my dad. You are right when you say that each loss changes you. I think getting my mojo back involved figuring out who I was after that and what I cared about. And just like I changed, my writing changed. And I don't know if this if helpful at all, but I found some peace by taking a personal retreat. It sounds like you've got some little ones, so maybe that would be hard to swing, but I found that getting away by myself for a weekend at a retreat center - not for writing, but just for being by myself with my thoughts- was what helped me.

    Anyway, I hope that you are able to find your mojo, and find some peace.

    Good luck today, and God bless!


  3. So very sorry for your losses. It sounds like you are still going through a lot and still trying to be strong. So my advice (to take or throw in the garbage) is to be gentle with yourself and give yourself time and permission to grieve and heal. (Maybe talk to a counselor or grief support group--someone who can listen without judging or expecting you to be strong?)
    I'm glad you have your little ones and that you're still able to find joy in them. Maybe focus on those things that do allow you to feel a spark of happiness (?) Eventually those things might lead you (and your writing/creativity) in a new direction. But my advice is not to push yourself. You are not in a "funk;" you have suffered devastating losses and it's OK to allow yourself to feel what you're feeling and not be superwoman.
    I hope I haven't said anything stupid or offensive. Feel free to ignore/delete.
    It takes a lot of courage to write as openly as you did.
    I wish you and your family a bright future!

  4. K.T.,

    I'm so sorry to hear to hear about your troubles. I can't imagine what you're going through, but I hope you can recover your writing mojo and I'm sending good wishes for you and your family.

    I've also been stuck in loops of being so depressed/stressed that I can't (or don't want to) write, then feeling even more depressed/stressed because I'm not writing.

    And I, too, know the pain of losing a baby. There are no words for that kind of pain, and no amount of chocolate can help.

    I don't even know what else to say, except, I appreciate the help you've given through this blog, and I'm sending good vibes, and wish you all the best.

  5. Dear K.T.,
    I am so sorry for all the loss you’ve suffered. To work through one is devastating enough but to face three in a short span is more than most people have to address. Especially the loss of a baby following that of your father, must seem too much was snuffed.
    As so many others will tell you, I’ve been there as well, though my pain isn’t yours and my recovery can only go so far to helping you. You don’t need to apologize for what you think you should have gotten accomplished.
    The routines don’t return exactly as before. New routines enter as spurts of stuff that has to get done and slowly slide into comfortable if annoying ruts, becoming your new routines.
    One day you’ll wake and first see the color of the morning, hear your kids scurrying down the hall, and you’ll stretch before you remember how tough things are. The new order of a difficult couple of years becomes an order you can deal with a bit more easily.
    Give yourself time.
    And, I’m late in thanking you for kindly opening your blog and your resources when my “first page” didn’t make it into MSFV Baker’s Dozen last year. I had a great experience reading the first pages of other writers and getting useful feedback. That’s an accomplishment you should be proud of.
    May your husband have good news. I’m sending you and your family wishes and prayers.

  6. I'm sorry this year and a half has been difficult. I hope motivation and happiness return quickly and that everything works out. I know those are often hollow words, but I mean it. Your blog is already filled with such wonderful articles, interviews, and critiques that I'm sure we readers can keep busy. Take care of yourself.

    HOnestly, after my own personal loss of a different nature I completely shut down on what I should've been doing and burned myself out writing my first book. It was a weird year. After that I got the chance to spend more times with my friends and my support system, so I think it's just a matter of finding yourself and your supportive family (friend or relation) again. It's different for everyone.

    You're amazing, helpful, and I'm sure it will come back in time.

    Take care of yourself first, and we'll be here waiting when you get back.

  7. KT,

    Just know that you're not alone. There were only two things that keep me sane during my 30 months of misery; my small toddler and my husband. They grounded me and gave me the strength I needed to wake each morning. Writing was the farthest thing from my mind, but it resurfaced.

    Take care of yourself and you'll get there. Here's to the best possible news for tomorrow.

  8. Thank you for the support you have given to all of us with your writing. Now allow us, your family and friends to be there for you.

    Even though we deal in words as writers, words are often inadequate in times of loss and pain. Learning to live with loss takes time, so don't beat up on yourself as you work your way through your grief. Be kind to yourself as you would be to someone else experiencing what you have recently. Talking to a counselor, or if applicable a person of faith may also help you to work your way through the grief process. There is no right way to do it.

    In times of funk for myself, I often do "morning pages" which is just to write straight through for 20 minutes and not even worry about how it looks or what I'm writing. It gets the crap and worry out so that there is sometimes room to get something down that approximates writing for the day.

    I am sending prayers and love to you and your family. I wish you luck with your editor, and hope that your husband's tests are good news.

  9. Thank you all so very much, your kind words, prayers and love are received and I'm so grateful. Posting this entry helped me in a way I didn't think it would, and all the comments and messages have been so generous and supportive. This has been theraputic, amongst other things I needed. I'm incredibly lucky to know all of you, and you're a shining example of why this community is amazing.

    There will be more to come. Part of life's journey is facing loss and struggle. My plan is to get through this and come out of it stronger than ever. I could have fallen apart, and even though I'm in this weird, unchartered territory between grief and release, I am proud that I've survived, mostly.

    You guys are simply the best! <3

  10. Hi, K.T. You know what I've done when I have been really low? I do what you just did. I tell the truth to the folks and wait for them to come to my rescue. Seriously. I have done this. There is no one on the planet who understand us writing types, nor can help the way they can. Not family. Not spouses. No one.
    I'm sorry our paths haven't crossed in forever, but I'm here now. And I'm praying that the ugly trend you've been on reverses itself and right now! *hugs*


  11. Dear KT

    My heart goes out to you. Loss is so ... permanent, and we struggle to deal with the day to day emptiness left behind.

    How I helped myself cope - I wrote. Not fiction, or a story, but about what I'd lost. I poured it all out, my memories, what I felt, what I feared, what I loved, what I'd lost. I cried (a lot) but putting it on paper helped.

    As a writer, it might help you too.

  12. Dearest KT,

    You haven't lost your mojo, it's just too soon to expect joy and creativity to flow. There's a huge, heavy block of grief in the way.

    My mom passed away in 2005 when my son was two-years-old. Her death left me feeling untethered from the world, like I was floating in my own bubble, at a distance from everything around me. She was my anchor, and so much of my identity was connected to being her daughter, her closest friend. Life went on as normal, but I didn't FEEL normal. It was almost surreal. I would reach for the phone to call her, to tell her some new adorable thing her grandson was doing...and then it would hit fresh again -- I can't call mom anymore. And my son will never know her, he'll only know about her. There were so many layers of sorrow.

    Time really is a great healer. The loss is still there and always will be, but it is not the ONLY thing. Now even more than loss is a sense of love and gratitude, along with wonderful memories.

    I have faith that we are more than our physical selves, and we will see our loved ones again. I'll be praying for you and your family, for peace and strength, and also for your husband's full recovery.

    You are doing all the right things, finding moments of joy and laughter with your children, and staying busy. But it's important to let yourself grieve, and opening up to your community of friends here was a huge step towards fresh hope and happiness.


  13. So sorry to hear this, K.T., but thank you for such an honest post.

    Grieving is its own process with its own timetable. Stay true to yourself and let it forge the path it needs you to follow.

  14. Thank you so much again, everyone. Since posting this, I've received so many messages and comments that my heart is overwhelmed, but in a good way. Knowing I have love and support around me, that I did the right thing by telling the truth and saying what's been on my mind, well, the best way I can describe it is that I feel lighter. I haven't felt like that in a really, really long time.

    It'll be a process, yes, but I made the right first step. Your comfort and kind words have been not just helpful, but healing.

    I'm forever grateful.