In case you missed it, I shared quite a bit about me on Monday and wanted to follow on that post with a few more about all the tools I have in my toolbox to help me work through stress and anxiety. Today, let’s talk about the writing.
Something many people don’t know or realize about me is I’m not new to this writing game. In fact, I’ve been at it to some capacity for some years. My first published work was released back in 2010, although I’d been plugging along writing novels long before that. And, considering what I would go through later that year and into spring of 2011, I’m grateful I had that outlet at my disposal.
You might be wondering at this point, if you’re one of my readers who believed I was a new writer on the scene, why you’ve never heard of me before now or why you can’t find more of my works than the two currently up at Amazon. It’s a great question and one I’m prepared to answer. In 2016, after some upheaval of a different sort in my family by way of cancer, I decided I needed to step back for just a bit and take a breather. You see, I was not only a published author, I also worked in promotions for a few years. My plate was way fuller than I needed it to be at that time, and we’d just moved duty stations again. MarshFox was in the midst of all the things that had to happen running up to his retirement from active duty service which would become final in 2018. We were looking to buy a house somewhere we’d never lived before. I just needed a breather from it all, at least the very public portion of it. What I never stopped, however, was the writing itself. That’s why there’s a brand-new series on the horizon and three books are already complete and in various stages of edits, cover design, and formatting in preparation for releases to begin later this summer. The works you see going up at Amazon lately are from my extensive back list which I’m working on re-releasing with the help of my editing team I retained from my days at a small press in Indiana and a cover artist whom I adore, also retained from my previous stint with the small press.
So, now you know. I’m a fairly old hat at this game. I began my re-entry back into the writing world in earnest a little over a year ago with a blog space I shared with a friend, just to get my feet back in the pool, then moved on to my own blog in preparation for coming back into things fully. The last six months have been a full-court press to get things back in the hands of readers and build my social media platforms and rebuild my contacts lists. I’ve come across old acquaintances who’ve welcomed me back with open arms, and I’ve made lots of new acquaintances through readers, fellow authors, ARC reviewers. I have a beta team busy on the new series. Life in the writing trenches is good!
All that being said, let’s go back to 2010/11, when I lost my shit. Writing was one of the outlets I used the most in various forms to aide in taming my anxiety and wrangling my stress levels to a manageable state. My primary form of writing was the creation of the fictitious people and worlds I was creating. I found they could reflect heavily on any given day my mood. If I was anxious, chances are a character was, too. We could share that. If I was hurting, there was a character also in pain. If I was lonely, so was someone in one of my stories. I could also take out my frustrations on my characters. If I was angry, well, someone got yelled at. Or sometimes even whacked a good one. And, by the end of a chapter, if I wanted, I could make it all go away with a few strokes of the backspace key. No one was the wiser what the characters and I had shared that day but us.
Writing therapy wasn’t just taking place between the pages of the stories I was creating, however. While email was a great invention, it will never replace a handwritten note or letter. Through several deployments, MarshFox and I had survived on emails and an occasional card. Not the deployment of 2011, however. It was during that year long separation, while he was battling bad guys and I was battling demons of my own, we reignited the fine art of letter writing. It was fabulous! Every few days, I would get a letter in the mail on nice stationery he’d managed to find somewhere. To hold that paper, to read those words in his handwriting? It was everything. I returned as many as I got. We now have boxes filled with handwritten letters from those months. They’re bundled with ribbon. Sometimes I get them out and re-read them and remember those days during which my beloved helped me heal from miles and miles away with handwritten letters.
Another way I used letters during that time was through an exercise my therapist had me employ. Every so often, she’d have me write a letter to one of the people in my life who’d help perpetuate my state of anxiety. My, by then, dead sexual abuser. My ex who was a physical abuser. Others who’d hurt me by choosing to help me hide it all through ignoring everything even when I needed to talk about those things. I’d hold on to the letters until I was ready to let go of that particular hurt or anger then they were burned in a pit in the backyard, putting them to rest.
Letters are powerful whether they’re sent or destroyed.
How many folks journal? I do! I have for years. I did before I lost my shit, but I utilized it ten-fold during my recovery. I kept a personal journal for no one’s eyes but my own, and I kept one which I shared with my therapist. Things I couldn’t say out loud were written then later voiced when I was strong enough. Words are SO powerful and saying them out loud gives them life; it makes the things you may be trying to hide very, very real. It makes those things manageable when they become real because you’re then able to confront them as a tangible thing. Aside from that, journaling keeps a record. Journaling now, in this weird time of upheaval, keeps a written account of what you see and hear, learn. Keep a journal, if for no one else but yourself. You’ll be glad you did. Your kids and grandkids will appreciate it someday, too.
Writing, for me, is an outlet. It’s a way of expressing my grief, fears, joys, pain, anxiety, stress, failures, and successes. It can be for you, too. During this time, give it a whirl. Writing a novel isn’t for everyone, but maybe one of the other writing methods is. Write a letter to your future self about what’s going on today. Write a letter to your future child. Compose a poem. Start a blog to record your thoughts. Start corresponding via snail mail with a relative or friend. Grandparents? They love to hear from someone and they love real mail. Keep a journal. Whatever method you choose, write it out, even if it’s for your eyes only and it ends up in the burn bucket out back.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. If you’re running out of reading material, how about an ARC of my upcoming release, Reclaiming Raylyn? Just fill out the form HERE and your copy will be delivered to the reading platform of your choice through BookFunnel.