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How We Write When Times Get Tough

Updated: May 27, 2022


Anyone can pick up a novel and find a “he done me wrong” story or story about the death of a family member.

In fact, psychologists often tell their patients to write when they are having trouble coping with some sort of trouble, loss or grief. The bookshelves are packed with these types of stories and that’s not a bad thing.

But writing can be difficult while in the throes of grieving.

a. My mother died at the end of 2016

b. My sweet dog, Robert mid-2019

c. My husband, Bob is currently in hospice care. In 2017, he was diagnosed with aphasia/frontotemporal dementia in 2017 and currently cannot take care of himself.

So, how do we keep writing when we don’t feel like it?

What I do, is something I have coined The Icepick Approach©. It's a method I use to chip away at my writing projects. I consider this method an invaluable resource for the busy woman (and maybe a man, here or there).

The Icepick Approach© allows a writer the freedom and PERMISSION to write only a few sentences a day; good sentences that exude my emotional state. To do more would be overwhelming. When in the throes of deep grief, we can barely get through the day let alone write coherent scenes for a novel. So, I simply chip, chip away to stay on track and to get my creative flow out until it becomes too much and then, I stop. But I do write every day. Chipping away.

That’s how I completed these following stories:

1. How the Deer Moon Hungers (2018-20)

2. Gag Me (2021)

3. When You Leave Me (2020-22)

4. Storm Season (2016-17)

5. The Lesser Witness (2015-16)

6. As well as a few short stories for anthologies I was invited to write for.

7. And it’s the method I use for editing the Bobby’s Diner series which got picked up again and revitalized by a new publisher

Maybe The Icepick Approach© can work for you too. I sure hope so.

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