Life happens. The real world presses in on our writing work all the time. Sometimes the pressure is low. Other times, one feels as if trapped in a diver's shark cage under the sea, oxygen is low, oh, and by the way, there's a shark. Oh, and another thing, cage door lock is broken.
This week was a lot like being in that diver's cage.
Darling Father-in-Law passed away on Wednesday morning. Not unexpected. Not wanted, either. But there it is: the end of a man's life. One who never demanded anything of us, one who I loved, and one who is missed.
And surrounding the loss of a loved one are all the people, the personalities, the old pains, the unresolved issues, the layers of good and bad, the stages of grief being played out by all in varying orders. One becomes angry, the other sad, the other practical, the other helpful, the other in denial, the other accepting. And so it goes. Will go on for about a year depending on the person and the personality.
Me, I guess I already grieved a lot prior to the loss. I have accepted it. I suppose my anger stage is being used to fight the VA for my FIL's deserved benefits. Good use of it, I say. I guess that covers the practical, helpful stage of grief, too. But I know at various times this year, and in the ongoing years, I'll mourn a little again. It's normal to miss someone we loved long after we have sad our goodbyes.
But despite all the "life happening" moments this past week, I managed to write. Not as much as I would have liked, but more than expected. The writing helped me go through the whole denial thing again. being lost in my world of people and their personalities shielded me from some of the pain of losing my FIL. I challenged my feelings into my writing, and it helped.
But when the phone rang, I didn't ignore it. When my darling daughter heard the news and burst into tears, I held her in my arms till her tears subsided. I called, too. My darling hubby needed encouragement and love. My FIL's sister and his widow needed emotional support. I did, too. I also gave myself a day to do nothing other than clean the house from top to bottom. Cathartic. I tend to get practical when life happens: cleaning, ironing, organizing, busying.
I've learned that we grieve the way we live: our personalities and how we cope with life also dictates in a great way how we will cope with death.
I'm a doer, a practical sort with a desire to get things done. So I got busy.
I wrote, I story boarded, I moderated an online workshop, I tussled with my synopsis, and I prepped my MAGGIE entry for review this week. I didn't have an editor breathing down my neck who expected me to turn in my revisions by Friday. But I wrote because I gave myself a deadline, albeit self-imposed, and I will meet it.
I treat my job as a profession. And writers must work harder, even if published, to maintain that attitude. Other than my OWN death or serious illness, there are NO excuses. I must complete the task I set for myself by the intended deadline to maintain the self-discipline I need to become a successful published author. This isn't a hobby I can set aside. This is my career.
How do you treat your writing, if unpublished, when "life happens?"