Sometimes, the hardest thing in life is dragging yourself out of the dregs of despair. I firmly believe that the time we allow ourselves to wallow in something – pain or anger or grief – should only be one day, period, no exceptions.
Now I’m not saying that all that stuff is not still there, and shaking it off is certainly not that easy, but full-on wallowing can’t go past a certain timeframe or you just get stuck there.
My wallowing involves a complete shut down for a day. Nothing is required of me – not getting out of bed or bathing or even eating – nothing. It works for me. Yesterday was one of those days. I did get out of bed, but only to walk six feet to my laptop and even then I did only what I felt like online.
Moving on is essential. It is how we get through a life that can sometimes be a bitch. Now, what does this have to do with writing? Everything.
It is so easy to get stuck in what we too easily perceive as the tragedy of a story that won’t come together. We literally grieve the idea that has died, only too often beyond its infancy after we’ve already poured ourselves into it. And we should grieve, because, after all, our stories are pieces of ourselves. We would grieve a lost limb, wouldn’t we? So, grieving a lost tale is perfectly reasonable.
But like the mother who has to care for her living children after the death of one child, we have to move on. We have to listen to our creative souls as another idea comes to life and give it our all with every bit of the fervor we gave the story that perished. We can’t afford to wallow.
So, if you're stuck in grief for a failed narrative - as Cher says to Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck – “Snap out of it.”