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Too Painful to Write?

Sometimes I hear from someone who’s finding it too painful to write their story. Usually, they’re referring to a memoir, but sometimes they’re writing a self-help book that touches upon a painful real life story, or even a novel based on the author’s life.

My best advice is “Don’t go it alone.” When traveling to those dark regions of the soul, go in there with all the support you can muster:

  • Call a friend before and after writing to make sure you have support.
  • Say a prayer before starting asking your highest guidance to accompany you on the journey. Keep checking in with that highest guidance (your higher self, your angels, your guides, God, Goddess, etc.) as you write.
  • Affirm the present. Tell yourself before you start, “That was then; then is not now. Today I am safe and well. I can remember the details without feeling the pain.”
  • When you finish writing: shake it off, shake it out, dance, move, whatever it takes to get back in your body and be present.

Yes, you want to remember the details, but not at the expense of your happiness and wellbeing. Good writing does not mean suffering. In my opinion, good writing is always transcendant of the pain. And to transcend, you need to keep connecting.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kevin Bader says

    I liked this one a lot….a bit more easily for me to relate to than birth 😉 Did you mean to say, “That was then, then is NOT now? Or is this how you meant?

    This continues to be the most powerful learning for me in my life. The past has such a strong gravitational effect. It takes constant perseverence to stay in the now, and be who I am NOW, and not who I ever was then, or fear-systems of thought I maintained then. I suppose one day, with enough practice, I will break free and achieve orbit….

    Thanks for the writing here

  2. Pat Hastings says

    Hi Lisa, great information. It’s so important to have supportive people around you. It’s like having cheerleaders cheer you on. Don’t go to the people who are negative and we all know who they are. Be selective in who you ask to read your writing. What helped me to write in the beginning was making a commitment to a friend that I would write something every week. I called her on Sunday to check in and let her know what I did. Even if it was one hour, I felt good because I followed through.

    Pat Hastings, Author of Simply a Woman of Faith
    http://www.simplyawomanoffaith.com

  3. Kaye Khalsa says

    Hi Lisa, Writing seems to be one of those tools which brings up issues. But the cool thing is it is also an amazing tool for healing. A few weeks ago I hit a really painful place, my computer looked like the scary beast under the bed. So I scheduled a session with a friend of mine who does energy healing work. I set the goal of getting the garbage out as effortlessly as possible. Turns out that I had been sitting on a very important piece of info for my book.

    These painful points seem to be the doorway through which we must travel – like the quest of the hero- to get to the treasure. My best insights seem to be born out of those labor pain experiences.

    Lisa, thanks for all of your help when i hit a couple of these last spring!

  4. lisatener says

    Good for you, Kaye and Kevin, (how about that synchronistic alliteration?!). Keep getting support and you’ll get back to that place where it’s fun, joyous and easy to write.
    Pat, you may have posted in the “wrong place” but I think your comment about support applies here just as easily!

  5. Linda Joy says

    What wonderful advice for all aspiring writers but especially for those of us with the desire to just start somewhere. I cut it out and posted it on my computer to encourage me to begin today!

    I’m also blessed to be in contact with so many wonderful women who submit articles and more to the magazine and who I believe have a beautiful message to share and I will be sure to share your tips with them.

    Love and Light
    Linda
    http://www.aspiremag.net
    The Premiere Inspirational Magazine for Women

  6. lisatener says

    Linda,

    It’s amazing to see where you’ve taken Aspire Magazine. I’m thrilled that you’re thinking about a book to inspire and uplift the way Aspire does.

    Thank you for passing the word along.

    Lisa

  7. Mary O'Connor says

    What advice would give to someone with a fully formed book about addicted mothers of young children? I don’t know how to frame the format and include my personal story, my professional story and the macro effects of current policy on our culture and future.

    Hint – I want to testify before congress, but am not sure of my audiance. Thank you for this resource. I love it. Floundering in upstate Michigan

  8. Mary Beth says

    What if what you need to write may be painful to others? I believe whole-heartedly in the cathartic affect that writing has and I know that some day I will write a book that will help ME, but I’m terrified that people reading this book would be very hurt by it. Not that I would intentionally hurt anybody, but just by telling my story from my point of view, people may feel that they aren’t potrayed in the best light. How do you be true to your feelings and not hurt the people that are a part of your life now or were a part of your life in the past?

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