Writing Through Pain and Coming Out The Other Side

Thursday, October 11, 2018
I don't like to wait til the last minute to write my WOW! blog posts (Okay, who are we kidding here? I'm a last-minute blogger and a pantser novelist! #trueconfession), but I wanted to attend the Jen Hatmaker and Nichole Nordeman event in St. Louis last night before I wrote this one. They are on their Moxie Matters tour, and I just new that author, momma, speaker, humanitarian, and HGTV star Jen would have some fabulous words of wisdom to share with you all.

Somehow, I can be the messenger and convey her inspirational message of courage, faith, and love to us women writers this morning. And this message will carry us through this month that is no longer known as October, but OMG-is-there-another-Halloween-event-we-have-to-go-to month.

One more true confession before we move on...I have never read a Jen Hatmaker book (bows head in shame), and I didn't know that Nichole Nordeman was an extremely talented songwriter and singer who will bring you to tears. (If you are a mom, grandma, aunt, godmom, teacher, etc., watch the video at the end of this post with plenty of tissue.)  Of course, I've already requested Jen's books from my local library and am trying to decide which Nichole songs to download on to my "exercise" playlist on Amazon Music, but I digress. You want to know what I learned that you can apply to your life and your writing so let's go...

Both Jen and Nichole have been through some stuff; they have been through pain, and that was a big theme last night. I felt like they were both talking directly to me. You see, last night, I almost didn't go with my MOPS group (Moms of Preschoolers--I'm a mentor mom!) because my almost 8-year-old daughter is having a lot of trouble adjusting to the divorce that I've written about so freely on here. She was upset, and I was thinking to myself: You always do too much, Margo. Stay home and be with your daughter. Maybe that's what she needs. But she was fine after a while, and she wanted to see her grandparents who were babysitting, AND extremely important, they wanted to use my oven because theirs is currently broken! So, I went to the Jen and Nichole event with a few tears in the car along the way, wondering what to do to help my daughter.

The show started, and Jen and Nichole were funny! Holy cow, they had me crying for a different reason, talking about being moms and the things our lovely children do, such as Nichole telling the story of how her sweet daughter gave her a Christmas present, which was a book titled "10 Things I Love About My Mom." But then, Nichole wouldn't let her daughter get another leotard, and her daughter crossed out the 10 and put a 6 above it ("6 Things I Love...). So funny!

Jen had just taken her second child to college; and if you know her from her HGTV show or podcast, she has three more children still at home. But going from 5 kids to 3 at home made her feel like an empty nester. However, she stated last night, these people in her home, including her husband, still expected some dinner and care sometimes (tongue in cheek, I assure you). So I laughed and laughed, but then came the message I needed to hear.

Jen talked about pain. For those of us currently living in pain, there's another side. Pain is the warning sign that makes us jump into action. We do all kinds of things to try to avoid pain or ignore it. If you believe in God and prayer, sometimes you pray and expect the pain to be gone, and you should now be happy. Some of us self-medicate--Jen confessed trying to use Netflix and wine. But pain is actually a teacher. Whenever we experience great pain in our lives and we have worked through it, coming out the other side, we are usually stronger and wiser, and there's new life. There's a new us. There's new energy.

This made me think of why many of us start writing. Yes, we have something to say to the world. Let's be honest, we all dream of seeing our name on The New York Times Bestsellers list and accepting our Oscar for best screenplay, but that's not really why we started writing. We started writing because of pain (teenage angst poetry, middle school diaries, memoirs, first novels where we fictionalized ourselves). Even humor writers often write because of pain--they have the gift of taking that pain and seeing the funny side to make us laugh. Funny mommy writers out there? You know you're writing these hysterical blog posts and personal essays because if you weren't, you'd be crying at how hard it is to be a parent. Writing is cheaper than therapy (although therapy is good, too. Well, sometimes the harshness of the publishing world leads us to therapy, but I digress...again).

So..gosh..Jen and Nichole might have given me enough material and inspiration to write a PART TWO post on my next turn on The Muffin, but I encourage you to do three things:

1. Check out Jen and Nichole if you haven't before. You can start on their websites to see if you'd be interested in their work.
2. If you're currently in pain, there is the other side that you WILL reach. I've written on here before about how I stopped writing creatively for so long when going through my divorce. Today, guys, I'm at 65,000+ on my latest WIP, and I currently don't think it totally sucks. So keep writing! Keep using your creativity.
3. If you have a chance to go see an author live, once again, I encourage you--do it. Whether it's a friend of yours, someone at the local library, or a big name, go. It's like professional development for us writers.

All right, grab your Kleenex:

Margo L. Dill is a writer, speaker, editor, instructor, and mom, living in St. Louis. You can find out more about her writing on her website here, her editing business here, and the classes she teaches for WOW! here


Theresa Boedeker said...

Margo, you are so right. We often start writing due to pain and trying to process what we are going through. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

Margo Dill said...

You are so welcome, Theresa! Best of luck to you!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sounds like an awesome show!

I started writing because of pain, so I definitely agree. And we can turn our pain and life's struggles into art. Art that will help others. There's power to that.

I'm impressed you're at 65k+! Woot woot! Way to go, Margo! :)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Ang.

Yes, that is such a great point. Our pain helps other people, too. Thanks for mentioning that!

Sioux Roslawski said...

65,000+ ? I am quite impressed (and a bit word-envious ;)

Writing has helped me cope with emotional pain. It's healed me. Whatever else it does, is gravy.

I've been a married mom and I've been a single mom. Certainly, it's rough doing it all by yourself, but years down the road, you and your daughter will have such a tight bond, because of all you have been through together. (I speak from experience.)

Keep your chin up and slow down, writing-wise... so I can catch up. ;)

Margo Dill said...

Haha Sioux! If you only knew how many half finished manuscripts I have lying around... :)

Thank you for the words of encouragement about being a single mom!

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