#IWSG : Life events & writing

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The Insecure Writers Support Group is a marvellous group set up by Alex Cavanagh. On the first Wednesday of every month, members post thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

The link above takes you to details about the group and how to join. You’ll also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge – do check them out.

The awesome co-hosts for this month are Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!


This month’s question:  How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

In my experience, life events can affect an author’s writing in two ways – first by having an impact on their ability to write, second by influencing their subject matter.

My father’s illness and subsequent death caused me to struggle with writing. Whereas previously, I’d just been able to sit down and batter the keyboard, after it I needed a prompt to guide my thoughts away from my emotions. The discipline of co-hosting a fiction website where I was obliged to contribute a minimum of two posts a month helped me to work through this difficult time, although the writing would’ve been darker and more laden with sadness if I’d not had prompts to guide me elsewere.

Prior to that, my diagnosis with breast cancer unlocked the writing tap. As a long-time reader who’d wondered whether she could do it, suddenly I had a subject close to home to write about. Initially, my writing was more akin to a journal, and I wrote my story in the style of a series of essays or magazine columns. Later, I was inspired to write a piece of fiction linking the story of characters diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. Both WIPs are incomplete and lie waiting for me to decide whether they have any wider merit, but they undoubtedly provided me with a tool for processing my emotions.


© Debra Carey, 2018

23 comments

    1. Thanks James, that’s much appreciated – especially from one who knows. So glad that you’re back to writing after your unwelcome life event.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems that this week’s question is very on target for many of us. One thing I didn’t mention was that I could only write short pieces – like for my blog. For around 6 months, my WIPs just lay dormant as when I opened up the files to write, I had nothing. I’m grateful that time has passed too.

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    1. Roland, I never thought of it that way. I always felt those pieces of writing were cathartic for me, but without value in a wider sense. Thank you for sharing your own struggles to encourage others.

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      1. I’ve written shorts that echo my MS, but have to admit that I’ve yet to get those published but I will keep trying – but my debut novel had a diabetic protagonist and another with PTSD.

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  1. In all honesty James, you’d not be human if you weren’t still having some reaction to your experience. May semi-regular become more regular as time goes by.

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  2. Both stories sound like they could be very powerful.

    I really struggle to write when life is throwing me curveballs. It’s something I’m still hoping to learn to manage.

    Thanks for your kind words on my blog yesterday. I appreciate the visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an interesting contrast that the writing community is telling me to get on with my stories inspired by that experience, whereas those around me at the time pressed me to close the door on that subject totally & utterly once treatment was over. Something to ponder on.

      And thank you jmh for your kind words on mine. I love visiting your blog & need to remember to do so more often.

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  3. I also wrote a fiction story about breast cancer, based on my own experiences, but it was years after. I’m not sure many people could write about their own pain and fears at the time they’re happening. Deep emotions need processing and a certain distance before they are put into words anyone could relate to.

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  4. Absolutely! Whilst it gave me inspiration, I tried to avoid having a “me” in the story, but rather use breast cancer as a link between a group of otherwise unlinked people, to examine the varying reactions of people to something scary happening to them or to someone they love. I’d be interested to know how people in real life reacted to your story if you have the time to share that with me.

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    1. Diane, thank you. It’s been nearly 9 years & I hope – most fervently – that continues. I hope your sisters continue to be well too.

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