To write or not to write? Or maybe just what to write is the question.

I have a favor to ask. More of a question to pose, I guess. Although I’m realizing as I type this, I think this might be more of an existential crisis versus a casual inquiry about writing.

I’ll preface this with the fact that I’ve never considered myself ‘a writer’. Sure, I could write a decent academic paper. My travel stories seemed to amuse my friends. (But seriously, the insanity I get myself into on foreign land can’t help but entertain.)

I’ve had people tell me I should write a book, but mainly because my life has been an extraordinary string of adventures interlaced with a good amount of tragedy I’ve had to overcome. And there’s always been an undercurrent of magic that makes us all look around and wonder what the hell just happened.

All to say, I was never compelled to write until I fell in love. I had been in love before, clearly. My love for ‘E’ is deep and enduring. But the most recent fall left me no choice. The words filled up every part of me, demanding to be released. I gladly submitted, believing ‘our story’ was one that needed to be shared. I wanted people to know it exists- magic- so they wouldn’t give up on it or dismiss it as “too risky” or unrealistic or bad timing or whatever other reason we come up with to cling to safety.

That was my intention, anyway, to write a love story. But that clearly didn’t happen. This blog happened instead.

The words continued to make their demands, but this time I was a hostage, at their mercy until I offered up everything I had. It was a hostile but necessary takeover: their release is gradually leading to my liberation. I think.

I’m convinced these words, and you all receiving them, saved me (along with a handful of angels that swooped in to keep me from going under).

So here I am a year later with a blog- surrounded by a community of brilliant writers- a few published articles and this ‘book’ I’m writing.

But I’m not writing a book. I have the beginning of a story that I don’t want to tell- a few short paragraphs about what I believed to be magic and then an endless series of desperate pleas and incoherent attempts to get my head around a fall that was anything but magical.

I’ve tried to salvage it, condense the story of  ‘us’ into just a chapter that would serve as the Supreme Ordeal in the heroine’s journey, the point when I seize the sword and rise back up on my path to redemption.

But it’s not working. I suppose I’m still too close to it all to provide an enlightened perspective. I can rattle off the gift and lessons learned from it, but I feel my heart squirm every time I do it. The truth is, it still just fucking hurts and I feel like I’ll never make peace with it.

I can forgive myself, for the most part. I made some bad choices, but I made them because I followed my heart, I loved someone with everything I had and truly believed that would be enough.

And yes, I still wrestle with hurt and anger. I still regret that I didn’t get to have a relationship with him, that I had to go to war with his demons instead. But I’ll always hold him in a space of love. His essence, the part of him I know to be his truth- is loving, compassionate and beautiful. That is what I carry with me.

All to say, I know, ultimately, this is my story. I know it’s extraordinary in many ways and isn’t reduced to just that part of my life.

So herein lies the problem. Can I really write a story while it’s still unfolding? I know, our stories are always unfolding. But I mean the ‘happy ending’ is missing, that point of redemption when the reader can exhale because the heroine proved it really does all work out in the end, that everything really does happen for a reason. The reader can take solace in the fact that, no matter how shitty they might feel right now, they will, in fact, rise up and return with the elixir.

I believe we will…most days. But I can’t actually prove it at this point.

Well, that should inspire the shit out of everyone…

“Yes, do as I did: leap, take a risk, follow your heart. Okay, I crashed and burned, but you might not. If you do, though, just know the ‘rising up from the ashes’ phase will most likely be excruciatingly painful and take way longer than you want it to. But please, read my book. I’ll give you a play by play of what heartbreak, pain, and destruction look like and exactly how you, too, can make a complete mess out of your life.”

Yep, that will definitely have any potential readers earmarking their favorite pages and passing it on to their closest friends.

This is where you come in. I just need you to tell me what to write.

Should I take the whole ‘build it and they will come’ approach? Just start writing and trust that redemption or the happy ending or at least a promising new chapter will manifest? Is the thing I don’t want to write about with every fiber of my being the very thing I have to write about? Is it too soon? Do I just try to have patience and wait for divine inspiration?

Yes, I recognize this is a bit rhetorical. You can’t answer this for me.

But any words of wisdom are welcome…



40 thoughts on “To write or not to write? Or maybe just what to write is the question.

  1. While it is natural to want the redemption side of the story – perhaps you need to broaden your definition of redemption & happy ending. Loose ends in life rarely tie up in a bow – at least not the “bow” you envisioned. Write your story as the journey – a journey where you are not fixated on the destination. Or maybe one where you have a hazy image of the destination but like a desert mirage the shimmering oasis proves to be just out of reach. Not that I want to read about you dying of thirst in the desert but your journey is a story and a compelling one. That is what I want to read about, get lost in the desert with you, feel your pain but also (and especially) your small triumphs like getting out of bed each day even when your heart weighs on you like a cold stone.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I, on the other hand, was never compelled to write until I felt pain.
    I wanted people to know it exists – always present pain and suffering.
    That was my intention, anyway, to write a tragic story.

    Then, I fell in love with the people I was sharing my stories with, their empathy, understanding, love, support and sympathy.
    It was a hostile but necessary takeover. The release of the pain I’ve been carrying is slowly leading to my liberation…I don’t think. I know.

    I’m convinced my words saved me.

    As for your question, I don’t believe in patience and waiting for some divine inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere around us and in us. Without further ado, start already and see where it takes you. It’s yet another journey to be taken. You’ll be surprised by how much you have to say. Spontaneity is the key to success, accomplishment and happiness. Besides, what do you have to lose? You can only gain and find. Yourself again.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m so glad you found a community here that transformed your story and is giving you so much peace. That’s a beautiful thing. As I said, my questions were a bit rhetorical. I know it’s not about waiting to be inspired. And yes, spontaneity is key, but so is dedication and consistency (as our Incurable Dreamer has taught me). I just need to jump in the arena and draw my sword. I think I’m ready and am so grateful for all of you who not only offer your loyal support, but also a constant source of inspiration. Big hug to you and thanks for always taking time to offer your thoughts and support.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was getting ready to walk the dogs this morning and you came strongly into my thoughts. When I got back from the walk, here was this post. I love what everyone else has said and won’t try to give you any advice, except to say that if you feel the passion and the need to write, just write. Easier said than done, I know, but once you do it, amazing things can happen. I know you already know this. No one can tell you what to write or when you are ready to write about something, but you will find out in the writing. After my mom died, I felt like I was supposed to write about it; I tried but couldn’t. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to write about her, but the time in between was full of other things I was compelled to and could write about. That is just me. As you free yourself from the expectations and simply begin to put the words in the page, what is meant to emerge will emerge. Your extraordinary voice is there, you just need to set it free and see where it takes you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • First of all, it blesses me that I was in your thoughts, Susan..melts my heart, really. So thank you. And I welcome your advice, actually was hoping to hear from you because I know you understand where I’m at and why. I know you are right. I just need to write, put one word after the other. There is clearly a good amount of fear underlying all of this- of failing, of hurting others, of saying too much or not enough. Again, this whole writing world is new to me. Although, I guess those same fears apply to any endeavor we pursue. Thank you again, for your thoughts, for your wisdom and for the support and friendship you always provide…and added bonus of receiving all of this in a way that reads like poetry.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I was in a bit of a rush yesterday when I wrote my response to your post, but didn’t want to leave my reply until today, being that I had been thinking so much about you in the moments before reading. I hope that I didn’t come across as callous. I do truly understand the heartbreak and the fear and I know that nothing I propose is easy. I may be overstepping yet again, but I feel compelled to say that there is no pressure for you to write; there is no question that you are a beautiful and brilliant writer, that you live every aspect of your life from the center of your heart, but it doesn’t mean that you have to face things through writing that may be too much right now. Only you know the answers, but I can feel the pressure that you put on yourself, the pressure to do everything right by everyone else; I think this time is for you, for your healing and for you to show yourself the love you so boundlessly show others. Only you can decide how that healing and love unfold. If you do decide that writing about your life and your experiences is the way that you want to go, the way that feels best to you, then I will do all I can to help you navigate the fear and the darkness as you write and what can come from the practice of writing; this is something I am just really learning how to do,I am far from seasoned, but I am here for you. We all have different paths and such different demons, but we do all have them; again I am not saying anything you don’t already know. I know it is easier said than done, but if you decide to write, then try and leave the fears of what may be, in regard to the outcome of your writing, aside. In the process of writing, in the unfurling of the words, none of it matters. Nothing matters but you. I know that no matter what you do, you will do it as you have lived, with your whole heart, and that takes immeasurable strength.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Girl, I don’t think you have callous in you. Period. I keep trying to write this and can’t because the words are blurry. You struck a chord, it seems. I don’t feel pressure to write as much as I feel compelled to if that makes sense. I do think it’s too soon to write about some aspects of what happened. But I also think you are right. I’m afraid of how it might impact others (in a negative way, of course). I’m afraid of the dark shit I know is going to resurface. I’m afraid the humor and playful parts of me won’t show up and it will end up being a big mess of drama or worse, ’emotionalism’. Worse still, I’m afraid I’ll end up applying some obnoxious pretty bow on top to make sure no one walks away hopeless or sad.
        Fucking fear, which I refuse to let dictate my life and most certainly won’t let steal my words. It’s already taken so much in so many ways. So I guess that’s a big part of it. I need to face the fears that I’ve attached to my words. Because as you well know, our words are usually what dispell them.
        Thank you, Susan. You made me realize something vital that I didn’t realize was stopping me. Your insight, support, and belief in me is a constant source of inspiration.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Brooke, my beautiful, brilliant friend. Hopefully, my words don’t land on you now as redundant and meaningless, you know, the broken record thing. God, I sure hope they don’t because I want you to take them in. And maybe I know too much to even comment on this, but I have no choice but throw my thoughts into the ring, because if they help you even in the slightest, well, then that means the world.

    My intent here is not to tell you what to write, and I certainly won’t suggest that you should just write through it because I know what it feels like to be so paralyzed by the pain in your heart, your only goal is to simply keep breathing. So, I am going to go a different direction and point out a couple of happy endings you may have overlooked because, in my opinion, the absence of pain doesn’t signify the ‘happy ending’ needed for you to write your book. Your pain is an offering of hope and inspiration to those who will one day turn the pages you will have so bravely written.

    That one time you found the strength to put the gear shift into drive and leave in your wake all of your hopes and dreams took courage only those who have loved so wholly can understand. There are many out there who need someone to show them that it can be done; to be so inspired they too will find the strength to leave what they know they must.

    That one time you witnessed and endured the horror of three souls leaving this earth, but still found a way to fight through it, alone, was heroic. You survived what most wouldn’t have, and there is someone out there who for that same reason needs something to grab hold of – your story is that for them.

    That one time you started a blog and sought to understand and find meaning in all that you have endured, was a testament to your unwavering spirit and commitment to keep moving forward, and to see, even in the darkest of places, little morsels of magic. That choice, in turn, has inspired many and brought much-needed light to those around you. Your words are magic; never stop sharing them.

    That one time just a short time ago, you said, enough, put yourself first and walked out the door. No longer will you tolerate what you don’t deserve. Perhaps it was the beginning of your new love story, the one with yourself. A sign that you have learned that above all else, your well-being matters the most. That is something many have yet to learn. You are the teacher they desperately need.


    “I’ll give you a play by play of what heartbreak, pain, and destruction look like and exactly how you, too, can make a complete mess out of your life.”

    Could you please? Because, I, and many others, want to know that we are not alone; that it is possible for us to conquer our mess and ‘rise up’ just as you have.

    Firsthand, I have witnessed your ascent, and see in you the depth, tenacity, honesty, fight, passion, courage, and strength you possess to change the world. And, as you know, I believe that you are going to do just that. Now, you just need to figure out how you are going to do it. Wish I could tell you, but I can’t.

    But know this…

    You are the survivor of a devastatingly heartbreaking love story, but also much, much more.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sooo, read this, tried to discreetly wipe off all things running down my face. Went to get a kleenex, came back to respond and am now on my second kleenex…
      Of course, your words are meaningful, and I suppose you do know better than most the play-by-play of said ‘ascent’. I’m so thankful you have a perspective that is hard for me to grasp when I still feel like I’m forever looking up from way down below.
      I admittedly do want the pretty bow to wrap up a gift that will make people light up, something they can unwrap with anticipation because they know what’s inside is something they will cherish- a gift they not only receive but one they are excited to share with someone they love. A wee bit of pressure to put on myself, huh?
      I know most don’t want to read ‘pretty’. I don’t, at least. Perfect is boring and doesn’t exist, and the people who have inspired me most are those who have offered up all the parts of their story that were anything but pretty.
      It comes down to mustering up the courage to own the parts of my story that feel repulsive and brace myself for the shame and guilt and anger that I know will surface. But I have too much inspiration and support around me to not at least attempt it.
      Thank you, T, for being a constant source of both of those…and for the repeated (NOT redundant) reminders that I am, in fact, moving forward.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I love all the suggestions and reflections here Brooke. I find great power in sharing vulnerability as Tanya suggested. Do what you feel moved to do. Why write if you don’t want to? Maybe take a break and play or pursue something else? Or maybe that’s me projecting what I want to do! Whatever you choose, I’m grateful to have gotten to know you a little, and admire you for doing what you can to pick up and move on. Hugs, Brad

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Brooke…I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts since reading this confession. I have ridden a few different waves that carried me through an ocean of emotion. I was unsure exactly what I wanted to tell you. Then I stepped back and thought of you. I thought of who you allowed me to see. And it was all there.

    Think back to the moment I committed myself to shedding my skin so that I could face a world through the eyes of another. Think back to moments you said you couldn’t believe someone would be willing to do that. Now, think back through the journey I took. I did it because of you. Because of your story. Because of the way you told your story. Remember? OK good now toss all that shit aside because that isn’t want matters. What matters is because of who I am today for having taken that step. Taken that journey. Shared your journey through your words.

    You not only prompted me to tell my Katrina stories, you gave me the inspiration to do in a way that you said, and I quote:

    “Jesus. I don’t even now where to begin, so I’ll start with the obvious. You are a born storyteller….You did what every writer strives to do…you got my attention.”

    I am a better writer because of you. I am a better reader…because of you. I am just fucking better. Because of YOU!

    I can’t tell you what to write, because the story you are telling is what has touched me and now lives inside me. I would be diminished if you had not told your story. So maybe that makes me biased. That just means I need to throw some words back at you to chew on.

    “You did what every writer strives to do…you got my attention.”

    There’s not taking that back, Brooke. I can’t unknow what I know now because of you. I can’t be the person I was before you. And I don’t want to. So tell me. Who’s the storyteller now?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Okay, had to digest all of this. I’ve now read it probably 10 times and still having a hard time taking it in. I really don’t know how to respond other than to say, thank you…like ‘from the deepest part of my heart’ thank you. If what you said is true, that truly feeds my soul. That is such a large part of why I write. To know that I inspired YOU to write something, that you believe I have anything to do with how beautifully you write (which I truly can’t and won’t take any credit for), and if my story impacted you for the better… I really can’t find the words to express how much that means to me. You really have been such an important part of this whole journey and I value your opinion and words of wisdom more than you know. So, I guess I should get to writing that book, huh? Thank you again, BW (is that okay to call you that?) for offering such a heartfelt, beautiful response. I might just have to frame this one. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brooke, you can call me whatever you want. Wulf, BW…hell Bojana is fond of calling me George and that works.

        Please do frame it…and save it…and look at it whenever you need.

        If what I said is true? If? Whether you wish to take credit or not, reading your material was a watershed moment for me. Your impact upon my life and how I view of the world is undeniable to me. I changed because of you. Think about that. A course altered…a path of steps shifted. All because of your writing. You are just going to have to accept that. So look in the mirror and smile. You are brilliant and witty…independent and strong. It’s all there in your writing. I am only summarizing you from your own works.

        Get to writing your book? You already have started to write it. Your Gypsy soul just needs to know it. Look around…look at the comments. We know it. It’s not just me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shit, I thought I’d made progress on owning my worth…I’m seriously sitting in my lil’ room, trying to let this soak in. So, yes, I will continue to revisit your words: my ‘write your fucking truth’ mantra.
        You are a gift, BW, not just because of your response here, but for so many other reasons: your heart, your words that always pierce our hearts, your steadfast commitment to lift others up and make sure everyone around you knows their value-to you, to their craft…to the people they will never know. If nothing else, I hope you see yours…and know you are helping me see mine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good…look we are all complex creatures. Some just more so than others. We all need someone to hold the flashlight every now and then so we can see to put the screws that fell out back into place.

        Thank you for the flip-back, Brooke. I believe I do know my worth. That doesn’t mean I always remember it, or that I couldn’t use reminding. So thank you.

        YES: I’ve been told more than once of late that any beauty and power to my writing is because of the raw truth I try to convey from whatever seizes me to write. You helped show me this.

        “Write your fucking truth!!! ” The world will be a better place for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a little too late to the party to impart any kind of sagacious guidance; those who came before me have given you all you need. But, really, they haven’t. You already had it, right there in that brilliant, glowing heart of yours. But I will say this: yes.

    Yes, you can write the story while its still unfolding.

    Yes, you should take the “build it and they will come” approach.

    Yes, it will manifest.

    Also: no.

    No, the thing you don’t want to write about is not the very thing you have to write about.

    The biggest obstacle in our lives is the terrible burden of shoulds we heap upon ourselves. I hereby relieve you entirely of the burden of should. Now, write about what you want to write about, and write it in the way you do it best. For years I wrote about nothing because I wasn’t writing what I thought I should. To hell with that, I say. You be you. 100% unapologetically, unfiltered you.

    That’s what I want to read about.

    But the choice is yours. I’ll read whatever you write. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ~~~~~Can I really write a story while it’s still unfolding?… always unfolding… the ‘happy ending’ is missing… that point of redemption…The reader can take solace in the fact that, no matter how shitty they might feel right now, they will, in fact, (((((((rise up)))))))))~~~~~~

    It’s about the “Rising Up,” that will make your story ready to tell, darling!)))

    Good luck! xx from MN.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that. I think you nailed it. I can’t force it when I’m still trying to get back up. I’m close, though. (Patience has never been my virtue of choice). Regardless, there is a story to be told once, like you said, the “rising up” piece arms me with the vantage point I need. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I always love when you visit. 🙂


  9. I have mixed feelings about this since I don’t really know you and don’t want to offend you or anyone for that matter, But you asked, so here’s my humble opinion. I don’t think any of us are that qualified to advise you on such a personal area. I have always said that I write for myself and I write for you. If it helps you through this and/or you think it can help others, than look deep inside yourself for the answer. The truth is, you already know the answer. Do what’s right for you and don’t worry about what we think or how we feel. If you need to write it, then you will. The answer is inside you. I have always told people, “Find what is inside you. Set it free and live.” You’ll make the right decision. ☺💛


    • Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I write as a form of expression and to process thoughts I’m grappling with. But like you, I also write with the hopes of benefiting others if possible. So, as far as wanting someone to tell me explicitly what I should write, that was not my intention. As I state at the end, “I recognize this is a bit rhetorical. You can’t answer this for me.”
      That said, I do have followers and fellow writers whose opinion I respect and who understand where I am and why I would write such a post. Since I’ m relatively new to the world of writing, I always welcome perspective and guidance (and always will, I hope).
      So, thank you for offering yours. Your advice is sage: Dig deep and breathe life into what’s inside. I shall do my best. :o)

      Liked by 1 person

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