It took me days to hit “publish” on my first post when I re-entered the blogging world a few months ago, this time as a parent with a lot of “stuff” on my mind.
I had worries I imagine are similar to other new writers: Does anyone care? Has everything already been said? Am I over-sharing about a bunch of stuff that has already been said and no one cares about?
But I did publish it, the world didn’t explode and off into the blogging world I trotted. That first post wasn’t serious at all, but I knew that this time around, I was feeling a little bit more personal with my writing. Perhaps it’s because I’m at a time in my life when I am more nostalgic and reflective, despite having just started a new chapter that is nothing if not a lesson in how fast time moves forward. (Except on days when the weather is bad and you can’t leave the house. The clock breaks on those days.)
Shortly after I started my blog, I read about a submission opportunity for an upcoming anthology about parenting multiples. Despite the call focusing mainly on stories from the first years with multiples, a piece just fell out of me. The computer screen was filling up before my brain realized what I was allowing to exist outside of my own thoughts for the first time — the story of my miscarriage during my triplet pregnancy. And so I sent it.
And with my first submission, came my first rejection.
I was disappointed, but only briefly. Writing the piece wasn’t so much about getting it published, but allowing me a way to process something outwardly that I had only dealt with internally. If no one else saw the post, that was fine. In fact, I was kind of relieved. I wasn’t ready to be the deep writer yet, at least not with this story. I tucked it away, proud to have written it and eager to look back on it when I needed to.
And then I heard the Beyond Your Blog podcast with Modern Loss CEO and co-founder Rebecca Soffer. I went to the site and was amazed with what I read. These stories. They were beautiful, honest and brave. They could move you to tears and laughs in a handful of paragraphs. And they were all stories about loss — friends, partners, parents and children.
As I read these essays, I thought maybe my miscarriage piece could find a home here. It was fine where it was, for my eyes only. But what if making it public was even more healing — or comforting to someone else? The site was no doubt a safe place, but I worried, worried that my loss wasn’t worthy to share the same online space as these profound reflections on loss, grief and recovery.
And then I realized I was doing the exact thing to myself that I was lamenting in my essay — downplaying miscarriage and expecting those who have suffered one (myself and so many others) to just move on to make room for “real” losses. There is room for all types of grief, and a community like Modern Loss makes that a reality.
And so I submitted my piece again and this time it was accepted.
I was incredibly honored the editors at Modern Loss would select my piece, but I had a knot in my stomach when it was accepted. And then again when it was posted last week. For someone whose public writing about emotional journeys is usually limited to the conflicting feelings over the Mad Men finale, this felt like a turning point.
But more importantly, it felt like a way to honor the baby and sibling our family had lost. And for that, being vulnerable seemed like a worthy risk.
This is a challenge I will continue to face as a writer — where my line is between public and private and how to be brave enough to write deeply (while still working on that draft about why maybe it really was Peggy who came up with the Coke ad).
This is a start. I hope you will follow this link and read my post — and many others — on Modern Loss. Thanks for going on this journey with me.
7 thoughts on “When Writing Gets Personal”
Congratulations on your piece appearing in Modern Loss! That’s huge! I’m so glad you published it because so many people near to hear your words about the subject of loss. So excited for you.
Thanks so much Leah. I appreciate the encouragement!
Caryn, I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m gad you shared your piece with the world (off to read it in a moment). It is such a fine line, deciding what to share. I struggle with it all the time. But it never fails, the writing I’m scared to share and debate with myself the longest, never fails to do well. I have no doubt that your essay will help somebody. Congratulations!
Allie, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. It definitely feels like the writing is sometimes the easier part — hitting “publish” is the terrifying part! I’m sure I will continue to struggle to find that line as well, but nice to know I’m not alone. Thanks for reading!
This is such a brave and honest post. Thanks for sharing, I have really enjoyed reading it and I’m glad you had the courage to try again and resubmit your essay. Again, thanks for sharing. P x
Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comment.
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You are welcome 🙂