Breakthrough: Touching the Darkness Within

I had wondered, in a post last year, if perhaps my writing wasn’t as strong as it could be because I wasn’t reaching deep enough inside of myself. I wasn’t accessing the scary parts, the parts that trigger deep emotion. That perhaps I feared touching those raw, scary, dark parts of my psyche.

One of my “stretch” resolutions this year was to reach deeper—deeper into my characters and deeper into myself. And to try not to be afraid to do it. To see if I could touch the darkness within and emerge whole.

I didn’t realize when I made that resolution that I would be facing it so early in the year. I have a short story I’m working on, and I knew it would hit some vulnerable, raw parts of me. But I thought it was a good story, and one that needed telling, so I decided to write it anyway.

On Monday, I started the first draft. I wrote quickly at first, but as I got closer and closer to the heart of the matter, to the tender area, suddenly my internal saboteur popped up.

I NEEDED to check my email. Then Facebook. And I absolutely HAD to figure out how to program Outlook to alert me at a certain time (I failed to do that, by the way). When I next looked at the clock, I only had a couple of minutes left before I had to pack up. I decided to play Solitaire until I “ran out of time.” I knew exactly what was happening, but on Monday (following a long night up with a sick Toddler) I lacked the energy and focus to beat the saboteur down.

I’d danced on the fringe of my resolution, but I hadn’t faced it.

Tuesday I had to wait for the library to open, so I sat in my car and opened my story document. This time, I gritted my teeth and took the plunge. The words poured out—and so did the tears. Sitting in my car crying over my laptop, I was very glad I was not working in a public place like a coffeehouse!

Red-eyed but happy, I entered the library. I had faced the darkness and won!

So, is what I wrote any good? Will it make others feel as I felt? I don’t know yet. I’m going to let it sit until next Monday and revisit it. I know it needs some work. Then I’ll have some readers look at it.

All I know is that it came from someplace deep inside me, and I hope it touches someplace deep inside those who read it.

When was your first breakthrough when you wrote something that truly moved readers emotionally? How did it feel?


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