Creativity Through Divorce

Casey Clipper~ By Casey Clipper

I’m getting a divorce. There, I said it. Out loud. Admission is half the key, right?

Yeah, right, if only.

I’ve contacted a tulsa divorce attorney and I’m getting a divorce from my partner. This is a secret I’ve held close to the chest for quite some time now, only recently finally informing people of my personal plight. It’s embarrassing. Even though I shouldn’t be, I am. So, I’ve kept quiet and tried to go about my daily life. Try, being the key word.

I haven’t gone into explicit details about my pending divorce, only placing a vague post on social media. My closest friends and coworkers know the insane details and it’ll remain that way. Really, it’s no one’s business and who really cares? I’ve got my divorce attorneys, the process is under way and I don’t want to bore you with the details. I am not one of those people who posts her dirty laundry all over social media for people to weigh in. But when I did make the announcement, something unexpected happened. Well, unexpected to me. Because I had no idea what to expect when I just tossed out there the big D-word.

First, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. I had no idea how many people would reach out privately to send me messages of support. I was honestly amazed.

Second, I was saddened at how many authors are also going through what I am. Now, maybe they don’t have the Jerry Springer episode background as part of their plot, like I do. (Trust me, be glad you don’t.) But that doesn’t make their situation any less writer-life-soul-sucking than mine. Which begs the question:

How the hell do we get through this while writing a story?

Good question. I don’t know if I have the answers but here’s what I’ve found that’s semi-working, so far.

1. I just can’t…and I must accept it.

I wish I could say, “Just do this or do that,” and the words will come, but that’s not realistic. They don’t come. Characters don’t speak to you clearly or cleverly when your mind is worried about what is to come next in your personal life. I would love tojournal say that I’m able to lose myself in the manuscript but that’s far from the truth. I can barely concentrate on the page in front of me. I wish there was a turn on/off switch and I could flip it as needed. If only.

I had planned a trilogy release for October. Not going to happen. Only 1 out of the 3 books is written and after giving it to my awesome beta readers, the novel needs a lot of work. This had upset me immensely. I’m not used to my betas ripping apart my novels. (Which, I’m not going to complain about. Their brutal honesty I value greatly.) When expressing my frustration to my author friend, she brought up a good point. “Casey, you’re lucky you wrote a book. Give yourself a break.”

It was then I realized that my determination and drive got me to write a novel but the same persistence wasn’t allowing me to accept that novel was lacking. Which, of course it would be. How on earth could anyone write a good novel when your life is nothing but one big Maury Povich show, waiting for the next bomb to be dropped from a cue card? It was those truthful words from a good friend that gave me some relief. I’ve pushed back the release date until 2018 and can now concentrate on editing and writing books 2 and 3.

2. Continue to work on the novel.

I am continuing to try to work on the novel. I open it every day and even if it’s 1 line of edits, it’s something. Because I know, at some point, my muse will return, roaring to release all the pent up creativity she’s collecting. It’s only a matter of time. But, that won’t happen if I don’t keep opening the manuscript. Plus, I don’t want to get rusty. Who knows if that’s an actual thing with writers but I’m not willing to find out.

3. Lean on your writing friends.

There is absolutely nothing better to get your mind off all the drama than going to a chapter meeting, attending that conference, going to a book signing. Or any of the many other things that have to do with writing but not necessarily the actual writing part. Being able to escape reality for writers/authors in these situations is as precious as readers being able to escape in our novels. Bonus, your writer friends will give you various ways of how to turn your own drama into a book.

In all seriousness, I don’t know what I would do without my writer friends. There is zero judgement. Only concern and infallible support. Lean on them. Tell them what’s happening. Be truthful. It’s such a chore to keep all you’re going through inside. After all, we’re writers. We’re used to expressing ourselves on paper, telling our stories to the world. When we keep our own drama inside, it eats away at our souls.

4. Lean on your friends.

Just like #3, this one is just as invaluable. When I finally made my general announcement on Facebook about my divorce, the responses were overwhelming. My messenger box blew up with readers, authors, and friends contacting me with love and support. I hadn’t expected that. I made a generalized statement and in that short, one paragraph post, the goodness in people came through. That has been one of the better moments of this process.

*Side note: If you’re going to post something on social media, don’t blast the ex. It’s not worth it. Just a vague statement is good enough. Don’t be that drama llama that airs the dirty secrets to the masses. We’re authors of fiction not tabloid writers using our own lives as fodder.

The price of this writer’s divorce? My creativity.

It sucks and not every author/writer will have the same problem. But I know that I can’t be the only one to have their world turned upside down and the muse decides to go on hiatus at the same time. It’s okay. She’ll come back and when she does, she’ll return on fire.

And to those who are going through the same, awful life situation. I feel your pain. I wish you all the best. I hope your words come back soon, too. Dig your heels in and protect your words, your mind, your soul, and yourself. Those of you looking for legal support through your divorce may want to consider contacting a family law firm like peters and may.

If you’ve gone through a divorce or are going through one, what are your suggestions in getting through with your creativity intact?

Casey Clipper

Contemporary Romantic Suspense Author Casey Clipper is from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s a noted sports fanatic, chocolate addict, and has a slight obsession with penguins. She’s an avid romance reader and loves to lose herself in a good book, like we all do, right? Casey currently serves as president of the Contemporary Romance Writers of America. Casey is an active member of the Romance Writers of America, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Kiss of Death, North Eastern Ohio Romance Writers of America, and ASMSG. Casey is the recipient of the 2016 JABBIC HBARWA Short Contemporary Romance Readers’ Choice Award.

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1 thought on “Creativity Through Divorce”

  1. I think this is one of those things that affects everyone differently. Coping with trauma in its various forms is such a personal experience, and even when you’ve dealt with things one way in the past doesn’t always mean that will be the way you do it this time or the next.

    For me, writing is my escape when I’m going through the really big, overwhelming things in life. The thing is, it’s not always the story I was planning to write that is the story that needs to be written right then.

    Truth be told, writing is always my escape. I work a really stressful and emotionally taxing day job. I have to see the worst of the worst in people on a daily basis and work with people who have suffered the unimaginable on a daily basis as well. When I come home at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to shut it off and be present. Writing helps me do that, helps me compartmentalize my brain in a way that nothing else can. And while small glimpses of my work manage to find their way into my stories from time to time, for the most part, I prefer not to write about what I really deal with in my day job.

    Sometimes, just getting through the day, the hour, or the minute is all you can do when things happen that shake you to your core, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for meeting the baser needs of survival in its many forms before attempting to expend your energy on anything beyond it.

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