Wow, that C.S. Lewis quote about grief feeling so much like fear got to me.
When my cousin committed suicide last January, grief hovered like a ghost in the room while I wrote. For the longest time, every time I stopped typing, I started crying.
After I finished my third book, I cleaned my office from top to bottom and moved my furniture around so I wouldn’t be in the same position I was in when my dad called me with the news. (I was at my desk writing when he called.) I moved my cousin’s pictures and the cards she’d sent me out of my line of sight.
It helped. I stopped sobbing at every break. I drafted another two books. One of them is my developmental editor’s favorite of mine and had the least amount of edits needed of any book I’ve ever written. Still, I got so hung up on those minimal edits, I avoided the MS. I was late to send it to my proofreader which made her late to get it back to me. I’m still not sure why I got stuck on editing. I was drafting when my cousin died, not editing.
Okay, this is weird. I think I may have just figured out why. It hit me as I was writing that last sentence.
When I write, I’m completely in another world. I’m a deep flow state writer, to the point where I sometimes write entire chapters that later look unfamiliar to me. But when I edit, I’m aware of the world. I work from notes and with the input of others and I’m not in that state at all. If the flow state is where I go to escape the world, then editing must be where reality bleeds back into the process.
Could it be that my grief is manifesting as fear? Fear of facing reality, i.e., the editing process?