Monday, July 18, 2011

What Else I Learned Writing a Book about Friend Grief

When I posted last week about what I’ve learned in this now almost two-year book project, I had the feeling I was forgetting something. It took a day, but it finally popped into my head:
I forgot to tell what I’ve learned about writing.
Last week I concentrated on the grief aspect, the subject matter, the people I interviewed (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But this is my first book, and I’m learning by doing. Some things have come easily; some not so easily.
I knew why I was writing the book. In its simplest form, I was keeping a promise to my friend, Delle. What was harder was coming to terms with who was writing the book and what it could accomplish.
It may seem odd to wonder who was writing the book. I’m writing it alone, no co-authors, and no ghost writers (except for Delle). But part of the process of pitching your book is explaining why you are the best person to write your book. At times, my insecurity about my answer has shown through.
What I finally decided was that what caused me to feel insecure was actually my greatest strength: I’m not a professional. My book is not a clinical textbook, meant for the classroom or therapeutic setting. It’s a book for non-professionals like me: a way for them to have their grief respected, to no longer feel alone or dismissed, and a place to learn about other people’s incredible friends.
I had in mind originally that this would be a quiet little book that would appeal to a few people. I learned that it’s not little or quiet; and that if it does the things I just mentioned, it could help people.
Again, I’m not a bereavement professional. But I’ve finally come to terms with the possibility that you don’t have to be a psychologist to help those who grieve.
So, apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks, because I’ve learned a lot in this process. With any luck – actually, with a lot of luck – the book will be “done” in the next 6 weeks or so.
By then I’m sure I will have learned much more.


Kelly Hashway said...

I agree that even though you aren't an expert on the subject, you will have something to teach others. I think people can best learn through others experiences. Sometimes that ability to relate to another person's grief (or any other experience) is the best way to get over your own.

thelmaz said...

Best of luck with your much-needed book. I hope you'll keep us informed about your progress.

Eryl said...

You are beginning a conversation that will hopefully continue. Perhaps professionals will take it up once your book is out there. I'd say you are the person to write this book because you care enough to do so, you're passionate about the subject and willing to listen. I had never heard about disenfranchised grief, but am now desperate to find out more. I've never had a friend die so didn't realise people could be so dismissive of the grief it causes. I'd have thought a good friend dying would be much more difficult to deal with than an uncle one rarely saw. My best friend is as important to me, as close, as my husband, and if she died I really would find it difficult to go on for quite some time.

So, good luck with the book, if you haven't yet done so I really do hope you find a publisher.

Friend Grief said...

Ladies, comments like yours really help! Thanks for the feedback!