The Soul of the Matter/How We Write: Calming and Nurturing Yourself

I read an article recently that suggests that while the tendency toward having a depressive personality can be hereditary, how that part of your psyche manifests itself depends a lot on whether you were raised in a conflict/anxiety-driven home environment or a calming/nurturing one. Heh. Guess what the growing up years were like for this curly-haired bruentte  whose happy-ending stories begin with broken characters who are worlds apart from each other and their hearts desire, forcing them to fight the entire book for that loving, sigh-worthy place waiting in their Emerald City?


Yeah, so it’s no mystery that dark and angsty writers tend not to come from the most warm and fuzzy of family bosoms. Then again, neither have a lot of the romantic comedy writers you love. The difference between them and me, I think, is that I find catharsis in facing the shadows within. While the lighter writers I admire heal by focusing on the good without, to get them through the tougher stuff. As many a wise person has said over the years–there are many roads to Oz.

Still, as I look at my body of work or even my current projects (a heroine with amnesia that must remember her troubled past to save her life–June 15th Dead Sexy release; a heroine just out of an abusive marriage who must face the emotional trauma she’s running from in order to save an abused little boy–July Heartwarming release; and a heroine who grew up homeless who must face the mother who abandoned her and give up her dreams of making the past better in order to have the future she’s always longed for–October Montlake release), the patterns are there and a little staggering.

I’m a woman dealing with what a lot of us do as adults–the fact that as children we weren’t loved and nurtured that we should have been by those who “took care of us.” The result–we live life too often still feeling abandoned, and frequently expect our friends and loved ones to chose to protect themselves whenever we most desperately need them to help us.

I write about strong heroines and protective heroes–but my mind doesn’t seem to be satisfied with simply brushing over the darkness that calls these characters to fight their epic battles. I evidently need to explore those places and spaces in my character’s (and my own) mind that are holding them (and me) back. My writing, I’ve come to realize–my creating–is about learning how to fight for the nurturing and care that I need, right along with my protagonist.


I’ve been described as a hopeful, inspiring writer, one who lifts readers up through realistic journeys that make you feel as if you, too, will find a happy ending at the conclusion of your battles. I hope so. Because these are the stories I’ll continue to tell. I’m a smart ass and a lot of fun to be with most of the time, but when I sit down at my keyboard these are the dark, inner journeys that flow from my mind.

What I need to always remember while I’m in the soup of a particularly difficult draft or passage in my life, is to play that role for myself that my caretakers failed at when I was a child.

We must care for and nurture ourselves, my friends. That’s the overarching message of my books. The healing power of love and hope is ours to give to ourselves first–then we find others who will mirror that same message back as we fight to take care of them as well.


We can’t change the hand life dealt us or how those early experiences molded us to be who we are. Many of us will deal with the lingering affect of our formative years for the rest of our lives. But we can all conquer even the darkest of beginnings, by not allowing what was to control what can be.

We can choose to be happy, a friend of mine is fond of saying, and we can choose hope over depression and giving up and becoming a cynical reflection of the monsters that still lurk in the closets of our mind.

I’m writing today a happily-ever-after ending to my Christmas novel–and it’s tough, because I’m having to look closely at all the dark turning points of the book that foreshadowed the possibility of this moment. Somehow I must make the heroine’s dreams come true after all. And I see more and more of what remains broken in myself each time I go back and dig deeper into this challenging world I’ve created. I always do.

It’s not easy to realize what’s driven me to write what I do the way I keep doing it. But it’s healing and cathartic and maybe even a little bit hopeful that there’s magic yet again awaiting my brave, courageous heroine at the end of her journey ;o)

Care for yourselves today, my friends. Be a core of nurturing and support in your own life, so you’re empowered to show others how they can do the same for you!

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3 Responses to “The Soul of the Matter/How We Write: Calming and Nurturing Yourself”

  1. Donna Brown says:

    I remember when I was working on When God Turned His Head, it seemed like as I dove deeper into the depths of Drusilla’s despair, the more despair I had in my own world. At times, I swear, I felt as if I needed to write my character out of her dilemma so that I would be able to get out of my own depression. The darkest part of the story I think is probably some of my best work because I was there with her every step of the way. I’m just glad that she and I both made it through to the other side.

  2. kathryn jane says:

    Amen, I hear ya!
    Thanks for putting that into words. You’ve helped me see why my heroines always have such hard work in front of them, why the hero never finds her easy (metaphorically:).
    You’ve also helped me understand why I may do my best writing when my day to day is having a bump or two.
    Guess that’s why I love your books too!
    hope your day is sunny.

  3. LINDA B says:


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