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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

What I'm writing (and my recent post at CT Women's blog)

jenmichel@me.com

Yesterday, I tell Ryan that I have a new version of chapter one. "Chapter one?" he asks, shooting me a look to indicate I have no chance of finishing the first draft of my manuscript by August 1.

I am suddenly terrified.

But this morning, I read this new version of chapter one and find the consolation of relief. The revision I have done has been good and necessary, and chapter one now hangs together better than it did before. Perhaps it would seem foolish that I have revisited chapter one when I more obviously need to move ahead. (I am still 1,000 words away from finishing the first draft of chapter four. Yikes.) And of course I don't have the foggiest idea about how to write a book. I'm making this up as I go. But it has seemed to make sense to me, at least for now, to make sure each chapter is sufficiently distilled and says distinctly what it is supposed to say. Otherwise, I could easily imagine arriving at chapter nine with absolutely nothing to say that hasn't already been said. (We've all read books like that, haven't we?)

This is probably what I am finding most difficult now about the process of writing: how does one actually manage this amount of material, every chapter 6,000 words? How do you not end up sounding like a playlist on repeat?

I am hard at work, writing, reading. I am also praying again. (This is best of all.)

I will be checking in here, not as frequently as I'd like, but especially to send you to the other places I'm writing.

In fact, I had a recent piece published with her.meneutics entitled, "Hashtags Won't Heal Us," and it's, I hope, of particular help to people who are grieving.

"As a culture, we tend to think of grief as healthiest when abbreviated and restrained, as seemingly quick and efficient as other aspects of our fast-forward, high-tech lives.

Even mental health experts disagree over what "normal" grief looks like. Although the depressive symptoms of bereavement have long been considered standard to the grieving process, doctors proposed a revision to the newest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to eliminate the bereavement exclusion from the definition of depression, allowing doctors greater freedom to diagnose and treat grief as a pathological condition.

Move on. This is the cultural imperative imposed on bereavement. We picture the season of mourning as a hurdle to clear and sadness as something to be eventually left behind. We're distinctly uncomfortable with tears. Grief, as a category of human experience, has grown closer to becoming something clinical in America, a condition worthy of a prescription."

If you're interested in finishing the article, you'll find the rest here:

Blessings for your day.