Thursday, January 21, 2016

Finding The Strength To Finish Sharing

Over a year ago I sat in front of my television flipping through channels not really paying attention to the shows that flashed across the screen. I was deep in thought. I had created a charity series I was very proud of and had recently released my debut novel Never Give Up. I was simultaneously flying high on the pride of the release while crushing under the intense fear that I would never come up with another book. Sure I had a few short stories and an idea for for a children's series though I wasn't making much progress on doing anything productive with either.

I just felt like I was lacking inspiration and the connection with characters outside of my first book. What would I write about? Who would be interested if I did? I just couldn't seem to find anything that sparked my interest for writing again. As I went through the channels I happened across a show talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something I was diagnosed with when I was just twenty-two years old. The show was informative but focused solely on veterans. As the hour progressed it became clear that the show was not only exclusively talking about veterans but the wording they chose and topics discussed implied that veterans were the only ones that suffered from such a condition. 

It is well known that the horrors of combat can cause PTSD in active duty and veteran military members and it is important that people are made aware of what they are going through. However I found it frustrating and insulting that the program would gloss over people like myself and make it sound like there were no others that could have PTSD. Right then I found my inspiration. I used my own experience actually splitting the things that led to my diagnosis to create two different characters. I also came up with two soldiers and a man that was diagnosed following a tragic car accident that claimed the life of his young son. I put them all in a story about a support group for PTSD and wanted to use each of them to demonstrate situations that people can suffer and difficult moments they must endure.

I wanted to show how some people can react to the diagnosis as though it means they are weak (which could not be further from the truth) and how some people even though they know they need help are not supported and the trouble that it can cause. It has been extremely difficult to write and I have not finished but after writing in parts and taking an extended break I am thrilled to feel I am on solid ground to finish the first draft.

I am thrilled to be back to the clarity I needed to write especially such an intense and emotional story. I am looking forward to finally finishing the story and getting some feedback from my beta readers as well as start submitting it for consideration. Sharing Strength is definitely y next big priority.

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