Getting Over Heartbreak The Writerly Way

I haven’t been sure whether or not I should talk about the biggest change and challenge in my life right now. About two months ago, the relationship I was in ended very suddenly. Part of the reason I hesitated mentioning it was because I thought he might read my blog, and another part of me wasn’t sure it was okay to open up here.

But as a memoir writer, I think it’s important for me to express myself openly and honestly on my blog. So here it is: The past two months have been really, really hard on me. I haven’t been single for more than a few months since I was 17. I went from one long term relationship to the next. I don’t exactly regret my decision to do so because I learned a lot from my last relationship, but I think I would have benefited from more time on my own.

One of the ways I’m going to try moving through this breakup is by focusing my NaNoWriMo novel around a relationship. I want to explore the way relationships work, especially those first or second relationships one has as a young adult where you’re really just figuring out who you are and how to be with someone. It’s good to have this where I understand the changes to make in a relationship as an adult.

The great thing about being a writer is that you can always channel difficult experiences into your writing, which makes it more unique and authentic. It can be painful to revisit or work through those emotions, but I think, ultimately, you come out of it with an honest work and a better understanding of yourself.

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24 replies to “Getting Over Heartbreak The Writerly Way”

  1. Break ups are so painful. thanks for sharing about yours. You’ve shared some good ideas to help you process this change and move on. Good luck with that and Nano (of course).

    I ended a 40 year marriage and knew I had to be single for awhile. 13 years later, I still am single and i’m loving it. I’m not recommending this to anyone else…don’t get me wrong. But I had a family and really enjoyed having my life, if that makes any sense.

    Keep us posted on your journey. It’s good to share


    1. Alana says:Author

      Thanks so much for the comment, Louise! There are definitely positive things about being single, and I think it’s important to have that experience at least once or twice in your life. It’s good to figure out who you are outside of a relationship.

  2. Alana, I’m sorry for your heartbreak but applaud your decision to channel your pain into your writing. Readers will relate.

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thanks, Pat!

  3. Hey Alana,

    How brave of you. I have so much respect for what you’ve just done. It speaks loudly about what kind of person you are. You’re going to have a great month in November. Please check in with the WANA1011 group on Facebook and keep us posted on your endeavors next month. Best wishes!

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thank you, Karen, it means a lot for you to say that! I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

  4. Debra Kristi says:

    This was a beautifully brave post you wrote Alana. It can be very hard for us to delve into that very private part of ourselves and put it out there for all the world to see. But in so doing, you being the healing process. Something, it sounds you have already begun. Thank you for sharing. I am sure many people can relate.

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thank you, Debra. I didn’t want to go into too many details about it, but at least it’s a step. I really appreciate you stopping by!

  5. Alana,
    I’m glad you decided to share this. Break-ups of any kind, whether they be romantically inclined or even platonic, can be hard to cope with. I find the friends and family help, but my writing helped me the most. I have had my fair share of relationships that ended in heartbreak and I wrote to help myself deal with everyone of them. In my younger years, poetry came through the pain, then it progressed to snippets and essays type musings. But the most painful experience happened when I was older and in my early 30s. You would have thought that I might have had a bit of common sense and not gotten myself hooked up with someone like him, but alas, we all fall for that not so great guy at least once. Okay – so I’ve done it a few times – I guess stubborn about learning that lesson!
    When I was healing from that painful part of my life, I was co-authoring a book. There is a chapter that I wrote where the character I was developing was attacked by her abusive ex-boyfriend who had been turned into a werewolf and hunted her down. That ex-boyfriend was somewhat based off my ex, with a few minor differences of course (a bit more hair, some growling, drooling – oh wait, that might not be a difference!).
    FYI – it really isn’t a good idea to delve heartache to a fiction writer. My character killed his sorry butt. And it felt so therapeutic! For me, that chapter signified my cutting the tie and letting go completely of all the pain and sorrow. Writing can be a salve that heals like no other.
    So even if you don’t share, I recommend writing for yourself at least. Give yourself permission to get it all out of you, that way you have room for the positive, happy things that will come your way. And they do. I’m now married to the most wonderful man I have ever known.
    Good luck with Nano and I hope your days become filled with less sorrow and more smiles!

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thanks, Jennifer! I really appreciate you sharing your story with me. Sounds like a very cathartic writing experience! It’s always nice to hear about the people who went through rough breakups but eventually found the right person. I’m not quite sure yet how I’ll deal with this in my writing, but I’m sure it’ll come through in whatever I write. It feels good to get this all out in the open and not feel like I have to hide anymore.

  6. asraidevin says:

    This reminds of something I read about Tori Amos, long long ago. She said that as a song writer she often used her songs to live out choices she didn’t make.

    That idea always stuck with me. That as writers we can live out the options we didn’t choose. I like to write the way it could have went from scenes in my own life or others.

    1. Alana says:Author

      I love Tori Amos. I’ve always been fascinated with her song lyrics and finding out the meaning behind them. That’s an interesting way to look at writing – as a means to live the options we didn’t choose. I’ll have to keep that in mind. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I think you’re really brave, but some of our best writing can come from that place where pain has hung out for a while. We learn so much from heart break. I wish you the best of luck with NaNo. I hope you get so much out of it 🙂

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thanks, Melissa! Will you be doing NaNo this year?

  8. Meghan Ward says:

    Alana, I’m really sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. Breakups are NOT fun. I got a cat after one, and that helped (I was madly in love with that cat until he, too, broke my heart by running away when I moved in with my now-husband). I think Nanwrimo is a GREAT idea. And writing about the feelings you’re having right now (whether in your Nanowrimo book or elsewhere) will be useful later when writing about breakups. It will be difficult then to recall what you felt like when it happened. Keep us posted on your Nanowrimo progress!

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thank you, Meghan. I do have a dog who I adore, so he’s been keeping me company. I’ll definitely update about my NaNo progress throughout the month. I appreciate you stopping by!

  9. Emma Burcart says:

    I think that using the break-up to inspire your writing is a great idea. Relationships are what I find interesting about writing, reading, talking, even watching TV and movies. And it’s pretty clear it’s what we all like about celebrity-stalking. Good idea!

    1. Alana says:Author

      Yeah, I feel the same way. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Thanks for sharing–I know it can’t be easy to go thru the breakup let alone post about it, but I think you are brave and that has to count towards healing!!
    Best of luck on your NaNo journey!!

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thanks, Coleen!

  11. Elisa says:

    Great post. I love that you write memoir. I deal with things by writing too. It’s amazing how much getting things out can help 🙂

    1. Alana says:Author

      Yeah, I hope this will be a healing experience. Sometimes writing can stir things up, other times it helps you work things through. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

  12. Patrick Ross says:

    Alana, my sympathies. Kudos on sharing, and on recognizing how writing can help. At the risk of offering advice when you likely would prefer a sympathetic ear, I’ll share here that I was a chronic relationship person, never staying single long. But I kept finding myself single. It wasn’t until I forced myself to stop dating and to stop looking that I found the woman who is now my wife. I believe she appeared in my life because I finally became comfortable with who I was, in my opinion essential to both partners in any long term relationship. We’ve been together 8 years now, and our love grows more every year. (And I was much older than you when I found her!)

    1. Alana says:Author

      Thank you, Patrick! I agree that it’s important to know and be comfortable with who you are before you try to combine your life with someone else’s. It’s hard to do that while jumping from relationship to relationship. My plan for now is to take time to figure things out for myself and focus on my writing.

      I’ll be seeing you in Montpelier pretty soon! I still need to buy my Vermont winter attire.

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