Write Your Way Back – Writing Through Grief

This essay was written by Judy Haughton-James.

“When life stops you in your tracks, write your way back!”

That has been my mantra since facing loss and grief over a period of 3 years, loss that included the death of an identical twin sister and a brother.

Writer’s block is an experience that many writers encounter, but you have to be determined to overcome it. Yes, you have been accustomed to seeing the words flow and long articles being written. That does not mean that writing has to stop.

Get any book that you can write in and consider it your journal and start writing. What you write will not be under the scrutiny of an editor, so your entries can take any shape or form – long, short, poems, essays, letters, you name it. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Furthermore you can write any time you wish to.

As a matter of fact, you could be in for a surprise when you find yourself accomplishing writing tasks you never dreamt of. I found myself in that situation as I started writing poetry.

A particular poem titled “You My twin, lives on through me” proved to be such a lift of my spirit. I was pleased that in turn some twinless twins told me how much it helped them in their grief. So you are going through a therapeutic process while keeping the writing juices flowing.

The confidence will come back and then all the material you have gathered will help you to write articles and blog posts. As a blogger, it is important to write posts regularly, and it is the material from this journal that will keep your blog up-to-date.

On this journey, you will not only focus on your negative experiences but explore the good times, hobbies and interests you shared with your departed loved ones. This will now widen your audience to people who have never walked your path. Right there, you are catering to a special niche yet gaining traffic from unexpected sources.

An additional bonus is that all the material in your journal and blog posts can come in handy in making you an author someday. Do you have any doubt about that?

Well, research will show many journals have become bestsellers. “The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)” is one such example. For a period of 2 years, she recorded in a diary her experiences while hiding from Nazis during World War II. This was not only a bestseller, her story made its way into films, movies, theatrical productions and an opera.

So come out of your shell and fight back! Once a writer, always a writer. Use this special talent to overcome life’s hard knocks.


Judy Haughton-James is a Jamaican freelance writer who holds an Honours Diploma from the London School of Journalism.  She has had articles published in local publications including The Daily Gleaner and international publications including Twins Magazine and Grief Digest. You can find her blog here.

Photo: Some rights reserved by Joel Montes.


  1. FABBY

    Thank you so much for this wonderful advice sweet Judy. I can imagine doing this for my soul, as I do love to write and to my sadness we write so little by hand now days. I love pretty books and diaries, always have. Thank you again and I will write through my grief, worries and sadness. Thank you for coming by and for your sweet and kind comments. I’ve taken a while as I just got back from a long weekend.

    Big hugs,

  2. Judy Haughton-James

    You are welcome FABBY! I am sorry that you have found yourself in a similar situation. Life has its valleys and writing has helped me to take the bold steps to climb out of the valley. Writing is therapeutic and good for the mind, body and soul. Take care and my best wishes to you..Big Hugs.

  3. T. Lloyd Reilly

    Thank you Judy for this article. I am crawling my way out of a period of grief driven block. I lost my sister Paula, the last remaining member of my family besides myself, and her loss has devastated me. I am forcing myself to write and have found that it is not that I lost the ability, just the muse. Paula was my biggest fan and staunchest champion. Not writing, or allowing my grief to stop me would be a dishonor to her and the belief she held that I was a great writer. Whether I am as good as she told everyone is debatable in my mind, but it wasn’t in her’s. The only way I can lose that self doubt is to write. This article has invigorated today. Thank you!

  4. Judy Haughton-James

    I am sorry about your loss T. Lloyd. It is good that you are making an effort to write. It does not matter how you write at this time, just get the emotions and words out on paper as it will prove to be very therapeutic. You are so right that in continuing your writing career you are honouring your sister who believed in your ability to write. Keep that in mind and you will be motivated. It is good to know that my article has helped you in your grief. So many of us are on this journey but writing will certainly help us along the way. Take care and my prayers and thoughts are with you.

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